A Decade of Innovation: Guangzhou Award Empowers Cities for Sustainable Development

A Decade of Innovation: Guangzhou Award Empowers Cities for Sustainable Development

From December 12 to 15, the 2022 Workshop for Thought Leaders and Guangzhou Award 10th Anniversary Celebration took place as a hybrid event in Guangzhou, with over 230 participants from 122 cities in 56 countries and regions, and from 10 international organizations.

The event was launched by Guangzhou, UCLG Community on Urban Innovation, UCLG ASPAC Standing Committee of Women in Local Governments (SCWILG) and Metropolis. A sub-forum on Urban Heritage and Cultural Preservation was jointly held by the UCLG Committee on Culture, in which Dublin and Izmir shared their initiatives as a winner or a Special Mention project of the 5th International Award UCLG - Mexico City - Culture 21. 

Other notable speakers included Mr. Ashok Kumar Byanju Shrestha, President of UCLG-ASPAC; Madam Zhang Yajie, Co-President of UCLG ASPAC and Chair of UCLG ASPAC SCWILG; and Councilor Stephany Uy-Tan, Co-Chair of UCLG ASPAC SCWILG. Speakers from UCLG members (Vienna, Tehran, Moscow, Kazan, and Quito) connected or delivered video messages to discuss the future of sustainable urban development, or present cases of cultural preservation, diverse cities and smart cities.

Since its establishment in 2012, the Guangzhou Award has accumulated a total of 1,361 initiatives from 556 cities and local governments in 96 countries and regions during its 5 cycles, all in line with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Under the framework of the Guangzhou Award, the Workshop for Thought Leaders has been held for 4 editions, celebrating the latest achievements and international exchanges and cooperation in global urban governance.

Co-sponsored by Guangzhou, UCLG and Metropolis, the Guangzhou Award as a space of innovation fits into the learning agenda of UCLG, informing its research partners and inspiring its members., said Ms. Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, at the opening ceremony of the 10th anniversary event.

As a committed provider of public goods of high quality in global urban governance, the Guangzhou Award took this opportunity to publish its latest work:

Civitas Novus: Urban Innovation Assessment Zero Draft Report. Developed by the Guangzhou Award Secretariat and the Penn Institute for Urban Research in the last three years, this is the first system to evaluate the innovation capacity for local governments worldwide, which provides a practical and scientific guide for global cities to upskill their governance capacity. Further pilot projects will be carried out with the support of Metropolis. (Click to view)

Learning from the 5th Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation. This report studies the application of the initiatives from the 15 shortlisted cities in the 5th Guangzhou Award, and explores cutting-edge practices and innovative ideas in green, inclusive, innovative and resilient cities worldwide. (Click to view)

An improved version of the International Database on Urban Innovation, which allows users around the world to freely search for Guangzhou Award initiatives, and accelerate the attainment of the sustainable development goals, as Ms. Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, commented when she revealed the database. (Click to view)

Guangzhou Award 10th Anniversary Online Exhibition. This is a lively recall of the past decade of the Guangzhou Award, and a glance into a beautiful future for cities. (Click to view)

Going forward, the Guangzhou Award will continue to contribute more public goods and motivation for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Guangzhou, as Metropolis Co-president and Regional Secretariat of Asia-the Pacific, will continue to host the Guangzhou Award in collaboration with UCLG and Metropolis. We would also invite you to continue to follow and participate in the 6th edition of the Guangzhou Award, to share initiatives and knowledge in urban innovation and encourage urban innovation and sustainability.