Barcelona first city to join Abu Dhabi’s World Sustainable Capitals initiative

Published December 20th, 2009 - 12:43 GMT

The capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, Barcelona, one of Europe’s best showcases of urban planning, has signed a letter of intent to be the first city to join the World Sustainable Capitals (WSC) initiative, launched by Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) and Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED).

To mark the occasion, a strong delegation of Barcelona City Council officials, led by Deputy Mayor Jordi William Carnes, visited the UAE capital today where they signed an agreement in the presence of H.E Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Deputy Director General, Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development

The World Sustainable Capitals (WSC) initiative, developed in partnership with World Economic Forum (WEF) was introduced jointly by the UPC and ADCED at Dalian, China in September. The WSC initiative aspires to group together a global alliance of sustainable cities and a network of leading experts, economists and industry representatives in the field of urban planning and sustainability. The network will identify strategies and policy recommendations that can guide cities to better resolve the challenges of urban planning and diversified economic growth.

“Today’s landmark agreement with Barcelona City Council is a testament of the global appeal the World Sustainable Capitals initiative has created, as Abu Dhabi aims to propagate the merits for the adoption of successful urban planning decisions that favour sustainable economic growth,” said H.E Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC).

A delegation from the UPC and the ADCED took part in the “Summer Davos” Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Dalian, China. The participation launched the regional strategic partnership between the UPC, ADCED and the WEF. 

In the context of this regional partnership, the UPC, the ADCED and the WEF will share expertise on issues linked to sustainable urban planning and economic recovery. The UPC, the ADCED and the WEF share a common interest in highlighting strategies that support sustainable economic growth.

H.E Walid Al Muqarrab Al Muhairi, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, said: “Sustainable development is a primary challenge of the twenty-first century. Both Barcelona city and Abu Dhabi are seeking to make ongoing and future efforts more sustainable to ensure the long term well-being and the overall social welfare of their citizens. We are pleased to have Barcelona, one of the most dynamic city in Europe to join the World Sustainable Capitals initiative and to share and develop a sustainable development framework with Abu Dhabi and other global cities around the world”.
 

H.E Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, emphasised on the importance of the World Sustainable Capitals initiative: “The WSC initiative is seeking to break down barriers among various disciplines dealing with the sustainable development. To deal with the new challenges of the urban development of global cities we need a multi-disciplinary team, involving specialist from different fields to build a truly transdisciplinary framework for sustainable development. With Barcelona being the first city to join us in this initiative we are confident that we will develop together solutions to those challenges”.

The collaboration with the WEF for the World Sustainable Capitals initiative will tie into Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 Urban Structure Framework Plan of the UPC and Economic Vision 2030 of the ADCED.

The visiting Barcelona City Council delegation comprised high-level dignitaries including Mr. Jordi Portabella, President of the Commission for Economic Development, Barcelona City Council Mr. Josep Manuel Basáñez, Senior Vice President, Barcelona Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The World Sustainable Capitals (WSC) initiative is a result-oriented project, focusing on concrete recommendations and measurable results. The UPC, the ADCED and the WEF share a common interest in highlighting strategies that support sustainable economic growth addressing the challenges of urban planning and economic diversified growth. Their collaboration highlights the need for a new and more holistic approach to urban planning and an opportunity for innovative and inclusive public participation in the planning process.


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