Bhubaneswar: Odisha has won the International online Popular City Award at the 5th Guangzhou Award for Urban Innovation 2021 announced on 12th November receiving more than 4.60 lakh votes from across the world. People across the globe selected the Urban Wage Employment Initiative (UWEI) now known as MUKTA program of Government of Odisha from among 15 other international programs and cities.
The State also received Medals of Honour for two of its key initiatives – Urban Wage Employment Initiative (MUKTA) and Faecal Sludge & Septage Management (FSSM) – for their outstanding contribution to local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda. The two programs were globally recognized from among 273 initiatives from 175 cities and local governments in 60 countries including Australia, China, South Africa, USA, Brazil, and Denmark
While the UWEI was selected for reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing resilience of the urban poor, FSSM in Berhampur was shortlisted for promoting sustainable environment conservation and women empowerment through FSSM.
The Award’s Technical Committee consisting of distinguished members from technical, academic and across the world assessed each submission using the main criteria of – innovativeness, effectiveness, context, replicability/scalability, and significance. The Committee appreciated the UWEI program as “an excellent example of State Government providing a safety net for the vulnerable population during the Covid pandemic and for helping build city resilience through public works.” The FSSM program in Berhampur was lauded for “enhancing incomes of women collectives, ensuring community participation and ownership for sustainable FSSM and promoting women empowerment.” Both initiatives were recognized for their contribution and relevance to the SDGs.
The Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation aims to recognize innovation in improving social, economic and environment sustainability in cities and regions and advance the prosperity and quality of life of their citizens.
The two interventions from Odisha competed rigorously with their international competitors over a period of one year to reach the final stage.
Hon’ble Chief Minister Sri Naveen Patnaik has congratulated the H&UD department for this International Award. “Congratulations HUDDeptOdisha as #Odisha has been awarded 5th #GuangzhouAward which recognises innovation in improving social, economic and environmental sustainability in cities and regions. #Odisha has been awarded for its urban wage employment initiatives.” Sri Pratap Jena Minister H&UD has also Congratulated the Department.