Nominations were accepted online until 31 May 2009.
Nomination forms could be completed by anyone associated with the HDR. All National and Sub-national HDRs published since January 2007 were eligible for the awards. Each national report could be nominated in up to two categories.
In addition, a PDF version of the Reports was made available to the Human Development Report Office by the proposed deadline. Nomination forms and reports were submitted in English, French and Spanish and all available language editions were to be signaled in the nomination form.
The nomination and selection procedure for the awards was organized around four steps:
The 2009 Awards categories for National Human Development Reports are as follows:
Since only two regions have launched Regional Reports in the proposed time-frame, nominations for Regional Reports are postponed until the next awards round. However, the Busan conference will provide an opportunity to showcase the work done in these two regions.
In addition to awards for excellence in National and Sub-National Human Development Reports, one award is given to an individual: the Mahbub ul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development. The Award is presented to a world leader who has successfully put human development at the heart of the national development agenda in his or her country. In 2002, the Award went to Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of Brazil from 1995 to 2002, for his efforts as a tireless advocate for human development and for overseeing significant human development progress in Brazil. In 2004, the Award went to Mr. Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), an organization that has helped 35 million of Bangladesh’s poorest citizens, mostly women, improve their lives. In 2007, the award went to Ms. Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a political leader who represented indigenous communities in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia and helped launch one of the world's first international legal actions on climate change, contending that greenhouse gas emissions from the United States violated Inuit human rights.