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NAIROBI - China"s Xuzhou City was among five winners of the 2018 UN Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) Scroll of Honor that were feted on Monday for advancing urban renewal.
The city, which is in east China"s Jiangsu province, scooped the prestigious award for promoting holistic and broad-based approaches to ecological restoration through intelligent solid-waste management. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta presented the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor awards to the five winners at a ceremony to mark the World Habitat Day held in the capital, Nairobi.
Other winners of the prestigious UN prize that rewards initiatives that have made remarkable contribution to urban renewal are the Institute of Physical Planning in Cuba, the Mayor of Surabaya City in Indonesia, Chairman of Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group from Kenya, and Vice President of the Institute for International Urban Development from the United States. They stood out among about 50 candidates, including individuals, organizations and projects, this year.
"I am delighted that we are able to meaningfully recognize these extraordinary achievements which have contributed toward improving the lives of those in our cities and towns," said Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of UN-Habitat.
Xuzhou, which heavily relies on coal to power its industries, has won accolades for promoting ecological vitality amid economic growth. The city has capitalized on robust leadership at the provincial and national level to promote revitalization of old industrial zones as well as green mobility and waste management.
It has posted rapid economic progress as the municipal leadership made deliberate efforts to accelerate transition from fossil fuel-based to clean manufacturing. The UN-Habitat said Xuzhou has become a national pilot city for the recycling and utilization of renewable resources that has been extended to 166 cities in China.
The city is now a hub for equipment and intelligent manufacturing, renewable energy, ICT, biomedicine and health, promoting a unique urban renewal model that integrates improved city planning with infrastructure upgrade, robust solid-waste management and pollution fight. The municipal authorities also promoted ecological renewal in the city through clean-up of its waterways and hilly landscapes.
Restoration of coal-mining sites and wetlands has also made Xuzhou City stand out as a model for ecological renewal. "I hope Xuzhou"s best practices can encourage other Chinese cities to move forward in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals," Sharif said.