Majestic Grand Paris Project Joins Abu Dhabi’s World Sustainable Capitals initiative

Published July 4th, 2010 - 01:44 GMT

Grand Paris (Greater Paris), the imposing urban renewal project aimed to improve the transport links and housing stock of the French Capital and its suburbs, has joined Abu Dhabi's milestone World Sustainable Capitals (WSC) initiative launched by Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), the agency responsible for the future of Abu Dhabi's urban environment and Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED), the organization responsible to develop and support implementation of strategy and policy recommendations in partnership with other government agencies and the private sector aiming to promote sustainable and diversified economic growth.

Conceived by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Grand Paris masterplan was first announced on September 17, 2007 during the inauguration of "La Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine", as President Sarkozy declared his intent to create a new comprehensive development project for Greater Paris. Grand Paris' decision to join the WSC initiative was predominantly guided by UPC's sustained discussions with key project authorities.

The World Sustainable Capitals (WSC) initiative, which was developed in partnership with World Economic Forum (WEF), was introduced jointly by the UPC and ADCED at Dalian, China in September 2009, post which Barcelona became the first city to join the WSC initiative. A delegation from the UPC and ADCED led by H.E Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Deputy Director General of 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.

The letter of intent was signed by H.E Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Deputy Director General of the ADCED and Christian Blanc, Minister in charge of the development of the Capital.

"The Grand Paris project in its development objectives is relatively similar to the Vision 2030 urban development objectives that have been identified for UAE's Capital. Paris, which has been a global icon for its remarkable historical, political, architectural and artistic influence has provided a major impetus to the global relevance of adopting the World Sustainable Capitals initiative," said H.E Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council.

Commenting on the agreement, H.E Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani who assumed a significant role in leading Grand Paris to join the initiative said, "Sustainable development is a primary challenge of the twenty-first century. Both Grand Paris 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".

"It is indeed a matter of pride to have Grand Paris join the WSC initiative to share and develop a sustainable development framework with Abu Dhabi and other global cities around the world", added Al Raqbani.

Paris is continuing to build upon its numerous strengths and is undertaking a new phase in its development by opening up the city to its surrounding region. Having identified project areas where the urban planning dynamics would be most conducive, the 'Grand Paris' Project aspires to make the Paris region a dynamic, attractive, influential "World City", driving the country's growth and securing France a leading role in the innovation and knowledge economy.

"The Greater Paris project teams have begun to identify areas in the Paris metropolitan area where the urban planning dynamics would be most conducive. Eight project areas have already been selected to act as the framework for the project," said Mr. Christian Blanc.

"In that perspective, we are pleased to join the WSC Initiative lead by Abu Dhabi as we are convinced that sharing experience and research will be for the benefit of both Capitals. The urban development challenges of the Grand Paris project present a lot of similarities while addressing distinctive regional requirements and constraints," added Blanc.

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.

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.

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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