23 May 2016
Medellín recognised for ‘extraordinary’ transformation

Leading UN Global Compact participant city, Medellín has been awarded the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize for its remarkable transformation and dedication to becoming a more liveable, innovative and equitable city.

The biennial Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is jointly organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Centre for Liveable Cities, to honour outstanding achievements and contributions to the creation of liveable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities around the world.

Medellín has overcome incredible challenges through its focus on addressing poverty and inequity in what has been termed as ‘urban social transformation’. The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is an important recognition of the effort that has come from all sectors of the city – civil society, private sector and government.

Over recent years Medellín has achieved recognition world wide. Breaking more than a decade of violence, the city has made great advances in politics, education and social development – and significantly reduced crime rates. This earned the city the title of the Most Innovative City in the world in 2013 and has made it a point of inspiration for cities looking to overcome similar challenges.

This award comes through at a time when the city has had a change in leadership. Reflective of Medellín´s collaborative spirit, both the former Mayor, Annibal Gavirea Correa and the new Mayor, Frederico Guitierez Zuluaga will receive the prize together (World Cities Summit, July 11 in Singapore) and both have spoken about its value and what it reflects about Medellín.

The citizens of Medellín feature highly in both their thoughts. Anibal Gavirea Correa, when speaking of what it took to transform the city, said “the citizens of Medellin are not just the direct beneficiaries of our projects but an active part in the construction of our transformation. They should feel proud…”

Mayor Federico Guitierez Zuluaga says a liveable, sustainable, vibrant city is “a city by and for the people”.

“A city from which each of the 2.5 million inhabitants are proud to be part of and has the commitment and responsibility of citizens to build the city in which we believe, through civic culture”.

Mayor Guitierez Zuluaga goes on to recognise the importance of multi- sectoral collaboration and all parts of society being engaged.

” The difference in this city over others is the commitment of academia, public and private sector; achieving synergies for transformation”.

“Behind all transformations are human beings”.

Medellín´s methodology – which engages all sectors of society and has social focus and citizen participation at the centre of all city development – is a valuable asset to the UN Global Compact network of cities, committed to advancing human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.

We look forward to working closely with Medellín to share this methodology, and the outcomes of new projects and approaches throughout 2016 and 2017, across the Cities Programme network.

Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2016 Laureate from AUDEonline on Vimeo.