News & Media
Dubai Land Department Launches “Center for Sustainable Cities”
23 November 2014

​In Collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program. First of its kind, Center to promote regional sustainable initiatives for resource efficient and low-carbon cities.

In the attendance of HE Dr. Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, HE Sultan Butti Bin Mejren Director General of Dubai Land Department and Director Generals from Dubai Government entities, Dubai Land Department (DLD) launched The Regional Center for Resource Efficient and Sustainable Cities for the Arab Region, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the leading international organization in the environmental field. The UNEP operates under its main mission to promote environmental sustainability, while advocating for the efficient use of natural resources, and contributing to sustainable development.

The center was launched following a Memorandum of Understanding signed between DLD and UNEP, and will serve as a regional hub for promoting, supporting and enabling the efficient use of resources in cities in the Middle East and North Africa. The "Center for Sustainable Cities" will be located at the 'The Perfect City' – the first specialized sustainable city in the world. The center will be established in accordance with Dubai and UAE laws and regulations in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water and UNEP – as a regional hub of UNEP relevant initiatives.

DLD and UNEP have agreed to a long-term collaboration through the establishment of such resource facility that aims to build local, national and regional capacity for resource efficient policies and to develop and deliver relevant tools, approaches and support for resource efficient, low-carbon and sustainable cities in the Arab region.

His Excellency the Minister of Environment and Water stated that the United Arab Emirates have made important strides towards achieving the goals of sustainable development through the adoption of a set of tasks and strategies, the first and foremost strategy is the "Emirates Green Development", based on it the UAE adopted the green economy approach. Pointing out that the six main aspects of this approach covering various aspects of economic, social and environmental life represents one of the most important tools of the UAE, which seeks to promote sustainable development efforts and to maintain the gains made in the past years, adding that sustainable cities represent one of the main objectives in the UAE's strategy for green development.

HE added that the establishment of the center will enhance the leadership role of the UAE in the field of sustainable cities, praising the efforts made by DLD in partnership with UNEP for the establishment of this center.

"The UAE, which has succeeded in adopting and implementing many options and solutions designed to achieve sustainable development, such as sustainable building standards and sustainable transport, clean energy and promote energy efficiency, started the work for the UAE 2021 vision, to move to the concept of smart cities based on innovation and employing the latest technologies values in resource management, conservation and sustainable production and consumption patterns to maintain our way of life and strength it" HE added.

"At DLD we are paying utmost importance to the issues relating to environmental protection and conservation, as we are aware of the vital role UNEP plays, especially through those initiatives related to the promotion of sustainable consumption and production and the efficient use of resources. We are fully confident that the adoption of policies and tools for sustainable buildings will help us improve the usage of energy and allow for the efficient use of resources, particularly as we work on developing and implementing green buildings and sustainable cities initiatives," said Majida Ali Rashed, Assistant Director-General and Head of Real Estate Investment Management and the promotion center the investment arm of DLD.

The purpose of this MOU is to provide a framework of cooperation and partnerships, and to facilitate collaboration between the Parties to further their shared goals and objectives in regard to the promotion of sustainable consumption and production patterns and resource efficient cities, including relevant policies, practices and tools in key sectors.

"UNEP is very pleased to collaborate with Dubai Land and the Ministry of Environment and Water in this great and ambitious endeavor, for further promoting resource efficiency and environmental sustainability in Dubai, the UAE and the Arab Region," said Mr. Arab Hoballah, Chief of Sustainable Consumption and Production in UNEP.  "Hub for lifestyles, education, culture, innovation and investments; Cities are emerging as political entities, actors and markets. Increasingly, it is getting clearer that there could be no sustainable development if not carried out at a city level. Driving sustainability requires adequate knowledge, policies, tools and actions for the necessary transformative change, which will run necessarily through Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Consumption and Production at city level,"

"This is precisely what the "Center for Resource Efficient and Sustainable Cities for the Arab Region" is aiming at, providing appropriate knowledge and capacity to enable city managers and stakeholders to play an active role in ensuring development of the cities and supporting sustainable urban lifestyles while decoupling growth from environmental impacts and increasing use of resources," Hoballah concluded.

The center aims to create a long-term collaboration leading to,  through the  establishment of such a resource facility,  to strengthening local, national and regional capacity for SCP and resource efficient policies, and to develop and deliver tools, approaches and support for sustainable cities in the Arab region.

As part of DLD responsibility, and its policy on local sustainable development in the United Arab Emirates, they will develop, promote and implement all the functions of the areas of cooperation, in close partnership with the United Nations Environment Program.

The center will develop the badly needed knowledge base to better understand the flows of resources and their use, in support to well informed decision making process, to provide policy advice and support in developing and delivering capacity building to enable relevant stakeholders – in particular authorities at local and city levels, as well as national and regional levels, including civil society and private sector actors – to promote, adopt and implement relevant resource efficient and sustainable development policies and practices.

Accordingly, the center will survey and assess, together with strategic regional partners, related challenges, needs and gaps and well as opportunities for SCP and resource efficiency at city level, define relevant and adequate policies, elaborate strategies, identify technologies and best practices in the region that have contributed to reducing the environmental impact of cities and supported efficient use of resources; specifically in reducing GHG emissions, improving energy and resource efficiency, hence contributing to potential climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The center will also identify, initiate, catalyze needed multi-stakeholder partnerships, necessary for effective delivery towards a transformative change; the center will act as platform and facilitator for  regional cooperation, for the exchange of best practices and lessons learned, as well as a means of transfer of related knowledge and practices, through awareness raising and training for policy makers at national, local and city and levels, using in particular relevant material, policies and tools, developed by UNEP for their implementation. Together with UNEP and other relevant and interested partners, international organizations, private sector, research and civil c=society in general as well as other public authorities, the center will organize awareness raising and capacity building sessions addressing SCP, resource efficiency and low-carbon  related issues in the region.

Majida concluded: "The new center will play a pioneering role in creating awareness by organizing events to raise awareness, cultivate interest and support around the resource efficient city agenda, and aims to attract new partners to both UNEP GI-REC (Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities)  and SBCI (Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative) in the Arab region. This can be achieved through enhancing regional cooperation and capacity to share experience in establishing and implementing resource efficient policies in sectors such as buildings, transport, land-use, food and water."

The center will help in creating a network for potentially interested parties to set policies in the region. In order to streamline and facilitate the implementation of these objectives, Dubai will organize round-table meetings to address the efficient use of resources. These events will serve as forums for the exchange of experiences, as well as to identify existing capacity and priority issues related to cities and the efficient use of resources.

"The region will be facing increasing challenges in relation to environment and resource use, in particular resulting from its population growth, economic growth, increasing urbanization and unsustainable consumption and production patterns. But many opportunities do exist and more could be defined through improved knowledge, capacity and political leadership; a coalition of willing partners, driven by the search for security, well-being and sustainability of their communities and countries, can join their efforts for putting the local and regional development on the sustainability path, with major achievements at Dubai 2020, and after, since sustainability is a process that needs continuous attention and serious commitments. This Center can help in catalyzing and facilitating and delivering needed actions. Join us in this very ambitious but attainable task" concluded Arab Hoballah.