The Urban SDG Knowledge Platform, jointly established in 2017 by the CityNet Secretariat, UNESCAP, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government, has showcased successful urban initiatives, projects, and case studies from diverse cities around the world. In order to acknowledge the commitment of members who have dedicated enlightening cases, the Secretariat organized an annual awards program to honour the relentless pursuit of progress toward the SDGs.
The 2nd CityNet-ESCAP SDG City Awards Ceremony took place during the closing session at the 8th Asia Pacific Urban Forum (APUF-8) in Suwon, Republic of Korea, on October 25, 2023. This year, the Awards selected four principal categories based on the most urgent and salient trends in sustainable urban development: resilient urban and territorial planning, city climate action, inclusive urban digital transformation, and innovative urban finance. The judging panel comprised high-ranking officials from CityNet, ESCAP, and Habitat for Humanity International renowned for expertise in the field of urban planning as well as the core organisers of APUF-8. Vijay Jagannathan, CityNet Secretary General; Sangmin Nam, Director of the Environment & Development Division of UNESCAP with Curt Garrigan, Chief of the Sustainable Urban Development Section of UNESCAP; and Luis Noda, Vice President of the Asia-Pacific Area at Habitat for Humanity International. The cases were judged quantitatively via the following 7 criteria: innovation, leadership/governance, clear implementation, standard of quality, positive outcomes, long-term sustainability, and replicability. As urban policy experts, the judges also judged the cases on a qualitative basis, using their experience in their field as a guide.
During the Ceremony, CityNet Secretary General Vijay Jagannathan emphasised, “We’re here today to celebrate you. This entire event is meant to acknowledge the astonishing work you are doing to make our cities more inclusive, more sustainable, and more livable.” He remarked, “In a sense this ceremony is a large-scale version of the work we do at CityNet to promote knowledge sharing and city-to-city cooperation.” Mr. Curt Garrigan from ESCAP encouraged the city stakeholders in the audience to be inspired by what they witnessed and contribute cases of their own to the knowledge sharing platform. Mr. Garrigan articulated, “The Urban SDG Knowledge Platform is a repository for you to find information about best practices and to see how other cities have overcome the challenges that you’ve talked about over the last several days.” Mr. Luis Noda made his impactful remarks in the context of inclusivity for the growing informal sectors in our cities and emphasised the importance of truly inclusive and transformational best urban practices. Mr. Noda stated, “Informal settlements in Asia Pacific have been a key manifestation of our explosion of urbanisation that has been taking place in our cities.” And he added, “I would like to call for action in order for us to respond to the needs of people that are living in informal settlements so that our cities could be more inclusive.”
The winning case studies of the 2nd CityNet-ESCAP SDG City Awards are as follows:
Suwon, Republic of Korea: Inclusive Low Carbon City Award
Jae-Joon Lee, Mayor of Suwon City, Republic of Korea, was honoured with the ‘Inclusive Low Carbon City Award’ for its ‘Carbon Neutrality Policy with Citizen Participation.’ Mayor Lee stated, “The reason Suwon was able to receive the Special Award is due to its emphasis on ‘participation.’ Our dedication ranged from the creation of a mobile application for direct personal carbon emission monitoring to the initiatives by the Carbon Neutrality Citizen Committee proposing policies for carbon neutrality, all directed toward stimulating comprehensive citizen participation.” He articulated, “Just as the actions of one citizen can change Suwon, the policies of one city will change the world. I believe in the power of Asian-Pacific cities to redeem our future.” Cick to explore in detail
Colombo Municipal Council, Sri Lanka: Resilient Urban Planning Award
Shahina Mysan, Director of the Solid Waste Division, secured the ‘Resilient Urban Planning Award’ on behalf of the Colombo Municipal Council in Sri Lanka for its ‘Sustainable Solid Waste Management in the City of Colombo.’ Cick to explore in detail
Muntinlupa, Philippines: City Climate Action Award
Ruffy Biazon, Mayor of Muntinlupa City, attained the ‘City Climate Action Award’ for its ‘Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program.’ Cick to explore in detail
Songpa-gu (Seoul), Republic of Korea: Inclusive Urban Digital Transformation Award
Jeong-seon Nam, Manager of Songpa-gu Public Medical Center, achieved the ‘Inclusive Urban Digital Transformation Award’ for its ‘Smart Doctor for Successful Urban Healthcare.’ Cick to explore in detail
Yokohama, Japan: Innovative Urban Finance Award
Toru Hashimoto, Director General of International Affairs at the city of Yokohama, Japan, was presented with the ‘Innovative Urban Finance Award’ for its ‘Y-SDGs (the City of Yokohama’s SDGs Certification System)’ initiative. Cick to explore in detail
Winners of the awards will be invited to a follow-up sponsored CityNet/UNESCAP Capacity Building Event in 2024 (APFSD/SDG Workshop). The 3rd CityNet-ESCAP SDG City Awards Ceremony will be held during the 44th Executive Committee Meeting in Iloilo City, Philippines in 2024.
This article was written by SDG Program Assistant Woobin Choi, who can be reached at email@example.com.
CityNet is an association of urban stakeholders committed to sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region. Established in 1987 with the support of UNESCAP, UNDP and UN-Habitat, the Network of cities has grown to include over 150 municipalities, NGOs, private companies and research centers. We connect actors, exchange knowledge and build commitment to establish more sustainable and resilient cities. Through capacity building, city-to-city cooperation and tangible projects, we help our members respond to Climate Change, Disaster, and the Sustainable Development Goals.