Committed to Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All

In Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC

Global Top Prize for Sustainable Development  
New Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards

I. Overview

The Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards (SCAHSA) (originally “Global Human Settlements Award”) is an annual worldwide prize initiated in 2005 by Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS) and supported by UNEP and other UN agencies. The awards program aims to accelerate the delivery of UN Sustainable Development Goals, notably SDG 11, recognize and celebrate winners’ remarkable progress and valuable experience in making cities and human settlements safer, greener, more resilient, inclusive and sustainable, and drive more to follow suit and take decisive actions on the ground.  

The assessment criteria of SCAHSA is rooted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda (NUA). SCAHSA has been successfully held for eighteen years until 2023, with awardees coming from different parts of the world. It has become one of the most important sustainable development recognitions in the world, producing a significant demonstration effect.

II. Transformation and Upgrading

As we are well advanced in the third decade of the new century, the divided world is facing daunting challenges, and is “woefully off track” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline. GFHS recognizes that innovation and leadership are key factors in delivering needed transformative changes for adequately and efficiently addressing climate change, poverty, pollution, biodiversity loss and conflicts, among others. 

To this end, the Global Human Settlements Foundation (GHSF) was founded in New York in November 2023 and launched at the United Nations Headquarters on March 1, 2024, focusing on rewarding and invigorating innovation and leadership, and empowering sustainable development, Specifically, the Foundation is dedicated to supporting SCAHSA program and GFHS initiatives.

Against this background, drawing on the successful experience of the Nobel Prize with 120+ years of history, the SCAHSA in 2024 has been fully upgraded to the "New Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards" (abbreviated as the "New SCAHSA"), aiming to become a global top prize for sustainable development. The "New SCAHSA" will recognize and reward outstanding innovation and local leadership in making sustainable cities and human settlements, including climate actions and sustainability practices, and promote their innovative strategies, technologies and approaches as well as successful experience. 

Winners will be awarded not only certificates and medals but also prize money at the Awards Ceremony, which will inspire their ambition and creativity and improve their work and living conditions, thus enabling them to achieve better performance.

III. Awards Category and Name (9 categories)

City: Global Smart Green City

Planning & Design: Global Human Settlements Award on Planning and Design 

Building & Community: Global Model of Smart Green Building/Community

Tourism: Global Model of Sustainable Tourism

Village: Global Human Settlements Model of Village

Environment: Global Model of Ecological Restoration and Protection

Innovation: Global Innovation Award for Sustainable Development

Leadership: Global Leadership Award for Sustainable Development

Global Special Award for Sustainable Development

[In principle, there is only one winner under each category every year, a maximum of two in case of outstanding cases. In case there are no applicants to meet the assessment criteria in certain category, the category will be left vacant.]

Awarders and Awardees at the Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2023

IV. The Jury
GFHS will invite 7 well-known experts to form a Jury Committee for assessment of the award applications. It is planned that Dr. Arab Hoballah will serve as the chairman of the New SCAHSA Jury. Dignitaries and pundits will be invited on board as senior advisors. The provisional list of experts on the jury is as follows:
1. Dr. Arab Hoballah, Senior Sustainability Expert, former Chief, Sustainable Consumption and Production, UNEP
2. Dr. Serge Salat, Expert, International Resource Panel, President, Urban Morphology and Complex Systems Institute, Paris, France, Leading Expert of International Green Model City Standards 3.0
3. Vicente Guallart, Founder, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia; Former Chief Architect of Barcelona City Council 
4. Andrea Reimer, Former Deputy Mayor of Vancouver, Chair of Planning, Transportation and Environment, Chair of Policy and Strategic Priorities, Vancouver City Council, Canada
5. Arch. Marina Khoury, RA CNU LEED, Partner and Director of Urban Planning, DPZ CoDESIGN, senior expert on smart growth, United States
6. Wang Dehui, former Deputy Director of the Department of Natural and Ecological Protection, Ministry of Environmental Protection, China, Director of the "China Office for the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity", and Expert Team Leader of the Environmental Engineering Assessment Center, Ministry of Environmental Protection, China 
7. Prof. Hong Tiecheng, Senior Architect, Urban Planner, Tourism Planner, Member of the Planning and Design Committee at the Global Forum on Human Settlements, Member of the Expert Committee of China Folk Architecture Research Association

