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    1 October 2010

    UN-HABITAT Awards City of Vienna for Excellence in Urban Planning

    VIENNA, 1 October (UN Information Service) - The City of Vienna is among the winners of the 2010 Scroll of Honour of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the UN's most prestigious award in human settlements development.

    The award, which honours individuals and institutions instrumental in improving living conditions in towns and cities, will be presented to the Mayor of Vienna, Michael Häupl, on Monday, 4 October, at the Vienna City Hall in the presence of the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, Yury Fedotov, by the Director of the UN-HABITAT Geneva Office, George Deikun.

    The awards are bestowed on 4 October in the framework of World Habitat Day celebrated worldwide. This year's theme "Better City, Better Life" echoes the UN's efforts to raise awareness about the state of the world's towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter.

    Vienna is awarded for putting people and their views first in a model urban renovation programme. Under the multi-million dollar programme the sub-standard housing stock has been reduced over the years to below nine percent following improvements to more than 5,000 buildings with nearly a quarter of a million apartments.

    "I congratulate the city of Vienna on winning the 2010 Scroll of Honour, the UN's most prestigious award in human settlements development. Vienna put people at the centre of its urban renewal programme by renovating buildings rather than tearing them down. This has greatly improved the living conditions of thousands of people in the city," said Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna.

    The Global Observance of World Habitat Day will be held in Shanghai, where awards will be presented some of the other winners of the 2010 Scroll of Honor which include China, Colombia, Morocco, Singapore and South Africa.

    The Director of the UN-Habitat Geneva Office, George Deikun, recognizes Vienna's contribution to city planning with its urban renovations programme, which will serve as a model for cities in Eastern Europe: "Vienna joins over 100 other cities in the world today in commemorating this year's World Habitat Day. Cities are among the greatest legacies of humanity and among the greatest achievements of our civilization. The city of Vienna attests to this achievement with its 2000 years of urban civilization."

    The observance of World Habitat Day highlights the actions and policies that can improve well-being for the billion people who live in slums and other sub-standard housing around the world. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the day called for the improvement of the living conditions of the urban poor: "The challenges of urban poverty - from pollution to criminal gang culture - are not insurmountable. Many cities are finding successful solutions. Smart cities recognize the importance of good governance, basic urban services for all, and streets and public spaces where women and children feel safe. They also recognize that better cities can help to mitigate global challenges, such as climate change, by promoting energy conservation and environmental sustainability."

    The United Nations system supports the creation of better cities in cooperation with national and local governments, civil society and the private sector. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

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    For further information, contact:

    Zahra A. Hassan
    Media Liaison, UN-Habitat
    Telephone: (+254) 20 7623151


    Regina Rohrbach
    Associate Information Officer
    United Nations Information Service Vienna (UNIS)
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-3898
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-3898