Forums focus on cities of the future, energy security

DUBAI — Delegates attending the World Economic Forum Summit on the Global Agenda, hosted by the Government of the UAE in Dubai from Sunday to Wednesday, joined the local community in public debates on urbanisation and energy security.

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Published: Mon 29 Nov 2010, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:07 AM

The Open Forums, newly added to the Summit this year and held at the American University in Dubai, on Sunday, debated two crucial issues: ‘Cities of the Future’ and ‘Energy Security and Economic Prosperity for the Region.’

Organised on the sidelines of the world’s largest brainstorming session, the events open for the public aim to bring the development dialogue to the public domain and allow the local community to interact with global thought leaders on wide ranging topics of pressing importance. Speakers at the first Open Forum on the “Cities of the Future” articulated how urbanisation can drive innovation and resource efficiency despite city-wards migration and massive consumption constraining infrastructure and aggravating climate change. The forum also held governments as primarily accountable for driving sustainability innovations for the future through education, legislation and economic diversification. “Sustainability is not all about money. If people are convinced sustainability can offer a better quality of life then they will accept it,” said Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, Secretary General of ICLEI-Local governments for Sustainability, Germany, contradicting the argument that sustainability needs a business case to succeed. “The UAE has successfully diversified its economy with 71 per cent of the national gross domestic product coming from non-oil sectors in 2009. Initiatives such as Masdar will help us build capacities in entrepreneurship, knowledge capital and innovations. The UAE is also developing a 1,400MW civil nuclear power project to meet future demand and it is certified as the ‘gold standard’ in responsible use of nuclear energy,” said Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, and Co-Chair of the Summit.

The Open Forums will resume on Dec. 1, the final day of the Summit with a discussion on “Water Security”, followed by a final session entitled “Education and Innovation”.

At the Summit, hosted by the UAE for the third year in a row, more than 700 global leaders from academia, business, government and society will engage in interactive workshops to set priorities to improve the state of the world and identify the latest trends, risks and innovative solutions to address the world’s challenges. The outcomes of the Summit will be integrated into the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011 in Davos-Klosters for further discussion and action.

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