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Announcing the 'Dubai Intl. Conference on Sustainable Construction' Dubai

Sunday 8th of June 2008

Under the Patronage of
H.E. Dr. Mohamed Saeed Al Kindi
Minister of Environment and Water

In collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Zayed International Prize for the Environment organizes an international conference every two years in tandem with the Award Ceremony of each cycle. This is meant to gather reputable scientists and researchers from around the world to exchange ideas and discuss pressing environmental issues that have serious impact on the global environment and the future of life on earth, especially issues of the region.

The 4th cycle of Zayed Prize will close by organizing the “Dubai International Conference on Sustainable Construction” during the period of 21-22 April 2008 in tandem with the 4th Award Ceremony which will be held on Wednesday 22 April 2008. The Zayed Prize is planning to gather planners, policy makers, designers, Engineers and Contractors from the UAE and all Gulf countries, in addition to international experts, in order to highlight the most advanced policies, technology and methods of sustainable construction and to facilitate the understanding and implementation of the concept of “Green Buildings” at the local, regional and global levels.

The themes of the conference will include the following:

  • The Directive of H.H. the Ruler of Dubai, tasking contractors and developers to comply with “green building” standards in the Emirate of Dubai starting the beginning of 2008.
  • The use of Recyclable construction and operating material
  • Water and Energy conservation
  • Readiness for Emergencies and Crisis management
  • Natural lighting and good ventilation
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Policies of “Green Buildings” and Sustainable Urban Development.
  • Analysis of current urbanization and future prospects

An International Exhibition on new “Sustainable Construction” and “Green Buildings” Technology will run in tandem with the conference.

As H.E. the Minister of Environment and Water made clear, the UAE is well aware of the environmental challenges it faces; hence, water and energy conservation will be a key issue in years to come. H.E. Dr. Al Kindi said, “In order to cope with the fast pace of development in the UAE, a federal strategy had been introduced in which government institutions are urged to adopt practical solutions to achieve sustainable development”.

As mentioned by H.E. the Minister of Environment and Water in his speech, the intensive urban development that has been going on in the UAE played a major role in the socio-economic development of the country. However, it also has its impact on the environment and natural resources, especially water and energy. In fact economic development can not continue without the conservation of ecosystems and natural resources. H.E. summarized the official role of the state in the following:

  • To issue laws and regulations that, require the standards of “Green Buildings” and “Sustainable Construction”.
  • Facilitation of the production and importation of needed inputs for Sustainable Construction.
  • To encourage the implementation of Green Buildings standards via socio-economic incentives.
  • To raise awareness in schools, playgrounds, parks and shopping centers regarding the importance of Green Buildings standards for healthy living.
  • To encourage the mass media to play a major role in raising awareness.

According to Dr. Mohamed A. Bin Fahad, Chairman of the Zayed Prize Higher Committee, the adoption of the standards of “Green Buildings” and “Sustainable Construction” is a corner stone of Sustainable Development.

He further stated that the Arab World in general and the Gulf Area in particular, need to adopt the standards of “Green Buildings” and “Sustainable Construction” more than the developed world because of the harsh environment and limited natural resources. This is facilitated by the availability of unlimited solar radiation that can be harvested for natural lighting of buildings and as a source of heat and power generation. This is not a dream but it is practically implemented in countries where the sun is not always shining such as Germany where many buildings were designed to save 50% of the power using natural sun light. This cuts down the electricity bills and prevents many psychological problems caused by artificial lights, in addition to reducing the emissions of “green house gases” causing “Global Warming“.

The Zayed International Prize for the Environment has been trying to shed light on this important issue since its inauguration in 1999. The Zayed Prize organized a training seminar on “Indoor Air Quality” in November 2000 when 22 participants from the public and private sectors were trained. Another training seminar was organized in January 2001 on the issue of “Environmental Impact Assessment” when 16 participants from the public and private sectors were trained, with some focus on urban development.

The directive of H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that all buildings in Dubai would have to be constructed according to "green building standards" from January 2008, comes as a major boost to the international efforts to curb climate change and promote sustainable development. This makes Dubai one of the first in the world, and the only city in the Middle East region, to go for the 'green building’ standards.

According to the American Green Buildings Council, "green buildings" can save, up to 70% of electricity, up to 60% of water, and around 36 per cent of energy consumed by the traditional buildings. This decision, together with other initiatives especially in Abu Dhabi, will enable the United Arab Emirates to take the lead in global warming issues of the region. Actually, Green Buildings can minimize the environmental impact of the fast urban development, reduce the cost of operation and maintenance and provide healthier living and work environment. This is in addition to the better preparedness for emergencies and crises management.
The basic requirements are the use of recyclable materials in construction and maintenance, the adoption of natural lighting and good ventilation and the minimization of paints and materials containing poisonous chemicals. This will all add to a healthy, secure and comfortable sustainable living.

The directive of H.H. the Ruler of Dubai stems from his great concern about the present day environmental challenges. It is also included in the “Dubai Strategic Plan of 2007-2015” which he launched including directives to adopt the highest standards of quality and safety in all aspects to ensure sustainable living. The Zayed International Prize for the Environment will continue to promote this concept of “Green Buildings” and “Sustainable Construction”. It will organize workshops for planners, building designers and contractors on this important issue and the importance of adopting the best possible standards in light of the fast pace of urban development. It will also organize public lectures and seminars in schools, universities and public places to simplify the concept, stress on the importance of water and energy conservation and highlight the economic and health benefits. The efforts will continue until we see all buildings turn green.

The Zayed International Prize for the Environment would like to express its gratitude to H.E. Dr. Mohamed Saeed Al Kindi, Minister of Environment and Water for his patronage and personal support of all Zayed Prize initiatives and activities. Thanks to the United Nations Environment Program for being our main international partner all through. Thanks to the journalists and photographers who were always present to cover the Zayed Prize activities in the mass media.

Let us work together for a better environment for all.

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