UN-Habitat is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.

The UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour award was launched in 1989 and is one of the most prestigious human settlements award in the world. It aims to acknowledge initiatives which have made outstanding contributions in the field of human settlements, provision of housing, highlighting the plight of people living in poverty or who have been displaced, developing and improving human settlements and the quality of urban life to leave no one behind echoing the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 with emphasis on Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

The award, a plaque engraved with the name of the winner, will be presented during the Global Observance of World Habitat Day on 1 October 2018.

Download the PDF version of the outlined Guidelines for the 2018 UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award nomination.

Who can Apply?

Individuals, organizations, projects and any Habitat Agenda partner can be nominated for the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour.

These include:

  • Government and inter-governmental organizations or agencies, including bilateral aid agencies
  • Cities, local authorities or their associations
  • Civil society organizations
  • The private sector
  • National Habitat Committees or focal points
  • Research and academic institutions
  • Public or private foundations
  • Multilateral agencies (United Nations Agencies, World Bank, etc.)
  • The media
  • Individuals


Candidates for this year’s UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award should have submitted in English, details of their achievements by 28 August 2018. Submissions should not have exceed 10 pages, however there was no limitation on supporting material that can be attached as annexes. All submissions should have had the following format:

  1. Background

Substantive information about the organization or individual nominated, including mission, goals, history and duration of experience in the field of human settlements.

  1. Description of the initiative or project

Situation or problem addressed, objectives, target beneficiaries, investment in the project in terms of capacity, material and financial resources, activities undertaken, duration of the project, achievements and outputs (provide photographs/evidence of outputs), lessons learnt, best practices from the project.

  1. Main partners

List partners and their roles and levels of participation in the planning, design, implementation and funding of the project.

  1. Impact

Estimated number of beneficiaries, types of beneficiaries e.g. women, children, people living in poverty, victims of displacements, etc. Impact on beneficiaries’ living conditions e.g. social, economic, environmental, health, education, employment, security of tenure, crime reduction, community involvement in decisions/ governance, etc.

Provide quantitative and qualitative values.

  1. Sustainability

Describe how the initiative has created lasting change (by enacting new legislation or policy, by promoting capacity building and community empowerment, by strengthening the institutional framework, by enforcing efficiency, accountability and transparency etc.).

Indicate how long the positive impact has been sustained so far. If there is ongoing investment to maintain the positive results, give details of how this is secured, and its commercial and social sustainability.

  1. Transferability and upscaling

Indicate whether this is a replicable best practice and explain the process of replication where applicable.

  1. Innovation

Describe the main innovative aspects of the initiative.

  1. Recognition of the initiative

Provide a list of references, articles, publications, media reports about the initiative starting with the most recent ones and where possible send copies of the articles as an annex.

The Selection process

The selection process will consist of these steps:

  1. Selection will be made by a Committee comprising Branch Coordinators and Directors in UN-Habitat
  2. UN-Habitat’s External Relations Director will make an initial assessment of the nominations and submissions and verify that the submission conforms to the standards outlined in the guidelines. Qualifying submissions will be sent to the selection committee who will be guided by the World Habitat Day theme for 2018 Municipal Solid Waste Management.
  3. The committee will make their recommendations to the Executive Director outlining their reasons for the selection of a maximum of five winning initiatives.
  4. UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, based on the recommendations of the selection committee will make the final selection of the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour winners.
  5. The UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour nominees will be notified by 7 September on the outcome of the selection.
  6. The winners will receive their awards during the global celebration of the World Habitat Day observance on 1 October 2018.

Areas of achievement

The adoption by the international community of both Sustainable Development Goals, which includes the standalone urban goal— (SDG 11) to make cities and human settlements safe, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable, — and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) — firmly places urbanization at the forefront of international development policy. In July 2018, Goal 11 will be reviewed for the first time as part of the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) -- a platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

In selecting the winners for the award, the jury will look out for best practices initiatives and achievements related to SDG 11, which consists of 10 targets and 15 related indicators (see table  1: Targets and Current Indicators). Initiatives and achievements related to any of the targets/indicators are welcome.

