The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)'s Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme (BLP) works with a global network of 18 capacity building organizations dedicated to documenting and sharing the lessons learned from best practices. It is dedicated to facilitating the monitoring and implementation of the Habitat Agenda, the Global Plan of Action endorsed by Governments during the second United Nations Conference for Human Settlements Habitat II (3 14 June 1996). Best practices are initiatives undertaken by Governments, local authorities and civil society, including the private sector, that have made outstanding contributions to improving the quality of life in our urban and rural communities. Most are concerned with contributing directly to poverty eradication, gender equity and social inclusion.
The Dubai International Award was instituted in response to the Dubai Declaration resulting from the Dubai International Conference on Best Practices in Improving the Living Environment held in October 1995. The Municipality of Dubai was recognized as a Best Practice in 1996 for its commitment to management excellence and to sustainable development. The 10 award recipients for 1997 are listed below:
Once a poor fishing village, Zhuhai, China, has become a model city for comprehensive environmental management amidst rapid urban growth, leading to the replication of its experience in many other Chinese cities. Rapid population growth, economic stagnation and the rise of drug trafficking have fragmented the low income communities of Medellin, Colombia. Through the urban sub centres, residents are working in partnership with Government, local authorities and the private sector to reclaim their communities.
In Cairo, Egypt, the Zabbaleen are not only selling products made from garbage they have collected and recycled, but they have also been successful in persuading the Government to legally recognize their community.
In 1995, the Municipality of Surat, India, engaged in a comprehensive participatory planning process, producing an integrated programme of 47 projects addressing issues of transportation, water supply, sanitation and environmental management. Within 18 months, Surat was judged the second cleanest city in India.
An island of unique biodiversity threatened by pressing demands for more agricultural land, Kenya's Arabuko Sokoke Forest has been saved by the Kipepeo Project. The success of the project lies in linking conservation with development through the sustainable harvesting and export of butterfly pupae.
By producing their own professional standard development plan, a low income community on the outskirts of Xalapa, Vera Cruz, Mexico, has initiated a housing project, a women's credit scheme, a nutrition and education project and has succeeded in obtaining the official incorporation of their community as part of the municipality. Popular participation in local planning has been crucial to the ongoing rehabilitation of the Naga River, the upgrading of the City Hospital and the improvement of solid waste management in Naga City, The Philippines.
Through the rehabilitation of its historic city centre, the recovery of its urban beach and the implementation of a modern waste-water treatment plant, the City of Malaga, Spain, represents an excellent example of how cities can put into practice the recommendations of the 1992 Earth Summit and the commitments made by partners at the "City Summit" the Habitat II Conference held in Istanbul in 1996.
The Dar es Salaam City Council realized it could not meet the demand for infrastructure by itself. Through the Community Infrastructure Upgrading Programme (CIP), communities such as Tabata are contributing their ideas, energy and money for roads, water and sanitation projects.
Since 1994, Interface, Inc. Kennesaw, Georgia, United States of America, has applied its philosophy of "Doing well by doing good" to all aspects of its carpet manufacturing business, significantly reducing its environmental impact, saving $50 million, quadrupling its stock price and reducing the environmental impact of the operations of its domestic and international suppliers.