Egypt’s New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) won the United Nations-Habitat Scroll of Honour award for 2021 in the field of sustainable urbanisation among 170 nominations across many countries, Housing Minister Assem El-Gazzar said in a statement on Saturday.
In a statement on its website on Friday, the UN Habitat hailed NUCA’s efforts to provide safe and affordable social housing projects over the past four decades.
The UN Habitat said the Egyptian NGO aimed, through these housing projects, to promote “social cohesion” among residents in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Egypt Vision 2030.
According to the UN Habitat, NUCA has provided 660,000 units in 21 new cities to serve more than three million citizens. This includes hospitals, schools, playgrounds and green spaces.
The award will be presented to the winners, including NUCA, during the Global Observance of World Habitat Day on 4 October in Cameroon’s capital of Yaounde, El-Gazzar said in a ministerial statement, citing a letter from the UN Habitat.
The World Habitat Day is celebrated annually on the first Monday of October every year.
Launched in 1989, the award is bestowed upon institutions and individuals with outstanding contributions to urban development. This includes improving the quality of urban life and securing appropriate and affordable housing.
National, regional and local governments, inter-governmental organisations, civil society groups as well as the private sector, academic institutions, multilateral agencies, and individuals are all eligible for nomination for the award.
According to the UN Habitat’s Friday statement, there are four other winners of the Scroll of Honour this year, including Kenya’s Shining Hope for Communities, China’s Baoji City, Estonia’s Let’s do it World (LDIW) and Chile’s Ciudad Emergente (CEM).
UN-Habitat’s Executive Director Maimunah Sharif praised the five “impressive” winners for their “tremendous contribution” to sustainable urbanisation.
She also hailed their “innovative ideas” and “impactful work,” saying she believes they will be an “inspiration to us all to work for a better urban world for everyone.”
NUCA is currently implementing 25 new fourth-generation cities with the aim of expanding planned urban development to cope with population growth and create opportunities for investments and work, El-Gazzar said.
NUCA has been keen to provide public transportation means for the residents of new cities, who will soon also enjoy monorail and a high-speed electrified train, El-Gazzar said.
The authority has also established youth centres, special sporting clubs, bike lanes, tourist walkways in coastal cities as well as gardens and parks, on top of which is the central gardens in the New Administrative Capital, El-Gazzar added.
NUCA is now establishing 4G cities over an area of 630,000 feddans and raising the efficiency of the existing cities, according to information provided by the housing ministry on Saturday.
Investments in these projects reached EGP 312 billion, the ministry added.
Since its establishment in 1979 and until 2013, NUCA established 21 cities nationwide covering an area of 675,000 feddans, the ministry said,
The New Urban Communities Authority was established in the term of late President Anwar El-Sadat to establish new urban centres and extend urbanisation to include remote areas and deserts away from the densely populated narrow strip of the Nile Valley.