Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sheikh Hamdan presents Dubai International Award to 12 winners

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Chairman of Dubai Municipality on Monday night presented 12 winners from across the globe with the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment (DIABP), in recognition of the significant impact they made on people's lives.
The winning practices that fall in the category of best practices this time came from countries including Burundi, Senegal, South Africa, China, Indonesia, Colombia, Spain, Mexico, the United States of America and Congo. In addition, there were two winners in the best practices transfer category from Palestine and Pakistan respectively. Each of the twelve winning practices will get a cash prize worth US$ 30,000, in addition to the "Barjeel" trophy and a certificate of appreciation.
Addressing the gathering at the Cultural and Scientific Association at Al Mamzar, Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality and Chairman of Board of Trustees of the award, said the award seeks to encourage and recognize outstanding human achievements and experiences, to raise awareness on best practices that can improve lives of the marginalized people, and transfer them to other societies.
He noted that the DIABP provided an opportunity to all government organizations, the private sector, local authorities and civil society organizations to take part and present pioneering works and projects in this field.
"Celebrating the 7th cycle of the award, it gives us the pleasure to declare that this award had attracted in its seven cycles since 1995 more than 4,000 practices from over 140 countries, and the number of laureates reached 65 from all over the world. The number of submissions this cycle was 500 from 68 countries, of which 112 were selected by the Technical Advisory Council (TAC). An independent International Jury selected the best twelve practices to win this cycle's Dubai International Award," he said.
Lootah said the visions and strategies of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai has been a constant support in promoting the award as it has positively impacted in stimulating an enduring partnership of all societies from across the globe in the award.
He added that the persistent follow up of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Municipality has earned a prominent international status for the award, which is underscored by the impressive global participation.
The award, he noted, attracted during the current cycle participations from different continents of the world.
Delivering the UN speech on behalf of Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, UNCHS, Ambassador Inga Björk-Klevby, Assistant-Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, said the awards were valuable means of recognizing excellence, promoting learning and sharing best practices.
"This year, the award ceremony is held at a time the world is going through the worst economic crisis in living memory. If we do not manage it better while we still can, especially the urban part of it in which most of us live, we will lose the battle against climate disruption as well," she said, adding that the winners show how participatory approaches are bridging the knowledge gap between experts and ordinary people.
"As we grapple with the global impacts of the economic crisis and climate change, we need innovative ideas, informed communities and municipalities and government support. I am delighted the winners include new ideas on dealing with climate change and all address environmental sustainability in one way or another, and that all respond to various targets of the Millennium Development Goals," said Björk-Klevby, adding that cities need to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Vanessa Ramirez Cabra, who gave the speech on behalf of the winners, said gives thanked Dubai Municipality and commented on its commitment to sustainable development and the protection of the environment.
"Global recognition has created visibility for our work and this recognition goes a long way in helping us expand the scope of our interventions. Our problems may be global, but a good network of local solutions has proved useful to tackle those problems," she said.
Cabra said the award money will be invested in various ways including the expansion of our work, awarding outstanding contributions, research and development to ensure the sustainability of the interventions, purchasing technical materials, and tools and training beneficiaries and capacity building of partners and beneficiaries.

DIABP Winners Best Practices - 7th cycle:

1. APROCOBU (Association for the Promotion of Cooperative Stores for
Production, Selling and Supplying in Burundi), Burundi

The “integrated village” managed by APROCOBU is an experimental site for integrated development, which seeks to address the challenges of repatriation of refugees, reconciliation, integration and demobilization in post-war Burundi. The goals and strategies of the initiative are aimed at improving the lifestyle of rural populations through access to water, electricity, and income-generating activities.

2. Involving Indigenous People in Forest Management in Decision Making, Democratic Republic of the Congo

1.3 million hectares of forest in the Republic of Congo, which are home to around 9,000 indigenous forest people, are managed for sustainable timber production by Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB). This practice's objectives are to move CIB’s operations towards sustainability and respect and include indigenous people in CIB’s forest management plans. The initiative is an example of how indigenous peoples, the State, local NGOs, academics and private enterprise have worked together to formalize the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights and at the same time establish a meaningful consultative process with regards to forest management.

