The two-day Global City 2009 forum to be held in Abu Dhabi on April 7 and 8, 2009 will feature a special session on local climate strategy led by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) focal point for local governments and climate. The session will look at how cities around the world are combating climate change at the local level, a particularly relevant theme for the Middle East given the region’s rapid urbanization.
Distinguished environment and sustainability specialists participating in the session include: H.E. Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, UAE Minister of Environment and Water; Gino Van Begin, Regional Director for Europe, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI); Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Head of the Urban Development Programme, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); Flavio Goldman, Deputy Secretary of State, Sao Paolo, Brazil; and Wade Crowfoot, Director of Climate Protection Initiatives, San Francisco mayor’s office.
In addition to its Observer status, whereby ICLEI acts on behalf of Local Government facilitating dialogue with national governments and the UNFCCC Secretariat, ICLEI acts as the international Local government Climate Roadmap facilitator and is the Local Government and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency Focal Point of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“Cities, especially fast-growing ones in developing countries, are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” said Gino Van Begin, ICLEI’s Regional Director for Europe. “By 2030, two-thirds of humanity will live in urban areas, which today house more than half the world’s population lives and consume up to 80 per cent of its energy.”
“This is an emerging concern for the larger Middle East and North Africa region, and ICLEI is pleased to partner with Reed to present this key session at Global City in Abu Dhabi,” added the session chair. “I am sure drawing from some of the successful international examples from North and South America as well as Europe can be a source of inspiration for all of us”.
Local governments have a significant role to play in achieving sustainability, he added: “The governance level closest to citizens is critical when it comes to practical climate actions. If genuinely empowered and resourced, local governments have the potential to achieve substantial emission reductions in their areas and are therefore essential to ensure that global and ambitious targets of greenhouse gas emission reductions are being met”.
Global City, organized by Reed Exhibitions Middle East in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED), the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) and the Department of Municipal Affairs, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, is a unique knowledge-gathering, networking and business platform dedicated to mayors, urban planners, decision-makers and leaders.
It is the only forum of its kind for public and private leaders to exchange best practices and share sustainable urban strategies. The 2009 edition of Global City marks the very first time this international forum has been held in the region. Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate are platinum sponsors of the event.
Besides climate strategy, other discussions at Global City 2009 will centre around globalization of the world’s sustainable cities, culture and immigration, city branding, developing sustainable downtown areas, smart cities and public transport, among other issues.
Reed Exhibitions will also organize specialised workshops at Global City 2009 on the array of business opportunities made available as cities pursue their sustainability agenda. The workshops, conducted by Cisco, Siemens, EUROCITIES, Lord Cultural Services and EPAD (La Defense, Paris) among others will provide participants a platform for speed networking and information sharing.