The industrial city of Rourkela in India is among the 15 winners, hailing from 13 nations, of a prestigious worldwide innovation competition, which recognised the cities for designing the boldest and most ambitious urban innovations to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Bloomberg Philanthropies on Tuesday announced the 15 winning cities of the 2021-2022 Global Mayors Challenge, the fifth edition of the global innovation competition that supports and spreads cities' most promising ideas.
"The yearlong competition launched in 2021 elevates the most promising urban innovations to emerge from the pandemic," said a press release issued by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
As many as 631 cities from 99 countries participated in the competition.
Rourkela in Odisha bagged the honour for providing "cold-storage units to women co-ops to empower female food vendors, reduce food waste, and increase access to fresh foods", the release said.
The winning cities will receive USD 1 million each and multi-year technical support.
The other winners are Amman (Jordan); Bogota, (Colombia); Butuan, (Philippines); Freetown (Sierra Leone); Hermosillo (Mexico); Istanbul (Turkey); Kigali (Rwanda); Kumasi (Ghana); Paterson (US); Phoenix (US); Rochester (US); Rotterdam (the Netherlands); Vilnius, (Lithuania); and Wellington (New Zealand).
As the world works to address the profound public health and economic effects of the ongoing pandemic, cities can implement innovative ideas at a pace that national governments simply can't match, said Michael R Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP and 108th Mayor of New York City.
Our fifteen winners offer bold, achievable plans to improve health, reduce unemployment, empower women, and more. Collectively, they have the potential to improve millions of their residents' lives and the most successful solutions will inspire cities around the world to embrace them, he said.
The 15 winning cities collectively represent more than 30 million residents.
The winners will now enter a three-year implementation period with the USD 1 million grant and robust technical assistance.
During this time, the cities will work diligently to evolve and scale their ideas into a real-life programme to improve residents' lives. Cities will also work to share their ideas with additional cities around the world to enable these tested innovations to spread, the release said.
The winning ideas address one or more of four current issue areas in cities including economic recovery and inclusive growth; health and wellbeing; climate and environment; and gender and equality.
The winners were selected based on four criteria: Vision; Potential for impact; Feasibility; and Transferability. The ideas provide a powerful snapshot of the innovation priorities of hundreds of the world's cities. The most common themes of the winning innovations focus on reducing unemployment, improving health, and addressing climate change, the release said.