The People’s Committee of Da Nang City, Vietnam has won the first-ever Special Award for Excellence in City Transformation, which was sponsored by the Cities Alliance as part of the 2015 Financial Times/International Finance Corporation (FT/IFC) Transformational Business awards.
Da Nang was recognised for its reform programmes, which put the city back on top of Vietnam’s provincial competitiveness index in 2013. They included public administration reforms, environmental protection policies and the “5 No’s, 3 Yes’s” social welfare programme to eliminate poverty. Examples featured one-stop shops to access public services, reductions in pollution, measures to recycle and conserve water, and low-income housing projects for slum-dwellers.
The panel of judges was impressed by Da Nang’s comprehensive programme for citywide transformation, and the fact that it included firm targets backed by administrative reforms to make the process effective. The judges also welcomed steps to include women in the process.
India’s Agra Municipal Council was highly commended for its citywide slum upgrading plan, which was also supported by the Cities Alliance. The heritage city – renowned for its historic sites, including the world-famous Taj Mahal – is using its tourism industry to provide sustainable livelihoods for its poorest residents, support economic growth and reduce poverty. Slums are upgraded with tenure regularisation rather than resettlement outside the city, with active community involvement.
The Excellence in City Transformation award recognised those cities that, since 2010, have demonstrated tangible progress towards citywide, integrated reforms in one or more of these five areas:
-- Environmental – Integrating the planning and management of natural resources, with positive impacts on climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, as well as disaster risk preparedness geared at the most vulnerable populations
-- Social – Demonstrating progress to promote an inclusive city that integrates gender equality, citizen participation with mutual rights and responsibilities
-- Governance – Showing progress in promoting an enabling environment for inclusive planning, responsive administration, and stable municipal finance with transparency and accountability
-- Economic – Facilitating an enabling environment to address formal and informal economic activities that improve livelihoods and promote long-term, equitable, sustainable economic growth
-- Services – Exhibiting progress in the citywide provision of, and access to, basic services such as housing, food, water, sanitation, energy, health and education
The Cities Alliance also helped outline the criteria for selection and participated in the judges’ panel. The Excellence in City Transformation award was presented at a gala reception in London on 11 June.
For the Cities Alliance, sponsoring the award was a chance to draw international attention to cities that are trying innovative, citywide approaches to promoting inclusive growth for all citizens. It was also an excellent opportunity for the partnership to connect with new constituencies that are becoming increasingly important in development, particularly in the private sector. The FT/IFC Transformational Business awards were sponsored by the Omidyar Network, one of Cities Alliance’s newest members.