28 September 2018, Nairobi Kenya – The UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour award winners have been selected for 2018. The Scroll of Honour is one of the world’s most prestigious awards presented to those working on urbanization. It focuses on initiatives of outstanding contributions in the field of developing and improving urban lives, provision of housing and highlighting the plight of the poor or displaced, ensuring no one is left behind.

This year there were over 50 candidates including individuals, organizations and projects. Winners were selected based upon their clear demonstration of best practices initiatives and achievements related to the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

The award, a plaque engraved with the name of the winning individual, city or institution, is being presented during World Habitat Day which is celebrated on the first Monday of October, every year. This year, World Habitat Day is taking place on Monday 1 October and the global observance is being hosted by the Government of the Republic of Kenya at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, and host to UN-Habitat’s headquarters.

“I am delighted that we are able to meaningfully recognise these extraordinary achievements which have contributed towards improving the lives of those in our cities and towns,” said UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif. 

Winners of the 2018 UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour

Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China

For promoting holistic and broad-based approaches to ecological restoration through intelligent waste-management.

The city of Xuzhou, with a population of over 10 million, suffered a problem in recent years with how to treat its solid waste but managed to transform itself through the establishment of a comprehensive solid waste system. This included the classification of waste into categories and rewarding residents for separating garbage with points. More than a third of household waste is now recycled. The city’s population, starting with children, have been educated on the importance of proper solid waste management. It has become a national pilot city for the recycling and utilisation of renewable resources which has been extended to 166 cities in China.

National Action Plan for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in Cuba 2017-2036: The Institute of Physical Planning

For implementing positive urban and territorial change by integrating and implementing principles of the New Urban Agenda.

The National Action Plan 2017-2036 is a road map to integrate the principles of the New Urban Agenda into formulation and implementation of territorial policies. It is a long-term strategy for better urban and territorial development and places Cuba at the forefront of implementing the New Urban Agenda by adapting it to the priorities of provinces and municipalities to generate positive change for each territory and its inhabitants.

The Institute of Physical Planning, which was established 58 years ago, directs State and Government policies in territorial management, urban planning, design and architecture, as well as rural and urban land management.

Ms. Tri Rismaharini Mayor of Surabaya City, Indonesia

For implementing people-centred and inclusive city regeneration and development initiatives prioritising low income residents to ensure they are not left behind.

Following more than 20 years of service with the Surabaya City Government, Ms. Tri Rismaharini was elected Mayor of Surabaya in 2010 and re-elected in 2016.  Among her many achievements, she led a city wide solid waste management drive, mobilising communities to reduce and recycle household waste, providing them with micro-funds for neighbourhood management. With reduced solid waste management collection and final disposal costs, the Mayor returned the savings to neighbourhoods, for upgrading and more capacity building. She has also initiated the greening and upgrading of main streets and public squares as well as projects to clean up river banks. Overall, during her time in office, public health improved in a cleaner, cooler Surabaya.

Isaac ‘Kaka’ Muasa – Chairman, Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (MECYG), Kenya

For harnessing the potential of disadvantaged youth and inspiring community-wide involvement in solid waste management

Isaac Muasa was born and raised in Mathare, one of Kenya’s largest slums. With friends from his football team, he formed one of the earliest community-based youth groups – Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group and began collecting rubbish door to door for a fee and clearing piles of waste. After clearing one dumsite they created a public space for community groups to meet. He formed a network from youth groups in two areas and became involved in plastic recycling. This Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group worked with a geospatial mapping organization to create the first comprehensive map of Mathare, to map resources and to train others. The maps helped identify an area to set up a football field and open space with support from UN-Habitat. His role as a youth activist has touched thousands of lives.  

Dr. Mona A. Serageldin (1938-2018), Vice President: Institute for International Urban Development, USA (2005-2018)

For promoting practical research-based approaches to address a broad spectrum of development challenges in a wide range of settings (awarded posthumously).

For 35 years, Dr. Serageldin worked in Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean engaging local and global partners in local development, strategic planning, social inclusion and policy and programme assessment. Dr. Serageldin focused on action research and technical assistance in developing countries, and her field work informed her teaching, conference interventions, and publications. She made a significant impact through promoting sustainable urban development on the ground, her work in academia, and in fostering policy development. She retired from her position as Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in June 2008, having been a member of the faculty since 1985. She was Vice President of the Institute for International Urban Development until her death this year.

UN-Habitat works in over 90 countries supporting people in cities and human settlements for an urban future and has been focusing on urban development for over 40 years. Working with governments and local partners, its high impact projects combine world-class expertise and local knowledge to deliver timely and targeted solutions. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a dedicated goal on cities, Sustainable Development Goal11 and under the New Urban Agenda, there is a renewed dedication among the global development community to ensure cities expand in a sustainable way.