Smart Dubai Takes Part in High-Level Political Forum at United Nations’ New York Headquarters

Press release
Published July 24th, 2018 - 11:59 GMT
Smart Dubai’s Project Manager and member of the Global Council on SDG11 Meera AlShaikh.
Smart Dubai’s Project Manager and member of the Global Council on SDG11 Meera AlShaikh.

Smart Dubai’s Project Manager and member of the Global Council on SDG11 Meera AlShaikh took part in the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, an annual meeting held at the UN’s headquarters in New York City which serves as the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, with the full and effective participation of all States Members of the United Nations and States Members of specialized agencies.

The Smart Dubai Project Manager began her participation in the HLPF with a speech at the official meeting titled “Review Of SDGs Implementation: SDG11” on July 11 to examine the progress made on implementing the 11th goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As per SDG11, the meeting sought to explore technologies and procedures to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” Panelists and participants explored key recommendations for accelerating the implementation of SDG11 and other SDGs, examining specific policy measures and tools to ensure that development in cities and human settlements are fully inclusive, and proposing ways to strengthen the capacity of local and regional governments to achieve SDG 11.

Chaired by Her Excellency Marie Chatardová, President of the UN Economic and Social Council, the discussion brought AlShaikh together with Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner for International Affairs at the New York City Mayor’s Office; Jean Todt, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety; and Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT.

Meera AlShaikh asserted that: “Cities are the cradles of human civilisation in which most human beings live, and where a large majority of natural and man-made resources are consumed. More than half the world’s population now lives in urban areas, which consume 75% of natural resources, produce 60-80% of greenhouse gas emissions, and generate 50% of all waste.”

“Hence, it is important for cities to identify their starting points, or current status, with respect to SDG11 goals and targets. The gap between the current status and the intended targets in SDG11 creates a massive innovation opportunity for cities and communities,” she explained.

“We, in the United Arab Emirates, have undertaken a well-concerted effort at the national and local city-level to implement SDGs. We have formulated national strategies for enhancing sustainability with short, medium and long-term targets,” she added, citing the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which seeks to increase the contribution of clean energy from 25% to 50%, and the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, which aims to increase the reuse of treated water to 95% by 2036.

“In Dubai, our achievements have been due to the very strong leadership support and empowerment to government entities, working towards the common vision of becoming the happiest and smartest city in the world,” AlShaikh said, concluding: “At Smart Dubai, we have embraced Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and data science to make everyday experiences much easier and seamless for the emirate’s residents and visitors.”

Furthermore, AlShaikh gave a presentation on Thursday, July 12, in a side event titled “Shaping Smarter And More Sustainable Cities: Striving for SDGs”. The presentation showcased plans and methods to build smarter and more sustainable cities and implement the SDGs, drawing on Dubai’s success in its comprehensive smart transformation. The plan covers six city dimensions: Economy, Living, Mobility, Governance, Environment and People.

AlShaikh showcased the potential of Smart Dubai’s ground-breaking initiatives, revealing that the Dubai Blockchain Strategy and AI Roadmap are in alignment with the country’s national strategy. She followed that: “The Dubai Blockchain Strategy plays a key role in powering the Dubai Paperless Strategy, which was launched early this year. By December 2021 the strategy aims to eliminate the use of paper in all government transactions – internal or external. We estimate once the Dubai Paperless Strategy is complete, we will be saving over 130,000 trees every year – that is 5 times the size of Central Park!”

On July 17, the Smart Dubai Project Manager was part of the UAE delegating presenting the UAE Voluntary National Review 2018 at a HLPF official meeting, where HE Abdulla Lootah, Director General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority and vice-chair of the National Committee on SDGs, showcased the UAE’s progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. The session highlighted the UAE’s role as a strong advocate for the formulation of Agenda 2030, noting that the UAE’s commitment to sustainable development is at the heart of the country’s vision for its future. He also underlined the UAE’s institutional arrangements for implementing the SDGs and where the UAE’s National Committee on SDGs was formed in 2017, chaired by the Minister of State for International Cooperation. The presentation then veered into other aspects of the UAE approach to implementing, reviewing and monitoring the SDGs, including stakeholder engagement and global partnerships.

AlShaikh concluded her participation on July 18 by taking part in a side event co-organized by the UAE, World Bank and IRENA that introduced the Global Councils on SDGs. This global initiative is a unique international interdisciplinary network of decision makers that was launched in February 2018 at the World Government Summit (WGS) in Dubai. Comprised of former heads of state, current and former ministers, C-suite executives and senior officials from international organisations – all serving two-year terms – the Councils are focused on finding innovative solutions for the implementation of the SDGs.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global objectives set by the United Nations in 2015 to catalyse sustainable development around the world. The goals are broad and interdependent, each boasting a distinct list of targets to achieve. Collectively referred to as the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs cover social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanisation, environment and social justice.

Background Information

Smart Dubai

"Smart Dubai is anchored in the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President & Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the happiest city on Earth. " 

Collaborating with private sector and government partners, Smart Dubai is the government office charged with facilitating Dubai’s citywide smart transformation, to empower, deliver and promote an efficient, seamless, safe and impactful city experience for residents and visitors. Smart Dubai is committed to a collaborative and agile approach to Dubai’s smart city transformation, empowering strategic partnerships with the public and private sector and academia to design and implement services and elevate citywide thought leadership, in line with its mission to make Dubai the happiest city on earth through technology innovation.

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