EnviroCities 2010 conference kicks off in Dubai
Dr. Rashid Bin Fahad, UAE Minister of Environment and Water said the Green Building rule will be implemented at the federal level from the beginning of next year in government projects in the first phase as the council of ministers had taken a decision in this regard in July.
He was speaking during the inauguration of the second international conference, EnviroCities 2010, under the title, "Green Cities," at Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City on Sunday in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Chairman of Dubai Municipality. The two-day conference is organised by the Environmental Centre for Arab Towns (ECAT) in cooperation with Dubai Municipality.
The opening ceremony was also attended by Denis Hayes, Earth Day Founder, Philip Jordan, Mayor of Phoenix, Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, and a number of dignitaries and experts from various parts of the world in the field of environment.
Fahad also called for meeting the challenges of facing the negative impact of the fast paced urbanization in the world.
“We have always been keen to incorporate the environmental dimension in the developmental plans. Realizing the pressures of urban development boom, the UAE has given much importance to apply sustainable solutions including transforming the city areas into green, which in turn will reduce the impact of carbon emission and protect the environment,” he said.
Lootah, who delivered the speech on behalf of the patron of the event, Sheikh Hamdan, stressed the academic importance of the conference and the urgent need for the convening of such conferences, which examine the issue of green cities, which is one of the important topics because of its obvious implications for the system of ecological balance.
He spoke about the importance of the environment, the sustainable use of natural resources, and planning through the adoption of environmentally friendly solutions that are sustainable.
“The adoption of the Green Cities project will bring ecological balance in our cities of today,” Lootah said, emphasizing the concern for good government.
“Through the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai we started the application of green building specifications on all buildings and facilities in the emirate according to the best global environment-friendly standards,” he said.
Lootah said the work on the manual on the terms and conditions of green buildings has been completed and efforts are underway to formulate the work mechanisms and its implementation.
He stressed that the EnviroCities conference is one of the important events in the Arab region, where scientists, experts and researchers in this area meet to discuss the latest achievements in this field.
Lootah hoped the conference will seek to create a network of cooperation among the global players in the field of environment and work to activate the role of local government councils in Arab cities to adopt modern concepts of environmental management to be friendly to the environment.
He told that the city looks through this conference to spread the benefits thanks to the experience and expertise that will be presented through the working papers and recommendations on the Arab cities for the same purpose.
Denis Hayes challenged the participants to design and construct a 10-story office building in each of their cities that produces as much energy from the sunshine that falls on it as it uses.
“Oil is a declining resource and sunlight will endure forever. Every country represented here has a hugely valuable solar resource that, with intelligent land use planning, you can employ in a distributed way inside your existing cities,” he said.
Hayes also called for the creation of truly sustainable cities that will safeguard the human population while also serving to protect the natural world.
He said truly sustainable cities will promote education, creativity, community, productivity, and the frugal use of scarce resources.
He said the conference covers a wide spectrum of topics such as "Green City Goals, Policies, Indicators, Green City Branding," "Green Management of Land, Energy, Water and Wastes," "Green Future Cities/Zero Carbon Cities," "Green Building Codes," "Cool Green Cities - Urban Heat Islands, impacts and solutions," "Success Stories from Built Environment," "Green Transport," "Green Hotels," "Green Lifestyles" and "Green Economy."
The first session of the conference was addressed by Prof. Spiro N. Pollalis of Harvard University, who talked about the "challenges in transitions to green cities,” followed by a presentation by Eng. Essa Al Maidour, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality for Engineering and Planning Sector, who gave details about "Green Building Codes in Dubai.
Maidour said the green building rule will be made mandatory for all buildings in Dubai after three years as it is a transitional stage.
But, he said, during the initial stages, the green building rule will be implemented on government buildings.
The other speakers of the day included," Andreas Georgoulias, also of Harvard University, who gave a lecture on "Clean Green Cities."
In session two of the inaugural day, Dr. Nawal Hosany from Masdar, talked on the subject, "Towards Zero Carbon Cities,” Naser Bu Shehab and Mohammed El Hashmi of RTA jointly presented a paper on "Green Mass Transport, Fuels, Metro/Hybrid," and Dr. Adam Cade of Sustainability Education Consultancy, Frankfurt, gave tips on the quality of life in Green cities during his lecture titled, "Lean to Green lifestyles."