V. Applicants and Eligibility
1. Applicants
The awards are open to legal government agencies, international organizations, enterprises, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and individuals from various countries and regions across the world.
2. Eligibility
1) The submitted city sticks to sustainable development and aim for balanced integration of economic, social and environmental dimensions. Remarkable achievements have been made in green and smart city. Citizens enjoy a good sense of security and satisfaction.
2) With reference to the International Green Model City (IGMC) 3.0 Standards, the applicant shows a good performance in the six dimensions of "spatial planning and development, basic services, environment, economy, society, and culture". For more information, please refer to the IGMC online rating system (city version):  International Green Model City (IGMC) (

[Buildings and Communities]
1) The submitted project is characterized by energy and resource-saving designs, technologies and technics, aiming for green, healthy, low-carbon, smart and affordable buildings and communities with livable and comfortable human settlements.
2) With reference to the International Green Model City (IGMC) 3.0 Standards, the applicant shows a good performance in the six dimensions of "spatial planning and development, basic services, environment, economy, society, and culture". For more information, please refer to the IGMC online rating system (community version): International Green Model City (IGMC) ( 

[Planning and Design]
1) The submitted project is people-oriented and characterized by sustainability, innovation, integration and forward-thinking.
2) The project shows outstanding performance in resource conservation, social inclusion, climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation, and prevention of pollution, etc.

1) The submitted project was built and officially put into operation, including natural scenic areas, historical and cultural scenic spots, leisure resorts, tourism and cultural projects, tourism and business integration projects, etc.
2) The submitted project possesses unique, national-level natural landscape or human landscape, with sound environmental quality.
3) The submitted project pursues sustainable development, values natural and cultural resources, and actively promotes environmentally-friendly planning, design and relevant technologies.

1) The submitted village has a long history, with reasonable spatial layout and morphology, well-preserved heritage buildings, ecological integrity, and perfect supporting infrastructure.
2) The submitted village is home to many indigenous people, well managed, and resilient, and is a perfect destination for living, working and tourism.

1) The submitted project has produced significant effects and made outstanding contribution to the protection and restoration of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
2) The project is innovative, inclusive, cost-effective, and replicable.

1) Breakthrough innovation in theories or research achievements on sustainable development.
2) Breakthrough innovation in technologies or products; design, performance and practical effects are at an advanced level globally; the project has reached a certain market size, and its promotion and application will make great contributions.
3) Breakthrough innovation and achievements in processes, services, governance, etc.; the project is replicable, and its application will make great contributions. 

1) Organizations with outstanding leadership in and contribution to sustainable development, including national and local governments, international organizations, professional institutions, NGOs, enterprises, etc.
2) Individuals with outstanding leadership in and contribution to sustainable development, including government officials, mayors, heads of international organizations, heads of NGOs, entrepreneurs, business leaders, etc. 
VI. How to Apply
1. Formally invited by GFHS Secretariat.
2. Recommended and nominated by GFHS partners.
3. Recommended and nominated by well-known individuals, international organizations or authoritative institutions.
4. Eligible applicants contacts GFHS Secretariat to indicate their desire and willingness for participation.

VII. Application Materials
1. Organizations or individuals who apply through any of the above-mentioned channels shall fill in the application form and prepare relevant application materials as required.
2. The application materials are the main basis for assessment, and applicants shall prepare the required information earnestly and truthfully; when submitting the application form, important supporting documents, materials and information shall be attached as required.
3.  City governments and communities can submit key indicators through the IGMC online rating system, and at the same time submit relevant supporting documents and information to GFHS Secretariat.

VIII. Reward Mechanism
1. Winners will be awarded certificates, medals and prize money at the Awards Ceremony.
2. Winners will gain publicity on mainstream media and social media.
3. Some of the winners’ innovation and best practices will be included in GFHS’ annual outcome document and relevant publications as research results, which will be promoted on a wider scale.
4. Award-winning cities and organizations will be given precedence to submit a bid to host the Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements and relevant theme events. Specific procedures shall be discussed separately.

IX. Assessment Principles
1. The assessment is based on the principles of “voluntary application, selection of the fittest, fairness and impartiality”. The evaluation process and information are confidential. Before the award is revealed, no other organizations or individuals have the right to guarantee that a certain applicant will win the award.
2. Each category of awards follows corresponding assessment criteria and index. The jury will strictly review and evaluate the applications accordingly, and conduct, as needed, on-site inspections or hold virtual meetings to enable shortlisted applicants to present their application.

3. Applicants do not need to pay application fee to anyone. Winners are responsible for their own travel expenses incurred when invited to attend the annual meeting of GFHS and awards ceremony.

