UAE and France (Vivapolis) team up to share and foster sustainable solutions for cities (April 27, 2015)

UAE and France (Vivapolis) team up to share and foster sustainable solutions for cities : an increased partnership to fight climate change

From 13th to 16th of April, France has hosted the third session of the Global Sustainable Cities Network (GSCN), a Clean Energy Ministerial Initiative with the participation of the UAE, Finland, Sweden and France. The Seminar was organized with the support of the UAE Secretariat of GSCN of MASDAR and DECC-MOFA (Directorate of Energy and Climate Change at UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE). It took place under the chairmanship of Michele Pappalardo, VIVAPOLIS co-coordinator and the support of the MAEDI, MEDDE, ADEME and the French Senate.

Concerning France participated representatives from cities such as Nantes, Le Havre, Lyon, Mulhouse, Montpellier, Nice, and Paris area, from the industry and from the concerned ministries, ADEME as well as Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees,

Almost 50 Representatives from the UAE federal and local governments, municipalities, energy entities and regulators helped bring UAE interests to the table with their European counterparts.

The participants have in particular shared experiences and knowhow and exchanged on sustainable solutions for cities, on demand side management of electricity, energy efficiency waste to energy and building retrofitting at policy level as well as on project and technical level. They have visited several utilities sites, sustainable city quarters as well as high tech installations of the industry, in Nantes, Paris region and Montpellier.

The delegations had also the opportunity to meet at French Senate with Senator Ronan Dantec and UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments), to discuss the key role of cities in the climate change initiatives. Additionally, they had an interesting encounter with Mrs Anne Marie Idrac, Special representative of the French minister of Foreign Affairs for economic relations with the UAE, on sustainable cities policy and to exchange on the next EcoCities venue in Abu Dhabi in October.

The topics of the workshop, tightly linked to climate change mitigation issues, were highly relevant to France energy transition policy whose framework, a comprehensive and ambitious law, is presently in process of adoption by the French Parliament.

They were as well relevant to the UAE’s current policies and future plans - energy efficiency, waste management and waste to energy; these issues are focus area in the UAE Green Growth Strategy as well as the federal vision 2021 where a diversion of 75% of waste from landfill is targeted. Energy efficiency through green buildings, smart technology and ’greener’ behaviors are pillars in multiple Emirate’s objectives such as Dubai’s demand intensity reduction goal of 30% by 2030 and Abu Dhabi’s Estidama programme
On waste management Mr. Abdulrahim Al Hammadi - Assistant Undersecretary of Environment confirmed that “The UAE ministry of Environment is grateful to the French Government and Companies for the wealth of this exchange – the French experience is highly relevant to the Waste management plans of the UAE, including waste to energy”

M. Ali Al Shaffar, Deputy Director of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “We are pleased to see almost 50 participants from across the emirates participate and engage in the discussion with France on issues and opportunities, success stories and lessons learned – at MOFA we are always looking for opportunities to share experience and bring best practices to the country and this trip is one of them”

In conclusion of this seminar, the setup of a possible platform of exchange of experiences for cities of both countries in all areas regarding sustainability has been discussed and will be considered as a follow up, possibly in link with the platform project of EcoCities.

For France, the Emirati delegation is an illustration of the increasing links and cooperation between France and the UAE in working together to build up the Agenda of Solutions, in the perspective of COP21, the next historical climate negotiations in Paris as well as the broader growing cooperation and ties between the two countries. As stated by Mrs. Anne Maris Idrac “With almost 50 participants, this seminar is a great success for the France- UAE cooperation in the field of sustainability.”

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