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Sahara’s Largest City Laayoune Runner-Up as “Sustainable and Resilient City”

The Moroccan city of Laayoune, nestled within the Moroccan Sahara, has proudly clinched second place in the Sustainable and Resilient City Award category during the 14th edition of the Arab Towns Organization (ATO) Awards, according to an announcement made on Tuesday in Doha.

The Jury Committee for the 14th ATO Awards–chaired by Dr. Saif bin Ali Al Hajari–held meetings in Doha from November 5-7 and was composed of delegates from Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Oman. Engineer Abdul Rahman Hisham Al Asfour, Secretary-General of the Arab Towns Organization, and Mansour Ajran Al Buainain, Chairman of the Arab Towns Award Foundation, attended the conference.

Members of the committee included Jordan’s Hamza Abdulmotaleb Al Muhaisen, Lebanon’s Dr. Nayef Mohamed Saleh, Kuwaiti engineering professional Manar Fahad Al Hashash, and Oman’s Salim Saeed Al Kalbani.

The committee revealed the winners of the highly competitive awards at a press conference. Among the 11 cities vying for the Sustainable and Resilient City honor, first place was awarded to the Greater Amman Municipality in Amman, Jordan, while the third spot was secured by the Governorate of Dhofar in the Sultanate of Oman.

Another accolade, the Excellence in Electronic and Smart Transformation Award, saw six submissions from various Arab cities. Doha Municipality in Qatar took the top spot, while second place went to the Greater Amman Municipality in Jordan. The third position was bestowed upon the Public Housing and Urban Development Corporation, also in Amman.

In the Creative City Award category, which featured five submissions, first place remained unclaimed. However, runner-up status was awarded again to the Public Housing and Urban Development Corporation in Amman, while third prize was held jointly by the Ramallah Municipality in Palestine and the Gabes Municipality in Tunisia.

Al Asfour expressed his appreciation for Qatar’s unwavering support for the organization and its institutions, acknowledging its tireless efforts to ensure the success of the Arab Cities Organization Awards since Doha has served as the award’s bestowal headquarters since 1983.

He clarified that the prizes provided by the ATO have contributed significantly to Arab-based accomplishment by recognizing achievement in categories such as architecture, environmental health, urban sustainability, and smart transformation.

He added that the organization bestows honorary prizes upon Arab architects, artists, scientists, and administrative professionals, among others, who have contributed greatly to the development of Arab cities in their respective fields.

The ATO is a regional Arab group which focuses on issues pertaining to urban/municipal sustainability and renewal. Kuwait serves as its permanent headquarters. The organization was founded in 1967 by an assemblage of Arab municipalities which decided to create the group in order to encourage and strengthen Arab joint efforts. It currently boasts over 650 Arab cities as members. In order to achieve its goals, the organization includes seven regional institutions that represent its technical agencies.