X.  Procedure

Some of the past awardees:
Awarded Cities/Districts/Towns: Vienna, Austria; Cuenca, Ecuador; Vancouver, Canada; Los Angeles County, Oakland, Santa Monica, San Jose, Greensburg, Kansas, United States; Curitiba, Brazil; Nantes, France; Mannheim, Heidelberg, Germany; Lahti, Finland; Glasgow, UK; Dublin, Ireland; Barcelona Metropolitan Area, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Braga, Oerias, Portugal; Surabaya, Indonesia; Yokohama, Japan; Rockdale, Australia; Bogotá, Colombia; Hua Hin, Thailand; Indore, India; Port Vila, Vanuatu; El Gouna Town, Egypt; Lijiang, Sanya, Dali, Wuxi, Changsha, Yichun, Suining, Duyun, Yuyao, Jiangshan, Jiande, Wuyi County, Chun'an County, Changshan County, Zhouzhuang Town, Qingxi Town, Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, Qingdao Sino-German Ecological Park, Wuhan Yangtze River New Town, China, etc.

Dr. Awni Behnam, Assistant Secretary General of the UN presenting the award of “Global Green City”to Greensburg, America, West Vancouver, Canada, Yuyao, China and Rockdale, Australia in 2011
City of Wuxi receiving the award of “Global Green City” from Li Jinhua, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Mr. Brown , Vice Chairman of GFHS in 2009
Mr. Maurice Strong, Former Under-Secretary General of United Nations presenting "Global Green City" award to City of Lijiang and Yichun in 2005
Mr. Arab Hoballah, Chief of Sustainable Consumption and Production, UNEP presenting the award of “Global Green City” to Nantes, France, Los Angeles County, USA, Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City and City of Curitiba, Brazil in 2012
Dr. Ralph Wahnschafft from UNDESA presenting “Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award” to Mr. Richard Register, President of EcoCity Builders, USA, Ms. Pam O’Connor, Mayor of Santa Monica City, USA, and Eletrobras Furnas Rio de Janeiro in 2012
Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Chairman of GFHS, Former UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative presenting the award of "Global Model of Urban Renewal" to Smart Retro in Lahti, Finland in 2017
City of Vancouver, Canada was laurelled as the Global Green City, presented by Mr. Arab Hoballah, Chief, Sustainable Consumption and Production, UNEP in 2014

City of Heidelberg, Germany and City of Jiangshan, China were laurelled as the Global Green City, presented by Ms. Yamina Djacta, Head, New York Office, UN-HABITAT in 2015

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Chairman of GFHS, Former UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative presenting "Global Green City" award to City of Mannheim, Germany, City of Surabaya, Indonesia and  County of Wuyi, Zhejiang, China, in 2017

Global Green City: City of Hua Hin, Thailand, City of Port Vila, Vanuatu and Qingdao Sino-German Ecopark, China

Global Model of Urban Innovation: Barueri Smart City, Brazil

Global Model of Municipal Waste Management: City of Indore, India

Global Green Park:  Kalundborg Symbiosis, Denmark

Global Model on City-Industry Integration:  Forest City, Malaysia 

Presented by: Mr. Choudhury Mohanty, Coordinator of Environment Programme, UNCRD/UN DESA

Mr. Elkin Velázquez, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, UN-Habitat presents the award of 2016 “Global Green City” to City of Vienna, Austria, City of Cuenca, Ecuador, City of Oakland, U.S.A, County of Chun'an, Zhejiang, China, Town of Qingxi, Guangdong, China during the Habitat III, Quito, Ecuador
Awarded Buildings/Communities: Forest City, Malaysia; Zero Carbon Buildings of Bayer Material Science; EUREF Campus, Germany; The Kentlands, Maryland, USA; Sengkang General Hospital in Singapore; Net-Zero Energy Building at the National University of Singapore; Forest City in Malaysia; Masdar City, UAE; BISTEKVILLE 2, Quezon City, the Philippines; The Edge in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Sara Cultural Center in Sweden; Johannesburg Social Housing Project in South Africa; Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School, Chiangmai, Thailand; Taziry Ecolodge & Sustainable Village, Egypt; Vanke • Wonderland, OCT’s Tianlu, Taoyuanju Community, Meixi Lake International New City, China, etc.
Arab Hoballah, Senior Sustainability Expert, Former Chief, Sustainable Lifestyles, Cities and Industry Branch, UNEP presents the award of 2017 “Global Human Settlements Model of Community” and other awards to CSCEC•Meixi Lake Center, SNTO MudanGe, Gezhouba Nanjing Jianye District Land 8-6 Metropolis Mansion, Mission Hills Centreville, China, 
CGPV Industrial Building System Industrial Park, Malaysia, New York, USA