This year, the jury will give particular attention to achievements related to this year’s World Habitat Day theme Municipal Solid Waste Management.

Indicator 11.6.1 measures the ‘Proportion of urban solid waste regularly collected and with adequate final discharge out of total urban solid waste generated, by cities’. Managing and controlling municipal solid waste and in an environmentally adequate manner is key for protecting our local and global environment. If municipal solid waste management system is established well, it provides numerous benefits such as employment opportunities for youth and women, energy generation, and helps to improve the overall urban environment leading to improved public health and improvements in ecosystems. Evidence shows that municipal solid waste collection coverage is higher in high income countries than in middle-low income countries. The health and environmental impacts of poorly managed municipal solid waste are more severe in densely populated urban areas and in slums, where urban infrastructure and services are often non-existent or inadequate. The cost estimates available suggest strongly that the economic costs to society of inadequate waste management are much greater than the financial costs of environmentally sound waste management. SDGs offer one of the most ambitious frameworks for addressing solid waste management in the 21st century.

Table 1

SDG 11: making cities and human settlements safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable: targets and indicators*[1]

Current Indicators

SDG Target 11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
11.1.1 Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing

SDG Target 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.
11.2.1 Proportion of population that has convenient access to public transport, by sex, age and persons with disabilities

SDG Target 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries.
11.3.1 Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate

11.3.2 Proportion of cities with a direct participation structure of civil society in urban planning and management that operate regularly and democratically

SDG Target 11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
11.4.1 Total expenditure (public and private) per capita spent on the preservation, protection and conservation of all cultural and natural heritage, by type of heritage (cultural, natural, mixed and World Heritage Centre designation), level of government (national, regional and local/municipal), type of expenditure (operating expenditure/investment) and type of private funding (donations in kind, private non-profit sector and sponsorship).

SDG Target 11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
11.5.1 Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population

11.5.2 Direct disaster economic loss in relation to global GDP, damage to critical infrastructure and number of disruptions to basic services, attributed to disasters

SDG Target 11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
11.6.1 Proportion of urban solid waste regularly collected and with adequate final discharge out of total urban solid waste generated, by cities.

11.6.2 Annual mean levels of fine particulate matter (e.g. PM2.5 and PM10) in cities (population weighted).

SDG Target 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
11.7.1 Average share of the built-up area of cities that is open space for public use for all, by sex, age and persons with disabilities.

11.7.2 Proportion of persons victim of physical or sexual harassment, by sex, age, disability status and place of occurrence, in the previous 12 months.

SDG Target 11.a Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning.
11.a.1 Proportion of population living in cities that implement urban and regional development plans integrating population projections and resource needs, by size of city

SDG Target 11.b By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels.
11.b.1 Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030a.

11.b.2 Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies

SDG Target 11.c Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials.
11. c.1 Proportion of financial support to the least developed countries that is allocated to the construction and retrofitting of sustainable, resilient and resource-efficient buildings utilizing local materials.

[1] Target and Current indicators of importance to UN-Habitat’s work are highlighted

Timeframe for the call for nominations of the 2018 UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award

2 July 2018
Call for nominations

28 August 2018
Deadline for submissions

7 September 2018
Winners selected and notified

1 October 2018
UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour awards presented at the Global Observance of World Habitat Day

How to nominate a candidate

To nominate an organization, individual or project for this year’s award:

  • Submit the duly filled online nomination form in English
  • Download the form, fill it in and email it.

Terms and conditions will apply

  • The prize for the winning entry will be awarded to the person or organization named in the submission form, who may not necessarily be the holder of the copyright.
  • All entries will be available for international exhibition, demonstration, publication and media coverage and UN-Habitat will not be required to seek further permission from the copyright holders for any such use.
  • Where the submission of a project is made by someone other than the holder of the copyright, a permission in writing is required indicating that the holder of the copyright agrees (a) to the submission, and (b) to the terms indicated in points 1 and 2 above.
  • Supporting material such as press clippings (PDF), videotapes (YouTube URL) and photographs (JPEG) are highly welcome.

Please note that the call for nominations of the scroll of honour has been closed.