By the Secretariat of Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation

In the face of sustainability challenges such as pollution, congestion, and inequality, the urban community proves resourceful in coming up with new and creative solutions. In an effort to provide a platform for cities/local governments to share and exchange their innovative experience – and ultimately to improve sustainability in the urban realm – United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), World Association of Major Metropolises, and City of Guangzhou established the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation, or Guangzhou Award. 

“I feel very delighted to see the establishment of the Guangzhou Award under the auspices of United Cities and Local Governments and World Association of the Major Metropolises. Through the platform of the Guangzhou Award, winning cities can diffuse and transmit their experience in innovation to other cities in the world,” said Dr. Joan Clos, then Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, who also served as Chair of the Jury for the first cycle of the Guangzhou Award in 2012.

The Guangzhou Award, open to all cities and local governments, is dedicated to furthering city-to-city learning and exchange in support of the implementation of global agendas, more specifically the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and the “New Urban Agenda”, and recognizes ongoing or recently completed (within the past two years) initiatives that are looking forward, such as new policies and strategies, new partnerships, new business and governance models, and the use of new technology in addressing urban issues and improving urban governance.

The 4th cycle of the Guangzhou Award will be presented in December of this year. After the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and New Urban Agenda in 2016, the 2018 Guangzhou Award places special focus on innovative solutions that seek to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and implement the New Urban Agenda.

The biennial Guangzhou Award has gone through three cycles since 2012. Each cycle has received initiatives from more than 150 cities and local governments from more than 50 countries and regions. These three cycles have made the Guangzhou Award a treasure trove of over 700 initiatives which cover a wide range of areas, including infrastructure and public services, participatory planning and good governance, partnerships, technology, resilience, social inclusion and gender equality. Past winners have represented cities and local governments from all major continents:

1. Winners of the 1st Guangzhou Award (2012): Kocaeli (Turkey), Lilongwe (Malawi), Seoul (South Korea), Vancouver (Canada), and Vienna (Austria)

2. Winners of the 2nd Guangzhou Award (2014): Antioquia (Colombia), Bristol (UK), Christchurch (New Zealand), Dakar (Senegal), and Hangzhou (China)

3. Winners of the 3rd Guangzhou Award (2016): Boston (US), Copenhagen (Denmark), Qalyubeya (Egypt), La Paz (Bolivia), and Songpa (South Korea)

Participants in the Guangzhou Award receive the following benefits:

  • US $20,000, a trophy, a commemorative certificate – for winning cities/local governments only;
  • Roundtrip air tickets to Guangzhou and accommodation in Guangzhou during the final assessment – for shortlisted cities/local governments only;
  • An invitation to the 2018 Guangzhou International Urban Innovation Conference;
  • Prioritized access to other international events organized by the Secretariat of Guangzhou Award, such as workshops, seminars, and study tours that address the issue of urban innovation – a good opportunity to promote both the city and the initiative;
  • Exchange with peers as well as representatives from business and academia, and
  • Global exposure.

In each cycle, up to 15 shortlisted cities/local governments will be selected by the independent Technical Committee. The shortlist will be further submitted for the independent Jury’s final decision. Only five winners will be awarded. 

Applications are now open until 23:59:59, 31 Aug 2018 (UTC +8:00). Participants are encouraged to apply at before the deadline. More information on the Guangzhou Award can be accessed on its official website:

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