Kampala wins inaugural global award for sustainable development cities
In a momentous ceremony held in Shanghai as part of the 2023 World Cities Day China Observance, the city of Kampala, Uganda, was awarded the prestigious Shanghai Award for Sustainable Development in Cities, marking an extraordinary achievement for the city and the entire nation.
The inaugural Global Award, jointly established by the UN-Habitat and the Shanghai government, recognizes the outstanding efforts of cities and municipalities worldwide in fulfilling their sustainable development commitments.
The winning cities, including Salvador in Brazil, Brisbane in Australia, George Town in Penang, Malaysia, and China’s southeast Fuzhou City, were chosen from a pool of 54 cities representing 16 countries across the globe. These cities, varying in levels of urban development, income, and demographics, had their applications assessed against several criteria, such as economic vitality, urban prosperity, green urban development, urban safety, resilience, and capacity building for sustainable urban development.
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, and Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng were among the distinguished guests who presented the Shanghai Award to the winning cities. The award ceremony held particular significance as it symbolized real, tangible progress made by cities in the pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Kampala’s remarkable achievement
Kampala’s win in the Shanghai Award is a testament to its forward-looking schemes on sustainable social, economic, and environmental development. The city’s efforts and dedication to a better quality of life for its residents have been recognized on a global scale.
Wu Zhiqiang, a member of the international judging panel for the “Shanghai Award” and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, emphasized that the award focuses on aligning with the SDGs. Cities participating in the award must define sustainable development goals, strategies, and implementation methods, as well as share successful experiences that can be disseminated and promoted.
The implications for Kampala and Uganda
This prestigious recognition holds significant implications for Kampala as a city and Uganda as a whole:
- Global visibility: Winning the Shanghai Award elevates Kampala’s global visibility and reputation. It signals to the international community that the city is dedicated to achieving sustainable development goals and is a model for others to emulate. This recognition can attract attention and investments, fostering urban growth and development.
- Economic growth: The award acknowledges Kampala’s efforts in areas such as economic vitality and green urban development. These achievements are likely to bolster the city’s economic growth and make it more attractive to local and international investors. A thriving economy can lead to increased job opportunities and a higher standard of living for its residents.
- Inspiration for other cities: Kampala’s success serves as an inspiration to other cities in Uganda and across Africa. It demonstrates that commitment to sustainability and the SDGs can lead to international acclaim. Other municipalities in the region may look to Kampala as a model for sustainable urban development.
- Capacity building: The award’s emphasis on capacity building for sustainable urban development suggests that Kampala will have opportunities to exchange experiences and insights with other winning cities. This collaboration can lead to the development of innovative solutions and best practices that further enhance the city’s sustainability efforts.
- Promotion of sustainable practices: Kampala’s win encourages the adoption of sustainable practices not only within the city but also throughout Uganda. The city’s success can serve as a catalyst for nationwide efforts to address environmental and social challenges.
In conclusion, the Shanghai Award for Sustainable Development in Cities is a significant achievement for Kampala, symbolizing its dedication to sustainable development and its alignment with the SDGs. This recognition not only boosts the city’s global standing but also has the potential to spur economic growth, inspire other municipalities, and drive sustainable practices throughout Uganda.