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UN-Habitat receives ISOCARP award for Urban Planning
Rotterdam, 27 October 2015—UN-Habitat has been awarded with the International Society for City and Regional Planners’ (ISOCARP) 50th anniversary award for city planning. UN-Habitat clinched the ‘Sam Van Embden’ Award for its urban planning work and the consistent way this has contributed to make the world’s cities more sustainable. Sam Van Embden was urban planner and the founder of ISOCARP. Raf Tuts, leader of the Urban Planning and Design Branch of UN-Habitat received the award at the 51st ISOCARP Congress, that took place last week in the city of Rotterdam. From the jury report: “Already in the seventies UN-Habitat was the first international organization dedicated to urbanization and human settlements through the provision of capital and technical assistance, particularly in developing countries. In international congresses (Habitat I and II) UN-Habitat was asking attention for the massive urban growth and developed the goals for the new millennium and identified emerging priorities for sustainable urban development and the improvement of the living conditions of people including the poor. The empowerment of local governments and people, the plea for governance instead of government and for bottom-up approaches is an important characteristic of its strategy. Being aware of the rapid urbanization in developing countries and its consequences, the environmental degradation all over the world, the lack of proper and affordable housing also in developed countries, inadequate and out-dated infrastructure, the huge migration, pollution and health issues, the ‘planning focus’of UN-Habitat has become very prominent. The organization is pleading loud and clear to change mindsets, policies and approaches towards urbanization in order to be turned into opportunities that will leave nobody behind focusing on building a brighter future for cities, regions, villages, settlements of all sizes. A vision in fact also promoted by ISOCARP. Today its partners range from governments and local authorities to a wide range of international NGO’s and civil society groups (CSG’s) including ISOCARP. Because of these four decades of extensive action and experience based upon human and natural values, from the highest levels of policy to a range of specific physical and technical issues, the quality of their publications and manuals, UN-Habitat has gained a unique and universally acknowledged expertise and a charismatic image.”