Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south
China, has been granted the Habitat Scroll of Honor Award 2007. It
is one of the only two city winners worldwide this year.
The Habitat Scroll of Honor, established in 1989 by the United
Nations General Assembly to raise awareness about the state of
human settlements, is awarded on World Habitat Day - the first
Monday of each October.
Nanning, capital of the
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
"This is the most prestigious award given by the United Nations
in recognition of work carried out in the field of human settlement
development. The aim of the Habitat Scroll of Honor award is to
recognize individuals and institutions instrumental in improving
living conditions in urban centers around the world," UN-HABITAT
quoted its Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka as saying on its
Nanning tops the winners' list released in September, which
includes two municipal governments, two institutions, one project
and two individuals. The other city to have won the honor is
Stavropol in Russia.
This year's Honor Awards focus more on effective, long-term and
sustainable measures adopted to improve human living conditions,
Tibaijuka said in her letter addressed to Chen Xiangqun, mayor of
The panel of judges was unanimous in its decision that the
Nanning municipal government be given the award for launching
China's first integrated city emergency response system.
The system, put into operation in May 2005, streamlines under
one network the entire city's police and fire emergencies,
paramedic ambulance response and traffic accident reporting
systems, along with 30 other non-emergency public services that
were previously managed by a variety of different administrative
Touted as a model for the safer Asian cities program launched by
UN Habitat agency, the system echoes the theme of World Habitat Day
2007 - "A safe city is just a city."
Promotion of urban safety "is not primarily about policing and
relying on the penal system for crime prevention; it is about the
design and planning of public space for women and men, and its
impact on social urban development," Tibaijuka noted.
Mayor Chen headed a mission that attended the awards ceremony
held in early October in Monterrey, Mexico.
The award marks a milestone in Nanning's urban development, said
Qian Xueming, vice-mayor of the city.
Building a safe, just and sustainable environment has long been
listed as a priority by the city government, he pointed out.
From 2002 in particular, the government has campaigned for a mass
renovation and construction project, seeking to address the housing
issues of locals.
With 60 grass-covered public squares, a 93-hectare forest park
and a museum park featuring various species of precious trees,
Nanning now boasts over 12 sq m of per capita green land area.
In addition to the integrated emergency response system, the
city has also helped more than 30,000 medium and low-income
households out of housing difficulties and improved their living
Mayor Chen said his government will continue its efforts to
build Nanning into an eco-friendly, safer and harmonious city.
Apart from Nanning, seven Chinese cities have won the honor in
the past. They are Tangshan (1990), Hangzhou (2001), Baotou (2002),
Weihai (2003), Xiamen (2004), Yantai (2005) and Yangzhou
(China Daily October 31, 2007)