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WGEO launches global platform for smart & sustainable cities in SeoulWith Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement, the Global Green Growth Institute

The World Green Economy Organization (WGEO) launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in October 2016 and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched the Smart & Sustainable Cities Platform, in Seoul on May 23, 2017. The platform was launched in with an objective to bring to focus how the city has progressed towards sustainability and become a leading example of green economy.

From left: Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuami of the UAE in Seoul, President Byung-soo Kim of KAIA, Board Member Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi of WGEO, Director-General Frank Rijsberman of GGGI and Executive Director Daeyoon Cho of KAIA

A press meeting was held at Seoul Plaza Hotel on that day attended by noted media representatives in Korea as well as reporters in a rare example, where the participants included the publishers of some time-honored media in Korea, including Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post, publisher of 2 Korean and 3 English media outlets established 32 years.

Supported by the Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the new platform was launched ahead of the Global Technology Fair in the presence of HE Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi, Board Member of the World Green Economy Organization (WGEO), Frank Rijsberman, Director-General, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and Dr. Daeyeon Cho, Executive Director of Smart City Board, KAIA. Ambassador Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi of the United Arab Emirates in Seoul was also present at the meeting that was commenced by a welcome note by Dr. Byung-soo Kim, President of KAIA.

“On behalf of HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of the World Green Economy Organization (WGEO), we are pleased to announce the launch of the Smart & Sustainable Cities Platform, which will serve as a global forum to share and exchange information about issues faced by developers of sustainable cities around the world in sustainable practices, relations and business models with anchored solutions. The new platform is a knowledge sharing podium that will provide access to cutting-edge tools and promote an integrated approach to sustainable urban planning and financing,” said HE Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi.

Board Member Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi of WGEO speaks to media representatives in Seoul

WGEO is founded on seven platforms - countries, smart & sustainable cities sector, private sector, academia sector, organizations and civil society, youth sector and financial sector.

Last February, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, launched the Private Sector platform, the first to be launched. Since then, the WGEO has launched platforms for Youth, Academia, and the Organizations & Civil Society. In the coming period, WGEO will also launch the platforms for the financial sectors and countries. These platforms reflect the enormous efforts in the UAE to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 and the Paris Climate Agreement to support global efforts to mitigate climate change and find innovative solutions to challenges related to sustainable energy, water and the environment in general.

“The world is urbanizing at a swift pace. Already more than half of the global population lives in cities, and this number is expected to increase rapidly. While many cities around the world already claim to be smart and sustainable, research indicates that they are still far from it. With global urban population projected to reach 5 billion by 2030, the need for sustainable cities is much stronger. As such, a lot of countries across the world are working towards an environmentally, socially and economically healthy and resilient habitat for existing and future populations through the creation of sustainable cities. In an endeavor to make cities self- resilient and sustainable WGEO’s new platform will support committed leaders and accelerate their actions through development of reliable tools,” added HE Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi.

From left: Board Member Waleed Salman of WGEO, Board Member Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi of WGEO, Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuami of the UAE, President Byung-soo Kim of KAIA, Director-General Frank Rijsberman of GGGI, Board Member Abdulrahim Sultan Alqassimi of WGEO and Executive Director Daeyoon Cho of KAIA

“Smart cities represent the next stage of urban evolution, containing the infrastructure and broadband connectivity to manage and deliver public services. Smart cities will sustainably meet the needs of present and future generations. As such, launching this new platform comes as part of WGEO’s efforts to offer interested parties and sustainability professionals with timely, vetted, and practical resources to identify and implement solutions to advance their goals and strengthen their sustainable communities,” said HE Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi.

The Smart & Sustainable Cities Platform will be a treasure-trove of robust collection of city profiles, case studies, model policies and communication tools that will provide engaged stakeholders with a set of resources to guide and catalyse action for a green economy. The Platform will also help design future scenarios and innovations for products, services and business models, for companies and sectors.

“The WGEO is working to drive the sustainable evolution, by promoting the advantages of low-carbon transport systems and making the most effective use of Big Data to design climate-change-resilient urban environments. In the increasingly-urbanized world we live in today, innovative technologies are essential in addressing our living requirements and basic needs while ensuring that the goods we produce have a low-carbon footprint,” said HE Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi.

Director-General Frank Rijsberman of GGGI, second from right, speaks to the meeting.

Based on its Smart & Sustainable Cities Platform, WGEO will facilitate projects to analyze, monitor and optimize urban systems to efficiently use energy and water, build social and economic cohesion and governance, and get people to become more involved in their smart cities

“Launching this new platform not only reflects our diligent efforts to support a green economy, but reinforces WGEO’s pioneering position in ensuring a sustainable future for all. If planned and managed well, the sustainable cities can drive development, growth and the creation of jobs, while also contributing to a healthier, better quality of life for residents and the long-term protection of the global environment. As such, our objective through this platform is to facilitate workshops, dialogue and design and bring to focus a broad range of tools, using collaborative methodologies with multi-stakeholder groups, always focused on delivering green solutions,” added HE Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi.

The new Smart & Sustainable Cities Platform is designed to provide information on the day-to-day management of sustainable cities, including improving access to clean water, energy and transport, as well as efforts to mitigate climate change. It will support cities in pursuing evidence-based approaches to urban planning, including geospatial data and establishing urban sustainability indicators. The platform also aims to help projects become successes, by always focusing on delivering green solutions.

“We are committed to developing a green economy, and the Smart & Sustainable Cities Platform will identify funding for long-term, high-impact projects for both people and the planet. This includes opportunities such as Public-Private Partnerships and developing future scenarios and innovative business models based on them to build solutions for sustainable cities. Solutions, such as waste management, intelligent infrastructure, carbon measurement and planning, green energy and ultra-efficient transport that can be shared and implemented around the world,” added HE Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi.

