It’s official. Ouje-Bougoumou has won the UN’s 50 Communities Award.

To mark the UN’s 50th birthday, awards are being given to 50 communities around the world that best exemplify the objectives of the United Nations. Ouje-Bougoumou won an award for sustainable development and “human settlement” The community was praised for its environmentally friendly heating and hot water system, its innovative housing program and architecture.

“We are very pleased that Ouje-Bougoumou has been chosen,” says the letter informing the community it won. “We believe that they have inspiring lessons to offer to the world.” “Ouje-Bougoumou is a vindication of what Aboriginal people have been saying for years about self-government,” said Chief Abel Bosum in a statement. “Give us the tools and you will see an enormous release of creative energies directed at building healthy, sustainable communities which are viably sound for us and economically beneficial for the governments as well.

“This award is also a confirmation that Aboriginal philosophies and values which stress conservation and the importance of community are relevant to the construction of modern settlements.” The community is raising funds to send representatives to a ceremony in New York in September where the award will be formally presented.