Towards a Prosperous Urban Future For All

Islamic Cities Best Practices


The documentation and sharing of best practices has a long history in the movement of towns and cities to create sustainable, equitable, prosperous and environmentally responsible urban centres. Best practices from towns and cities have proved extremely useful as a means of sharing successful strategies for the provision of infrastructure and housing; policies and programmes for improving governance and social inclusion; and for demonstrating that cities can be competitive economic hubs and care for the environment. Best practices cover all aspects of the wide-ranging responsibilities of municipal governments.

 The sharing of best practices between towns and cities has stimulated creative thinking and
actions and further facilitated the linking and networking between towns and cities the world over.

Numerous local government associations, foundations, institutions, civil society organizations and even some individuals sponsor urban best practices awards as a way to stimulate innovation and creativity for solutions to persistent urban challenges. The most well-known examples of municipal best practices awards is the Municipality of Dubai's and UN-Habitat's International Awards for Best Practices.

Municipal awards recipients enjoy international fame with extensive media coverage, which encourages further exchanges, innovations and networking between towns and cities.

Objective and Partners

The objective of the Concept Note is to outline a new and innovative initiative based on the successful model of municipal best practices. The motivation for creating the new international best practices award and open source database stems from the partnership between UN-Habitat, International City Leaders (ICL) in the City Prosperity Initiative - Metropolitan Cities (CPI-MC)1. Additional partners for the CPI-MC Best Practices Awards include Shahr Bank - the City Bank of Iran and the World Assembly of Islamic Cities (WAIC). Together the four organizations are committed to promoting the City Prosperity Initiative - Metropolitan Cities in towns and cities of Western and Central Asia and the Middle East.

The City Prosperity Initiative

The City Prosperity Initiative (CPI)2 is an innovative approach to city measurements developed by UN-Habitat. It consists of an Index which is accompanied by a conceptual matrix, the Wheel of Prosperity. They are designed to support cities in developing baseline data on a number of
indicators which together assist in assessing the state of prosperity in a given city. The CPI measures prosperity across six dimensions - productivity, infrastructure, quality of life, equity and social inclusion, environmental sustainability and governance and legislation. The baseline enables policy interventions in order to enhance urban prosperity in the broadest sense, in a holistic and integrated manner.

The CPI is a platform for global comparability in which cities can assess their situation comparing their rate and present performance with other cities around the world using a set of similar indicators. Additionally, it acts as a strategic policy tool where the data and information shaping the Index are used to track progress and deficiencies along the six dimensions of prosperity.

The CPI-MC Best Practices Awards

The CPI-MC Best Practices Awards will be premised on the six dimensions of the City Prosperity Initiative as indicated above. Instead of demonstrating excellence in anyone area of urban planning, development and management; towns and cities submitting their cases to the Award's Programme will be required to demonstrate excellence in as many dimensions of the CPI as possible, as well as the intersection between the dimensions and how they contribute to sustainability and prosperity.

All towns and cities of Western and Central Asia and the Middle East will be invited to submit their projects and programmes for the CPI-MC Best Practices Awards.

Implementation Stages

Panel of Technical Experts

A panel of technical experts with particular knowledge and experience on urban issues and
measurements of impacts of programmes and policies will be created to develop the principles and criteria for the applications for CPI-MC Best Practices. Adherence to the six dimensions of the City Prosperity Index will be assessed by a jury to identify the most outstanding best practice, which is the one that has the possibility to make progress in more than one dimension of prosperity. In the first year, the call for best practices will be open to all municipalities in Western and Central Asia and the Middle East even if they are not participating in the City Prosperity Initiative. The most innovative programme or project will be awarded the Best Practices Award.

CPI-MC Best Practices Website

The partners will support the development of a website in English and at least three languages of the Region, including: Arabic, Farsi and Turkish. The website will provide all the relevant information for the CPI-MC Best Practices Awards such as rules and regulations, eligibility criteria, judges, categories, prizes, sponsors, and applications for submission. Towns and cities will submit their applications online in one of the four languages.

The Database

A database will be designed and developed to collect and structure this information. It will be accessible online, in the public domain, and share city prosperity best practices from municipalities in the identified regions. Each year an invitation will be sent out inviting cities to submit exemplary city prosperity programs which embody the CPI dimensions. Each year the selection of the best practice will be chosen by an expert technical committee.

The Ceremony of Recognition 

An appropriate CPI annual event will be designated for the recognition of the best practices. The partners will identify the most appropriate venue and date for the ceremony.

1: For further information, please see the link:

Structure of the Secretariat

Host Secretariat:
Secretariat of best practices is established with the cooperation between the municipality of the host city (Lahijan) representing World Assembly of Islamic Cities and International City Leaders Foundation (ICL)

The Secretariat will be presided by the Mayor of Lahijan. He will be jointly appointed to this position by World Assembly of Islamic Cities (WAIC) and ICL

Supreme Council:
The Supreme Council of the SBP is comprised of mayors from seven to eleven cities of Islamic Countries chosen by the president of Secretariat and formally appointed by President of WAIC.

Supreme Technical Leadership Council:
This council is comprised of 5 members, the chair and the members being selected from UN experts, ICL and partner universities.