2023-02-22 11:23:10


These Submission Guidelines are based on the Rules and Procedures of the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation (abbreviated as the "Guangzhou Award" hereinafter), in order to ensure successful organization of the award activities and the impartiality of the award itself.


The Guangzhou Award is co-sponsored by the City of Guangzhou of the People’s Republic of China, the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis), and is supported by ICLEI and C40. The aim of the Guangzhou Award is to recognize innovation in improving social, economic and environmental sustainability and good urban governance in cities and regions and, in so doing, to advance the prosperity and quality of life of their citizens. Presented biennially, the award encourages innovation in public policy, projects, business models and practices and is designed to provide evidence of the local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.


The objectives of the Guangzhou Award are to: 

1. Recognize innovation as a key contributing factor in meeting the social, economic, environmental and governance challenges facing a rapidly changing world; 

2. Promote the sharing and exchange of lessons learned from successful innovation; 

3. Provide a platform for the documentation, dissemination and analysis of the local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.


The Guangzhou Award will be discerned to up to five (5) cities for each award cycle.

Each of the winning cities will receive a USD 20,000 cash prize, a trophy and a commemorative certificate designed for the award.

The winners of the Guangzhou Award are also invited to attend special events including the Global Mayors’ Forum, an exhibition and the award ceremony.


1. The Guangzhou Award is open to all cities and regions worldwide, including members of UCLG and Metropolis.

2. An initiative that is entered for the Guangzhou Award should meet the following eligibility criteria:

a.  It should be an original undertaking such as a new policy, project, business model or practice that promotes social, economic and/or environmental sustainability in a city or region;

b. It should be an ongoing or recently completed initiative (within the past two years);

c. It should provide evidence and/or indicators of substantial impact and/or success in meeting the initiative's stated objective(s).

3. The Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities, and the New Urban Agenda serve as the overarching guidelines on the thematic areas and domains covered by the Guangzhou Award. For the New Urban Agenda, particular focus is being placed on urban planning and design, financing urban development, access to affordable housing, infrastructure and services.

4. Submissions that do not succeed in being selected for the Guangzhou Award may re-submit in subsequent cycles should there be new evidence or indicators of impact or change.

Cities and local authorities are encouraged to submit up to three initiatives that support a given policy including those that are implemented in collaboration with private and civil society partners.


The major criteria for innovation to be considered for the Guangzhou Award include:

1.  Innovativeness: the extent to which a forward-looking policy, an original project, new business model or creative practice has been developed to address a major social, economic, environmental or governance issue;

2.  Effectiveness: the extent to which the initiative is achieving one or more Global Agenda targets (Paris Agreement, SDGs, Sendai Framework, etc.);

3.  Policy Continuity, Replicability and Transferability: the value of lessons learned from the initiative that help to ensure policy continuity and inspire other communities, cities and regions to adopt new policies and practices;

4.  Significance: the importance or relevance of the initiative in addressing problems and issues of public concern (e.g. climate change, circular economy, resilience and pandemic response with regards to housing, job security, health and wellbeing, access to public goods and services and greens space, etc.)

Each assessment criterion will carry an equal weight in the overall evaluation.


Applicants         should         apply         for          the          award          online at before 23:59:59, 31st August 2023 (UTC+8:00). Applicants are encouraged to include the following supporting materials as an integral part of their submission:

a. Articles appearing in newspapers, professional journals, newsletters or other publications;

b. Photographs, videos and/or other graphic materials;

c. Maps and graphic materials.

Supporting materials should be sent to the Guangzhou Award Secretariat before the deadline by email at

All submissions and supporting materials received will be acknowledged and will not be returned to the applicants.

The organizers reserve the right to publish submissions, wholly or in part, to further promote and disseminate lessons learned from urban innovation.


Submissions received by the deadline of 31st August 2023 undergo a three-step evaluation process:

1. Step I: review by an international gender-representative Technical Committee comprising of experts with extensive experience in different domains. This committee will select no more than forty-five (45) deserving initiatives from all submissions. It will then select from the deserving initiatives a shortlist of up to fifteen (15) outstanding initiatives of comparable merit. The Technical Committee will meet in person in Guangzhou for up to four working days;

2. Step II: Review by the general public and the attendees of the International Seminar on Learning from Urban Innovation and the Global Mayors’ Forum. Short-listed submissions will be posted on the Guangzhou Award website where the public will be invited to state their preferences and comments. The submission that receives the most positive comments and feedback will be recognized and discerned with a special certificate of appreciation.

3. Step III: review by an independent Jury. Short-listed submissions will be evaluated by an independent Jury composed of no less than five (5) eminent personalities. The Jury will undertake a paper evaluation and an evaluation based on the oral presentation of each of the short-listed initiatives at the International Seminar on Learning from Urban Innovation. The Seminar is designed to promote the sharing of lessons learned from the short-listed initiatives with other cities, practicing professionals, civil society organizations, academia, the media and the general public.

The Jury will present its final decision during the award ceremony.

The Jury has the mandate to select up to five (5) award winners from the shortlist. The Jury reserves the right to award less than five (5) initiatives but not more than five (5) initiatives in any given cycle. The Jury also reserves the right not to give any awards if the short-listed initiatives are considered unworthy of international recognition. The Jury's decision is final and not contestable.


Besides the winners, the Organizing Committee of the Guangzhou Award also recognizes the remaining short-listed initiatives for their outstanding contribution to the local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. This recognition will be in the form of a Medal of Honor.


The Guangzhou Award Ceremony shall be held after the Jury's decision and upon the conclusion of the Global Mayors’ Forum.

All short-listed initiatives will be invited to send two participants to attend the Global Mayors’ Forum.

Short-listed initiatives will also be asked to send additional material for an exhibition on urban innovation. The exhibition is open to the general public and may be shown in other venues inside and outside China.

The winners will be presented with their awards including trophies and certificates at the award ceremony. The winners will be requested to provide their bank account information for transfer of the USD 20,000 cash prize.

The award shall be discerned to the Mayor or a senior representative of the winning city.

The Medals of Honor will be discerned by special guests attending the International Seminar on Learning from Urban Innovation on the sidelines of the Global Mayors’ Forum.


31st July 2023

Early Bird Submission Deadline for Application Advice*

* Cities submitting their applications before the early bird deadline have the opportunity to receive feedback and advice on how to improve their submissions.

31st August 2023

Final Submission Deadline

September 2023

Evaluation by the Technical Committee

Release of the 15 Short-listed Cities ** and 30 Deserving Cities

** Additional material may be required from short-listed cities

October 2023

International Seminar on Learning from Urban Innovation

Final Assessment by Jury

November to December 2023

Online Vote: The City of Your Choice

December 2023

Guangzhou Award Ceremony

The Global Mayors’ Forum

 Download: 2023 Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation Submission Guidelines