Monday, March 28, 2011
Record number of thought leaders exchange ideas to improve cities at Global City 2011 Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, UAE, - Monday, March 28th 2011 [ME NewsWire]
More than 800 delegates and participants attended Global City 2011, Abu Dhabi, making the fifth edition of the forum the most successful Global City to date. Thought-provoking discussion surrounding issues of urban sustainability spurred networking and collaboration at this important event, presented under the Patronage of HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, Department of Transport, Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, Western Region Development Council and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research, UAE, welcomed dignitaries, delegates, speakers and members of the press to Abu Dhabi and to the forum, setting the tone for one of the most progressive events on urban sustainability to date: “Abu Dhabi is focusing on developing education, improving healthcare and providing adequate housing to all residents,” he said. “Our city’s objective is to be an important global hub for commerce, culture and art.”
He was joined by HE Falah al Ahbabi, GM of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council who reinforced this vision by saying: “Sustainability remains at the foundation of any new development in Abu Dhabi. The key objective for Vision 2030 urban development initiative is to develop Abu Dhabi as the modern, sustainable Arab Capital of the world.“
“The caliber of discussion at this year’s Global City forum was impressive. Some of the new ideas presented represent cutting-edge thinking in the area of urban development,” said Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, when asked about the forum’s impact. “It was exciting to see great strides being made on important issues for the sustainability movement.”
Delegates at the Leaders Summit, held in association with IBM, discussed financing sustainable growth, including the emerging trend of public-private partnerships. Further discussion on financing vehicles included an examination of funds such as green funds, sovereign funds, ethics funds and Islamic bank financing, as well as microfinance. Participants came away with solid ideas and the tools to implement them effectively.
Keynote addresses provided discussion points and food for thought. Economist, writer and president of PlaNet Finance, Jacques Attali shared his ideas on sustainable cities and outlined a plan for creating urban spaces that mimic nature. In his address on regenerative cities, Prof. Herbert Girardet of the World Future Council examined the relationship between cities and the surrounding areas that supply them with vital resources, arguing that the boundaries of urban ecology should be expanded to include these areas. Other memorable moments came from the Leaders Panel on City Identity, chaired by urban specialist Greg Clark, with HH Prince Abdulaziz bin Mohammad bin Ayyaf, Mayor of Riyadh Region in KSA as one of the esteemed panelists.
In the final keynote address, former Washington DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty explained how private sector approaches can improve service delivery. Fenty, lauded in the Wall Street Journal as the city’s most successful mayor, is known for his innovative approach to governance, running his city as a private sector business. His strategy of keeping things simple, people accountable and costs manageable has garnered him a reputation for being a city leader worth emulating.
On Day Three, delegates were impressed by Abu Dhabi’s cultural and architectural landmarks on visits to several of the city’s most iconic sites, including the striking Aldar Headquarters, Yas Island, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Masdar City and Manarat Al Saadiyat. “Masdar is the realization of a vision of the future, and it demonstrates how we can live in harmony with nature’s resources,” said Gino Van Begin, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI.
About Global City 2011, Abu Dhabi:
Global City is the only international forum where public and private leaders meet to exchange best practice and share sustainable urban strategies.
On March 15 – 17 2011, the 5th edition of this unique international networking platform dedicated to mayors, urban planners and city leaders, was held at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Under the Patronage of H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, Department of Transport, Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, Western Region Development Council and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the focus for the 2011 edition of this prestigious event was City Identity & Values.
The three-day program featured high level discussion, knowledge sharing and insights from city leaders and expert advisers from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, complemented by site visits to the most striking and innovative projects of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
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