The First Bahrain Sustainable Smart Cities Forum kicks off tomorrow

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Manama- 20 December 2016- Under the theme “Transforming Middle East Cities: Towards a Sustainable and Smart Future”, Bahrain will be hosting the First Sustainable Smart Cities Forum, from 21 to 22 December 2016, at 9.00 am, at Ramee Grand Hotel.

Held under the patronage of H.E. Eng. Essam Bin Abdulla Khalaf, Minister of Works, Municipalities Affairs & Urban Planning, the two-day event is organized by Talluq Design, and supported by the UN Environment, as well as the Centre for Environment and Development in the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), and endorsed by the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP).

Cities consume 75% of the world’s natural resources, 80% of the global energy supply and produce approximately 75% of the global carbon emissions. By 2040 it is expected that cities worldwide will generate about 75 per cent of global GDP. They will be home to around three quarters of the world's population, and will require for their growth more than 75 per cent of total natural resources consumed world wide - in the form of energy, food and material.

Therefore, the forum will be a platform for dynamic discussions between regional and international expert community of academics, decision makers, researchers, practitioners, real estate developers, investors and policy makers from the urban sphere, with the aim to explore the emerging trends and innovative solutions to green the cities in the region.

The debate will also focus on how to support ambitious and pioneer Arab cities that would transform their buildings, energy networks and transport systems into those of the future, demonstrating transition concepts and strategies to a low carbon economy. As Knowledge partner, the UN Environment will help provide a common platform for a collective action among building sector stakeholders, in order to develop tools and strategies for achieving greater acceptance and adoption of sustainable building policies and practices at national and regional levels.

The UN Environment is supporting cities in their transition to sustainability, through knowledge sharing, capacity building, technology transfer and peer to peer exchanges. It has many initiatives which are poised to assist cities in playing a major role in decoupling economic development from resource use and environmental impacts, while achieving a better balance among social, environmental and economic objectives.

For instance, the United Nations Environment’s Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative (UNEPSBCI) is a partnership composed of major public and private sector stakeholders in the building sector to promote sustainable building policies and practices worldwide. Moreover, the GI-REC is a UNEP-led initiative that promotes energy efficient buildings, efficient water use, sustainable waste management and other activities, while the Sustainable Social Housing Initiative (SUSHI), also developed by the United Nations Environment, tests and promotes the use of resource and energy efficient building solutions in social housing programs in developing countries.