The Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), a UAE-based professional working group, with the mission of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the country, held the second panel discussion of 2019 on the topic of “Sustainable cities and Communities” at the Modul University in Dubai. The event was conducted in association with the Arabia CSR Network, Emirates Green Building Council and Clean Energy Business Council.
The panel discussion, earlier known as ‘community lectures’, is a platform that was originally rolled out in 1992. We are proud to continue our session in 2019 with an important topic, an impressive line-up of speaker and with a strong attendance. The event aims to bolster knowledge on sustainable cities and communities in the region by bringing together sustainably conscious global citizens, who are interested in learning more and understanding about the developments and advancements being made in the field of urban development. Focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 11, the panel discussion addressed City Resilience to climate change, Renewable Energy integration, Green Construction material and Green investments.
“A sustainable city can be broadly defined as a city designed to provide the highest quality of life with the lowest possible environmental footprint. With two thirds of the world’s population expected to be living in cities by 2050, it is time we started taking a more serious look at sustainable living before we run out of space”, said Mrs Habiba Al Mar’ashi, Chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group!
“A lot has been done to celebrate the progress of our achievements, however we must be aware of our challenges that lie ahead and our targets” said Mr Saeed Al Abbar very poignantly. In Asia and Africa, cities are responsible for generating over 80% of the GDP in their countries. This is the primary reason that is driving this modern phenomenon of urban migration. Cities in Asia alone will be home to another 1.1 billion people in the next two decades. Most cities are already struggling with serious environmental and socio-economic issues, traffic congestions, poor infrastructure designs and inadequate sanitation and waste management systems all leading to increased air, water and land pollution. The long term environmental degradation of cities will in turn have a direct impact on its economic growth thereby posing a huge challenge for future urban developers and policymakers. “The success of a sustainable city will depend on its ability to adapt to local geography and one that also satisfies health, wellbeing, economics and ecological needs of society”, said Ms. Huda Shaka.
The critical topic of Sustainable Cities was strategically covered in full scope, bringing together a diverse panel of expert speakers. The expert panelists included Mr. Saeed Al Abbar (Managing Director of AESG and Chairman of Emirates Green Building Council), Mrs. Huda Shaka (Associate Director at Arup), Mr. Pradeep Singh (Assistant Director of Business Development at Etihad ESCO), Mr. Ken Wade (Director at 5 Capital) represented their entities and shared their expertise and knowledge. The meaningful panel discussion explored how UAE is leading the talk on the implementation of sustainable city policies, projects and technologies. The presentations were followed by a lively interactive session where the experts and audience members shared information, discussed queries, pondered on the challenges and the plethora of opportunities that presented themselves and uncovered the truths and complexities of our future.