The United Nations Human Settlements Programme is managed by an agency headquartered in Nairobi whose main objective is to promote the development of ecologically sustainable cities and towns. Its origins date back to 1978, immediately after the first UN Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT I) held in Vancouver (Canada).
What is UN-Habitat?
The city council of Pontevedra designed a project based on the key ideas supported by UN-Habitat, which are in perfect correspondence with the main tenets of its transformative town planning strategy. The city’s proposal was later submitted to the Spanish committee responsible for the selection of the most promising candidacies, which was overseen by the Spanish Ministry of Public Works. Finally, the project was sent to the organizers in Dubai, where an international jury would issue a definite verdict.
Out of 406 candidacies received from 95 different countries in 2014, the city of Pontevedra was the only European representative among the 6 finalists selected as best global practices to improve people’s quality of life.
Dubai International Award
This award was established during the 1995 UN Conference for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment, which was derived from the Dubai Declaration. In 1996, the Second UN Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT II) and the World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities held in Istanbul ratified the Dubai Declaration. Since then, in the institutional category alone, more than 100 awards have been granted in cities the world over. Spain, with 9 awards, has so far been the most successful UN member, followed by Brazil, Canada, India and Argentina (6), Kenya (4), Mexico, the US, Lebanon and Palestine (3), to conform a list of 58 different countries, some of which are European, such as the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Bulgaria and Austria.