“Most importantly, the Smart & Sustainable Cities Platform recognizes that people are at the center of sustainable development and that our goal is for a world that is just, equitable and inclusive. We are committed to work together to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection and thereby benefit all. I trust that today’s launch will unite our efforts to find the best solutions to face the global challenges and to sustain our resources to preserve our planet,” concluded HE Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi.

At the end of the launch, representatives of the newly launched platform were invited on stage to demonstrate their commitment and pledge their support to carry the responsibility to achieve sustainability and to combat climate change.

Excerpts from the speech of Board Member Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi of WGEO:

On behalf of HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of the World Green Economy Organisation (WGEO), I welcome you all to our Press Conference and it is a pleasure to be with you all here today in Seoul. It has been a great start in Seoul, with WGEO delegation meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Korea and Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to discuss collaborations on the smart and sustainable initiatives promoted by the Korean government.

A crystal plaque of citation is presented to Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuami of the UAE in Seoul (center) by WGEO Board Members Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi (right) and Waleed Salman.

WGEO supports the vision of the wise leadership of the United Arab Emirates, represented by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The organisation was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during the third World Green Economy Summit (WGES) in Dubai on 5 October 2016, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The United Arab Emirates became the first member of the WGEO during the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) held in Morocco in November 2016, demonstrating our commitment to achieving a greener tomorrow.

Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of the World Green Economy Organisation’s Smart and Sustainable Cities Platform, which will serve as a global forum to share and exchange information about issues faced by developers of sustainable cities around the world in sustainable practices, relations and business models with anchored solutions.

The Organisation is founded on seven platforms for a range of sectors. These include the Countries, Sustainable Cities Sector, as well as the Private and Academic sectors, Organisations & Civil Society, and the Youth and Financial sectors. Last February, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, launched the Private Sector platform, the first to be launched, last April. Since then, the WGEO has launched platforms for Youth, Academia, and the Organisations & Civil Society. In the coming months we will also launch the platforms for the financial sectors and countries.

These platforms reflect the enormous efforts in the UAE to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 and the Paris Climate Agreement to support global efforts to mitigate climate change and find innovative solutions to challenges related to sustainable energy, water and the environment in general.

Smart cities represent the next stage of urban evolution, containing the infrastructure and broadband connectivity to manage and deliver public services. As society progresses, so also does its environment to make a better standard of living in turn. Smart cities will sustainably meet the needs of present and future generations.

The WGEO is working to drive this evolution, by promoting the advantages of low-carbon transport systems and making the most effective use of Big Data to design climate-change-resilient urban environments. In the increasingly-urbanized world we live in today, innovative technologies are essential in addressing our living requirements and basic needs while ensuring that the goods we produce have a low-carbon footprint.

Based on its Smart and Sustainable City Platform, WGEO will facilitate projects to analyse, monitor and optimize urban systems to efficiently use energy and water, build social and economic cohesion and governance, and get people to become more involved in their smart cities.

This platform will help these projects become successes, by always focusing on delivering green solutions. We are committed to developing a green economy, and the Smart and Sustainable Cities Platform will identify funding for long-term, high-impact projects for both people and the planet. This includes opportunities such as Public-Private Partnerships and developing future scenarios and innovative business models based on them to build solutions for sustainable cities. Solutions, such as waste management, intelligent infrastructure, carbon measurement and planning, green energy and ultra-efficient transport that can be shared and implemented around the world.

Most importantly, the Sustainable Cities Platform recognizes that people are at the center of sustainable development and that our goal is for a world that is just, equitable and inclusive. We are committed to work together to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection and thereby benefit all.

I trust that today’s launch will unite our efforts to find the best solutions to face the global challenges and to sustain our resources to preserve our planet.

Last but not least, on behalf of WGEO, I would like to thank the Korean government for their support in organizing this visit. A big thank-you to all of you too for attending this remarkable event today.

Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Alnuaimi of the UAE in Seoul:

As you may all know, the United Arab Emirates has actively participated in all high profile regional and international gatherings convened in different parts of the world in line of the efforts made by the international community towards sustainable development.

In addition, the UAE is one of the countries that took a leading role in the region and beyond in creating its own strategies, policies and plans in the area of environment protection and mitigation of carbon emission as part of its national vision agenda.

To follow words with action, the UAE has put in place technologies conducive to the above-mentioned efforts. The construction of Masdar City is only one example in this respect. The Masdar City is a carbon-free district situated in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

As we are in the Republic of Korea being the host country of two prestigious international organizations that work towards promoting green economy and mitigation of carbon emissions: the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), I should mention that the UAE has taken initiative in hosting the GGGI regional branch in Abu Dhabi and actively involved in the work of the GCF.

The World Green Economy Organization (WGEO) is part of the efforts made by the UAE in coping with global warming and climate change. It was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai at the Third World Green Economy Summit hosted in Dubai late last year.

The event we are attending today complements the efforts made by the UAE in line with the international community’s commitment in this respect. The development of smart cities is one of the areas that the UAE is also taking a leading role.

As we are gathering here today to launch the Smart City Platform, I take this opportunity to reiterate that the UAE has been and will remain firm to its international commitment for sustainability.

Lastly, I should say that the choice of Seoul for launching the Smart & Sustainable City Platform will no doubt play its role in enhancing and promoting the strategic partnership between the UAE and the friendly Republic of Korea formed in late 2009. The UAE is the only country in the region that maintains such a special relationship with the Republic of Korea.

Sean Kim  edt@koreapost.com

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