UN-HABITAT is pleased to announce the 2011 Habitat Scroll of Honour Awards to the following recipients. This is the most prestigious award given by the United Nations in recognition of work carried out in the field of human settlements development. The aim of the award is to honour individuals and institutions instrumental in improving the living conditions in urban centres around the world. For the first time, UN-HABITAT is recognising a set of good practices as well.
Wintringham is awarded for helping provide accommodation for about 1,000 elderly people in need every night. Established in 1989, Wintringham in the city of Melbourne is an internationally recognised non-profit welfare organization which has helped influence government policy to include housing for homeless elderly people. This is the first time UN-HABITAT recognises an initiative devoted to the elderly, and the first time an Australian project has been awarded.
The Centro de Investigacion y Desarrollo de Estructuras y Materiales (CIDEM) in Cuba is awarded for blazing a new trail in low cost, low-energy, eco-friendly building materials. The centre is a research and development institute attached to the Faculty of Construction at the Universidad Central de Las Villas. Started in 1992 as a research project, it promotes the establishment of small workshops for local communities where ordinary people can learn their trade and produce their own building materials cheaply. There are over 50 such workshops in Cuba, and a further 16 around the world including Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Tens of thousands of affordable, environmentally friendly homes have been built in these countries using the CIDEM system to provide flooring, roofing, tiles, and walls made of local materials using low energy production. It has also helped create new job opportunities, and in some cases, as in Bangladesh, it has provided microcredit facilities and helped build factories for construction materials.
The Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) by MMC-Gamuda, Malaysia, is awarded for its innovative and unique management of storm water and peak hour traffic. The project is an initiative by MMC-Gamuda, a joint venture between MMC Corporation Berhad and Gamuda Berhad, two of Malaysia's leading engineering companies. Stretching for 9.7 km (6.0 miles), SMART is the world's first dual purpose tunnel incorporating a stormwater tunnel and a double-deck motorway. SMART is a high performance and iconic infrastructure solution to Kuala Lumpur's two major problems - mitigating flood in the capital and also to reduce traffic jams in southern Kuala Lumpur. SMART functions as a stormwater diversion tunnel closed to traffic in very heavy rains, and otherwise serves as a motorway tunnel that has considerably reduced traffic congestion as upwards of 30,000 vehicles use it daily.
Ms. Edith Mbanga of the Shack Dwellers Federation for Namibia is personally awarded for her outstanding efforts to improve land access and housing for the poor. Her work has been of special benefit to women living in poverty. Over many years, since the early 1990s she has helped set up various savings and support groups, which she helped into a national network under the Federation. Through her dedication, it is today the largest memberdriven organization in the country. Thanks to her drive and energy, today there are over 600 savings groups in Namibia with an estimated 20 members, 65 per cent of whom are women. The Federation has helped more than 4,000 poor households secure land, more than 2,000 build new homes.
The Yakutsk City Administration is awarded for implementing a new cold climate urban development plan. Implemented in 2009 and 2010, the plan has provided the eastern Siberian city with a new drainage system, better roads, a landscaped environment, new apartments for 5,000 families and retrofitting buildings to make them energy efficient. Yakutsk, which suffers extremely cold winters, is continuing to winterise its urban infrastructure so as to save as much energy as possible.
The Austin Energy Green Building is awarded for being the first in the United States to lead the way in sustainable building practices and commercial construction. The city-owned organization, founded in 1991, provides valuable electricity, fuel, water and construction savings. It also ensures that buildings are energy efficient, thus making a positive, sustainable, durable contribution to the city. The Austin Energy Green Building is consulted nationally and internationally.
The Centre Africain pour l'Eau Potable et l'Assainissement is cited for considerable progress on helping achieve the water and sanitation target of the Millennium Development Goals. It has already set up 10,000 latrines in settlements across Burkina Faso, this providing clean toilet facilities for an estimated 150,000 people. It has spread the water and sanitation message to at least half a million people, and has helped communities collect and filter their human waste for farming purposes. The organization has worked with UN-HABITAT's Water for African Cities programme in the implementation of basic urban services in the city of Bobo Dioulasso. Established in 1988, the Centre, with its secretariat in Ouagadougou, is now represented in 13 francophone west and central African countries where similar projects are underway.
The Estrategia de Movilidad en Bicicleta de la Ciudad de México is cited for setting up a new cycling network fully integrated with the bus rapid transport system complete with cycle lanes. The Mexico City initiative has also established a programme aimed at making bicycles accessible to the public, through the Individual Transport System which provides public bicycles. The project aims at creating a cycling culture tying in with the Mexico Green City Plan.
The Chiang Rai Municipality is cited for its holistic approach to harnessing biodiversity. Known as the "Urban Biodiversity in Chiang Rai Municipality towards Sustainable City and Climate Resilience", the project aims to develop the city by conserving its natural resources. It works by providing ecosystem evaluations, creating environmental awareness, capacity building and increasing community participation as well as a biodiversity exhibition centre. The centre also highlights the cultural diversity of the Chiang Rai area.