[7 September 2010] -- UN-HABITAT on Monday announced the winners of its 2010 Scroll of Honour, the UN’s most prestigious award in human settlements development. The awards, which recognise individuals and institutions instrumental in improving living conditions in towns and cities, will be awarded on World Habitat Day (4 October 2010).
The 2010 winners are:
  • Vienna Municipality’s Sustainable Urban Renewal Programme (Austria)for putting people and their views first in a model urban renovation programme it is imparting to other cities in Eastern Europe. Under its so-called “soft urban renewal” drive that started in 1984, the city is careful to consult its residents on changes and take their views into account rather than opt for the demolition of run-down neighbourhoods and compulsory relocation. At the time, more than 300,000 dwellings without toilets or water and sanitation, making up some 40 percent of Vienna’s housing stock, were targeted for renovation. Under the multi-million-dollar programme, the sub-standard housing stock has been reduced to below nine percent following improvements to more than 5,000 buildings with nearly a quarter of a million apartments.
  • The Kunshan Municipal People's Government (China) for an innovative approach to granting migrants the right to essential services in the city. Drawing some 800,000 job seekers every year, Kunshan holds five employment fairs every week. In the last two years it has helped more than 200,000 people find work, in a city where modern, new accommodation has increased per capita living space from 12 sq. metres in 1999 to 40 sq. metres today. The city also ensures that migrants have full access to pension, health and other social security schemes, as well as equal education opportunities, and the same rights to public services as local people.
  • The City of Medellin (Colombia) for successfully implementing three programmes to reduce urban poverty, provide health care for children and give citizens a say in urban services. The poverty reduction programme has targeted 40,000 of the city’s poorest households. The health programme ensures that all children five and under have institutional health care, while the last programme seeks to consistently survey the impact of city services to ensure that decisions taken have the right impact in the right areas.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development of Morocco and its agency, the Al Omrane Group, for delivering one of the world’s most successful and comprehensive slum reduction and improvement programmes. In a concept already being replicated in Egypt and Tunisia, the Moroccan programme – widely considered the best of its kind in Africa – is spearheading Morocco’s Cities without Slums drive. In 2004, the Ministry set a target of humanely clearing the slums in 85 cities by the year 2012. Working with Al Omrane, in the past decade it has improved or eliminated 45.8 percent of the country’s slums, which are home to 1.6 million people. The cost of the programme has so far come to 25 million dirhams (US $6.86 million) of which the Government has allocated 10 million dirhams (US $1.15 million).
  • The Housing and Development Board (HDB) in Singapore for providing one of the greenest, cleanest and most socially conscious housing programmes in Asia and the world. For over half a century, HDB has housed a growing population and played an integral part in Singapore’s nation building. Today, more than 8 in 10 Singaporeans live in HDB apartments, and more than 9 in 10 of them own the apartment in which they live. HDB and Singapore are global pioneers in when it comes to thinking of the needs of various sectors of society – young couples, the elderly, or disabled, to cite a few  – and to develop housing and surrounds that cater to their needs.
  • The Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO), South Africa for providing tens of thousands of affordable housing units, improved living conditions and basic services to poor families. As part of an exemplary project based on community development begun in 2004, it has converted former male-only mine hostels, derelict inner city buildings and some slum districts into liveable homes. Organising youth days, sports programmes, clean-up campaigns and other activities as part of its development plan, JOSHCO  teams focus on priorities such as violence against women and children, youth, the family, early childhood development, and measures to reduce crime within communities.

For more information on the Scroll of Honour, please visit the UN-HABITAT website.

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