5 March 2007Bahrain’s Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al Khalifa today won a United Nations award for his efforts in improving the lot of the urban poor. The UN Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, which is mandated to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all, gave Sheikh Khalifa the 2006 Special Citation of the Habitat Scroll of Honour Award for his “impressive efforts in lifting the living standards of all Bahrainis through an active focus on poverty alleviation and modernization while preserving the cultural heritage” of his country. “UN-HABITAT applauds your efforts to place the urban poor at the centre of the modernization strategy for the Kingdom of Bahrain,” agency Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka said in a lettered delivered by a delegation in Manama, the capital. She praised Bahrain’s effort under Sheikh Khalifa’s leadership to increase the supply of housing units for citizens with very low incomes since 1971. “UN-HABITAT further appreciates your commitment to participatory urban governance, in particular your role in introducing directly-elected municipal councils and promoting citizen participation in decision making for the planning and management of cities,” she said. She expressed the hope that “this laudable achievement would inspire other countries in the region and beyond to benefit from the experience of the Kingdom of Bahrain.” The Special Citation is bestowed on individuals who have shown extraordinary commitment to the improvement of conditions of people living and working in poverty.