Municipality To Go for Gold at The World Leadership Awards

Phnom Penh municipality is again vying for one of the top spots in the upcoming World Leader­ship Awards, a contest encompassing 400 cities around the world and slated to take place in London on Dec 5 and 6.

Entrants to the annual event will be judged on their demonstration of exceptional vision or imagination in a number of fields including urban planning, architecture and housing, according to the Web site of the World Leadership Forum.

Special consideration is given to cities that have reversed trends, departed from traditional images and inspired others.

Competing in the “environment” category and cited for its achievements in “local environment renovation,” Phnom Penh municipality will be up against Albuquerque, in the US, Mexico City and Tainan City in Taiwan, according to the Web site.

“We are happy and proud of Phnom Penh,” Phnom Penh Gover­nor Kep Chuktema said Tuesday. “What we do has drawn the attention from a big organization in the world,” he said.

Kep Chuktema said that Phnom Penh municipality has sub­mit­ted to the judges in London its housing policy solution as well as reports on the city’s progress on environmental and infrastructure issues.

Having won in the environment category in 2005—when the municipality was lauded for its initiatives in “combating urban sprawl” Kep Chuktema said he was confident of another victory this year.

In 2005, however, the municipality was also taken to task by the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing and Housing Rights Mi­loon Kothari, who expressed concern over a rash of evictions that he said punished the poor.

Since then mass, forced evictions have become common—place in Phnom Penh despite frequent outcries that the city’s relocations sites are ill prepared for human habitation.

“We did not evict them for nothing,” Kep Chuktema said Tuesday, adding that the mass removal of people was a matter of improving the urban landscape.

“We placed them in a clean environment. We provided them with suitable living,” he said.




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