The initiation of the award program derives from the city's long-term cooperation with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) from its foundation in 2004 and with the World Association of Major Metropolises (Metropolis) since 1993.
Co-hosted by UCLG, Metropolis, and the Guangzhou Municipal Government, the Guangzhou Award aims to reward innovations to improve the socio-economic environments of cities and regions, promote sustainability, and hence advance the livelihood of citizens. Presented biennially, the award encourages and recognizes outstanding innovative projects and practices in the public sector.
Against the background of a rapidly changing social, economic and environmental context in the 21st century, the Guangzhou Award also contributes to the progress of city performances by presenting a platform for cities and regions around the world to share and disseminate their achievements.
The award is open to all cities and local governments, including members of Metropolis and UCLG as well as other municipalities. Applicants can submit innovative achievements in such thematic fields as public services, organization and administration, partnership and citizen involvement, smart city, sustainable city, and others. The Guangzhou Award will be granted to up to five winners. Each of the winners will be awarded with ,000 (US), as well as a trophy and a certificate. Winners will also be invited to attend side events including seminars and exhibitions on urban innovation.