3. Micro-Gardens in Dakar, Senegal

The Micro-Gardens Project in Dakar was initiated in 1999 within the framework of a Technical Cooperation Programme between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Senegalese Government. The micro-garden project introduced new technologies for out-of-land horticultural production on yards, roofs and vacant places; its main objective being to participate in poverty reduction by providing fresh vegetables to poor families, thereby improving their food supply and nutrition. The project also promotes income generation through the sale of production surplus.

4. Marianhill Landfill Conservancy, South Africa

The Marianhill Landfill Conservancy is an initiative by the e’Thekwini Municipal Area (EMA) designed to address the issues of land uses for waste disposal sites. The main priorities of the initiative were to ensure that no pollution of the environment occurred and to save on costs and to address negative associations with landfills, including fouls smells and environmental pollution.

5. The New Qingpu Practice - Sustainable Construction of Ecology and Humanity, China

Qingpu, a land of rivers and lakes in the outer suburbs of Shanghai was ignored for a long time, resulting in the city's development lagging behind. After entering the 21st century, the local government gathered insights on various fields, and proposed the city’s vision as “Qingpu, a green watertown, one of the best habitable city”, working out the meticulous plan incorporating local characteristics, respecting nature and history.

6. Integrated People-Driven Reconstruction in Post-Tsunami Aceh, Indonesia

Urban Poor Linkage (UPLINK) Indonesia, initiated in July 2002, is a coalition of grassroots/community based organizations and NGOs focusing on urban poverty and impoverishment issues. Uplink envisions a city where social, economic and cultural diversities are positive resources and strength for a socially just and democratic city, as well as where the urban poor are strongly organized and independent, and are able to develop a pro-poor counter system.

7. Spanish Network of Cities for the Climate, Spain

The Spanish Network of Cities for the Climate, with over 60 Spanish cities, created a stable framework of relationships for setting up an initiative to prevent pollution and mitigate climate change. This was aimed at encouraging policies of sustainable development at the municipal level from which the Spanish Network of Cities for the Climate emerged as a tool for working and management.

8. “Heartfelt Houses” The pilot Project: Housing Consolidation and Environmental Recovery of the “Juan Bobo” stream basin area, Colombia

This initiatives target people who have settled along the banks of Juan Bobo stream in Medellin. They implemented an alternative model for onsite resettlement, housing consolidation, environment recovery and improving the living standards of the three hundred families that live in this neighbourhood.

9. Collective Action: A social movement to protect Balandra bay, an ecological resource in Northwest Mexico, Mexico

Balandra is a wetland area situated in Mexico and was the last undeveloped beach in La Paz, Baja California Sur. A citizens’ movement (Collective Balandra) was created with the participation of 18, 000 citizens of all ages and social groups in movement. The overall goal was to secure the long-term protection of Balandra. This mobilization, technical and political work led to legislation, three policy tools, and an intergovernmental treaty.

10. Partnership in Opportunities for Empowerment through technology in the Americas -POETA, The Americas

The Partnerships in Opportunities for Employment through Technology in the Americas (POETA) program was created to address the needs and create opportunities to people with disabilities in the America. POETA provides persons with disabilities with the necessary skills and the opportunity to apply for and hold a job, earn a living and become more independent.

DIABP Winners Best Practices Transfers – 7th cycle:

1. The Palestinian Housing Council, Palestine

The Palestinian Housing Council (PHC) was established in Jerusalem in 1992 as a non-profit national institution dedicated to alleviating the housing problem. PHC’s main objective is to explore practical ways that enable it to resolve the housing problem in the Palestinian Territories. Through its various programs, PHC has positively impacted on the living standards and conditions, as well as created a suitable environment for numerous Palestinian families.

2. Water and Sanitation Extension Program (WASEP), Pakistan

The Water and Sanitation Extension Program (WASEP), initiated in 1997 by the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, Pakistan (AKPBSP), aims at providing infrastructure services. Specific program objectives focus on improving environmental health of local communities through provision of safe water and sanitation facilities to local communities in Northern Pakistan and Sindh.

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