Awarded Planning and Design Projects: Medellin Riverside Park Restoration Project in Colombia; Zero Carbon Resorts Demonstration Building in the Philippines; Mexico’s 2030 Zapopan Urban Prosperity Strategic Plan; +StL: Growing an Urban Mosaic, United States of America; Japan’s Rural Revitalization Project (Alex Kerr); Reimagining Public Spaces in Mumbai, India; Plataran L’Harmonie West Bali National Park, Indonesia; Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Masai Mara, Kenya; Zoma Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Suasana PJH in Malaysia; Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan; Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park in Thailand; Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates; Trudo Vertical Forest, the Netherlands; Post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction in Shuimo Town, Wenchuan County, China; Qinglongshan International Ecological New City in Nanjing, China, etc.
Mr. Arab Hoballah, Senior Sustainability Expert,former Chief, Sustainable Lifestyles, Cities and Industry Branch, UNEP presents  2019 “Global Human Settlements Award on Planning and Design” to Masdar City, UAE, UN Conference Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Awarded Tourism Destinations: Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve, Ecuador; Swiss National Park, Daintree National Park in Queensland, Australia; Santa Monica Resort City Project, California; Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam; Chumbe Island Coral Park, Tanzania; Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, the Caribbean; Sani Resort, Greece; Hunter Mountain, New York; Krabi Province, Thailand; Soneva Fushi Resort, Maldives; Mission Hills Resort, Huangguoshu Waterfall Scenic Area, Emei Mountain Scenic Spot, Putuo Mountain Scenic Spot, China, etc.
2013 “Global Low-Carbon and Ecological Scenic Spot” is awarded to Mission Hills Resort (Shenzhen•Dongguan•Haikou) and Santa Monica Low Carbon Resort City Project, USA, Berlin, Germany
Awarded Enterprises/Organizations: Disney Company, Renault-Nissan Alliance; Signify Company, The Netherlands; Southern California Association of Governments, and COAST Autonomous, USA; EletroBras Furnas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative; Kalundborg Symbiosis, Denmark; Arcadis, Netherlands; DyeCoo in the Netherlands; ECOLOO in Sweden; TerraCycle, United States; MINIWIZ, Taiwan; Yangon Heritage Trust, Myanmar; KT-Energy LLC, Ukraine; Huadian Electric Power Research Institute; GCL-Poly Energy, China, etc.
2021 “Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award” is presented to Signify Company, The Netherlands 

Dr. Taj Hamad, Vice Chairman of Global Forum on Human Settlements, Chairman, World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations presents the award of 2023 “Global Model of Green Technology” to Aggregated Rain Grid Outcome Networks, Canada during the COP28, Dubai, UAE

Awarded Individuals: Dato' Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Mayor, Seberang Perai, Malaysia; Prof. Marina Silva, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Brazil; Richard Register, President of EcoCity Builders, USA; Andres Duany, Pioneer of New Urbanism; Serge Salat, President of Urban Morphology and Complex Systems Institute, Paris; Dr. Vandana Shiva, India; Dr. Ken Yeang, Malaysia; Mick Pearce, well-known architect and expert on biomimicry; Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan, Chairman and Founder of the Bin Zayed Group; Hitesh Mehta, FASLA, RIBA, Associate AIA, President, HM Design; Edward Mazria, Winner of 2021 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal; Dr. Ken Chu, Chairman of Mission Hills Resort, China; Li Zhenguo, Founder and CEO of LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd., etc.
Prof. Marina Silva, world-famous defender of the Amazon rainforest, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Brazil is honored with the 2023 “Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award” during the COP28, Dubai, UAE (National Secretary Edel Moraes receives the award on behalf of Prof. Marina Silva)
Dato' Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Mayor, Seberang Perai, Malaysia (Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Jan 2018 - Jan 2024) wins the 2016 “Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award” during the Habitat III, Quito, Ecuador
Awarders and Awardees at the Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2018, Bangkok, Thailand
Awarders and Awardees at the Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2017, New York, U.S.A
Awarders and Awardees at the Global Human Settlements Award Ceremony 2013, Berlin, Germany
Awarders and Awardees at the Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2016, Quito, Ecuador

Awarders and Awardees at the Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2019, UN Conference Center in Addis Ababa

Awarders and Awardees at the Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2020

Awarders and Awardees at the Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2021

Awarders and Awardees at the Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2022