The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) recently participated in the 7th World Urban Forum (WUF), which took place April 5-11 in Medellín, Colombia. WUF is considered the largest event on Sustainable Urban Development in the world and is organised bi-annually by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, also known as UN-Habitat.
Attended by around 13,000 international delegates representing 160 countries, this year’s theme focused on Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life and highlighted the importance of sustainable and equitable urban development in cities.
Dr. Mohammed Yousef Al Madfaei, Executive Director of the Integrated Environment Policy & Planning Sector at EAD, spoke at a special session organised on the Arab region. He shared the United Arab Emirate’s experience in working towards sustainable development and highlighted the Abu Dhabi Environment Vision 2030, which focuses on the Emirate’s efforts to preserve its natural heritage and achieve its economic objectives with minimal impact on the environment. He also highlighted the Emirate’s efforts to reduce the demand for groundwater and desalinated water and promote recycled water.
“In Abu Dhabi, EAD along with its partners, are aiming for a 20% reduction in the use of groundwater by 2018. We also aim to reduce domestic water consumption to less than 340 liters per capita per day. With regards to the forestry, public realm and amenities sectors, Abu Dhabi is working to ensure that irrigation network losses are minimal. We have already begun planting native plants that demand less water and our target is to achieve a 16 % reduction in water use by 2018,” Dr. Al Madfaei said.
Dr. Al Madfaei also met with Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, to explore possible cooperation on responses to the challenges of urbanisation affecting the future of cities, in light of the rapid development that Abu Dhabi if facing.
During the forum, EAD, through its Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), showcased the Ecocitizen World Map Project, led by Ecocity Builders, a non-profit organisation dedicated to reshaping cities for the long-term health of the humans and natural systems. The Ecocitizen World Map is a global initiative that aims at connecting neighborhoods with online crowd-mapping tools designed to explore, understand, and measure holistic urban health from a citizen’s perspective. The initiative is one of ten projects that have been seed-funded by AGEDI, as part of the commitments specified in the Eye on Earth Summit Declaration that was issued in 2011.
Abu Dhabi’s participation in such a respected forum has proved to be a stepping stone towards achieving its mid-term goals of a sustainable future.
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