Al Ain: Today the United Arab Emirates joined the Global Observance of the United Nations’ World Cities Day. This is an annual event that concludes ‘Urban October’ – a month-long program of activities. Urban October this year promoted ambitious climate action in cities, with the World Cities Day taking the theme of “Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience”.
This Global Observance was conducted in a hybrid format that linked live to the World Cities Day celebrations at the Dubai Expo. It brought together high-level representatives from national and local governments, UN agencies, development partners, the private sector, civil society organizations, and academic institutions, who exchanged innovative ideas, best practices, and solutions for building urban climate resilience.
Dr. Naeema Al Hosani, Associate Professor and Head of UAEU’s Department of Geography and Urban Sustainability explained, “World Cities Day inspires action towards realizing sustainable urbanism, and promotes international cooperation on approaches to overcoming the challenges of rapid urban expansion. Moreover, it emphasizes the role of innovation, technology, and investment in helping to address problems of housing and quality of life as relate to the environment. These are essential premises as sustainable urbanism aims to ensure that all people have access to decent living, sustainable infrastructure, and the appropriate range of services needed for security, health, and social inclusion”.
She added that, “ a central challenge to it, is that of climate change. Cities around the world are affected by floods, droughts, rising sea-levels, heat waves, landslides, and storms. At least one million people are at risk of coastal flooding. Addressing the direct and indirect impact of climate change is an urgent matter”.
Dr Naeema explained that “UAEU produces research of great value to protect the ecosystems of the UAE and the region and reduce the impact of climate change. She added that, the World Cities Day brings students and faculty together in activities that focus on sustainability in the context of urban planning, geoinformatics and environmental science. In our department we develop GIS applications that provide innovative solutions for decision-makers involved with the expansion of cities and problems such as overcrowding and environmental impact. GIS applications are vital to the creation of smart cities. Smart cities provide a positive urban environment with reduced impact on natural ecosystems and climate, and a quality of life and work that promotes social inclusion and wellbeing”.