Emirates News Agency – Expo 2020 Dubai Urban and Rural Development Week explores resilient and sustainable habitats

DUBAI, October 30, 2021 (WAM) – As global population growth continues to challenge existing cities and communities around the world, Expo 2020 Dubai brings together leaders, experts and citizens to explore how we need to transform the how we move, build, consume and live in the habitats of the future.

By 2050, more than 70 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, with an estimated three billion people living in informal settlements. Urban and Rural Development Week, which will run from October 31 to November 6 and held in association with Expo 2020 Dubai’s infrastructure digitization partner Siemens, UN-Habitat and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), will explore our communities as cornerstones of prosperity and how we can make our future habitats sustainable.

By examining how cities are built and who they serve, she will shed light on District 2020 – the physical legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai and the model for a people-centered smart city of the future. Rural communities will also be nurtured, with an emphasis on harnessing local knowledge and innovation and ensuring access to inclusive infrastructure and services – from transport and housing to rural areas. ‘access to clean energy and green public spaces – to ensure that no one is left behind.

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Whether in cities or rural areas, in formal or informal settlements, access to safe and affordable living conditions and services is a fundamental right, and an integral part of equal opportunities for people around the world to progress and thrive.

“The demand from cities and communities to provide uninterrupted access to resources is increasing, and this challenge can only be met through collaboration and the exchange of ideas. We are proud to work alongside more than 200 countries and stakeholders, each with a different perspective, to explore new approaches to resilient and inclusive habitats that serve their communities and exist in harmony with the natural environment, and to foster dialogue for progress in this critical area. ”

Helmut von Struve, CEO of Siemens Middle East, said: “In its first month Expo 2020 Dubai has already accomplished its mission of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and we are proud to participate until the next thematic week which will focus on urban and rural development. Our partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai has created a blueprint for future smart cities, and we look forward to discussing how our experience here can deliver safer, more efficient and more comfortable environments around the world.

World Cities Day at Expo 2020, organized in partnership with the Dubai Executive Council and UN-Habitat, will kick off Urban and Rural Development Week on October 31. The event will focus on urban resilience, particularly in the context of climate change, and explore sustainable architecture and smart city development, telling about Dubai’s own success stories.

Discussions will be led by Saeed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA), official sustainable energy partner of Expo 2020 Dubai; Wesam Lootah, CEO of the government establishment Smart Dubai; Dr Shipra Narang Suri, Chief, Urban Practices Branch, UN-Habitat; David Hopping, CEO, Smart Infrastructure Solutions & Services, Siemens; and Ahmed and Rashid bin Shabib, Emirati town planners renowned for their perspectives on contemporary urban spaces. As part of the Inclusive Cities event on 3 November, UN-Habitat will also present a roadmap for last mile delivery to slums and informal settlements, based on the knowledge and learning accumulated through its participatory programs of improvement of slums.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, said: “We must challenge ourselves with the ambition of the last mile initiative to tackle the slums. There are 61 countries where one in three city dwellers lives in slums. . UN-Habitat is committed to promoting sustainable, prosperous, healthy, safe and resilient cities and better living standards for all, especially the most vulnerable. ”

At a time when most cities are designed by men, the Women’s World Majlis, organized in collaboration with Slovenia on November 1, will welcome speakers including Ladeja Godina Košir, circular economy expert, founder and executive director of Circular Change. , and Claudia López, Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, to explore how women can and should be at the heart of the design, construction and presentation of sustainable and resilient habitats.

On the same day, a thematic business forum at the Dubai Exhibition Center, Expo 2020 Dubai, will highlight new technologies, advancements and future business opportunities in the urban and rural development sector, encouraging governments, the private sector and civil society to share their knowledge and collaborate.

Harnessing the knowledge of indigenous communities and how we marry this know-how with new technologies to influence the design of regenerative and biodiverse global systems is under discussion on November 2. A crucial issue at the COP 26 summit, the session on local nature-based solutions and livelihoods, co-hosted with AKDN and the Zoological Society of London, will feature grandmother Mona Polacca, a Hopi / Havasupai / Tewa elder and president of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, Guardians of the Atrato River and Ricard Armengol, CEO of Provital.

Meanwhile, two key World Majlis events will offer different perspectives on smart and sustainable cities. Smarter than Smart Cities on November 3 will discuss low-tech ways to improve the holistic well-being of citizens, with speakers including Wesam Lootah, alongside Professor Matthias Finger, Head of Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems, and Sanjive Khosla, Senior Vice President, Unit Transition, Expo 2020 Dubai.

Natural Cities on November 4 will examine nature in urban spaces to help mitigate the impact of growing cities, with speakers including Dawoud Al Hajri, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Municipality; Wong Mun Summ, Founding Director of WOHA and Architect of the Singapore Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai; Asif Khan, who designed the iconic entrance gates for Expo 2020; and Jorge Perez Jaramillo, architect, town planner and former director of planning, Medellín, Colombia.

In addition to the 25+ events taking place during the week, Expo 2020 Dubai offers visitors the ability to explore at their own pace, with specially curated self-guided tours available through the Expo 2020 app.

Urban and Rural Development Week is the third of 10 thematic weeks taking place throughout Expo 2020 Dubai as part of the People and the Planet program, in an exchange of inspiring new perspectives that address the greats challenges and opportunities of our time, including climate, connectivity, the future of human health and more.

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