Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presents the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to a representative of Wataneya society for the development of orphanages, a non-governmental organisation working in Egypt. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Municipality rewarded 11 winners of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment on Tuesday.

The award, held every two years, is given to projects that have significantly eased — or erased — problems faced by communities or provided improved services to them.

At a ceremony at Dubai’s Cultural and Scientific Association, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, honoured the winners on Tuesday.

Dubai Municipality Director-General Hussain Lootah also feted the winners on stage.

They will each receive $30,000 (Dh110,100), a Barjeel (traditional wind tower) trophy and certificate of merit.

The winners are from 10 countries, including two from Argentina. There was no winner from the UAE although a number of submissions were made.

In the last edition, Dubai Metro won for increasing mobility and reducing traffic and pollution.

Those short-listed in the current tenth edition included 50 submissions from the more than 400 applications from almost 100 countries.

Examples of the winning projects include empowering women in Guinea Bissau villages to obtain ownership of the land they work and using solar cookers in Nicaragua so women can generate their own income by making and selling food at home without regular power supply.

All submissions will be added to the UN-Habitat Best Practices database to help in the sharing of knowledge and the transfer of best practices to other communities around the world.

In late 2014, the award’s international jury met in Dubai and selected six winners in the Best Practices category, two in the University Research category, two in the Best Practices Transfer category and one in the Personal Award category.

Jury member Dr Ahmad Murad had said the nominations “were based on best practices implemented by local and federal governments, NGOs and the private sector that addressed issues related to safe housing, poverty eradication, economic development, environmental management, land use management, issues of children and youth, architecture and urban planning, as well as several other issues”.

The award is organised by Dubai Municipality in cooperation with UN-Habitat. More information is available on dubaiaward.ae and bestpractices.org.

The DIABP was developed based on the directives of Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the late Ruler of Dubai, in 1995, to honour “outstanding achievements” in improving people’s living conditions.

Lootah said a film on the best practices of the winners will be posted on YouTube. He added that the municipality “has collaborated with many international organisations to encourage best practices across the globe, making the award more popular, thanks to UN Habitat for being a successful partner in this regard.”

Tareq Al Shaikh, regional representative, UN Habitat, said since more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, there is greater focus on urban issues today.

He added that Dubai was a model city that presented the winners with examples to take back home of how “visionary leadership and effective management can achieve a good quality of life” for its people.