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Chinese Delegation to Study Abu Dhabi Sustainability Programme
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Chinese Delegation to Study Abu Dhabi Sustainability Programme

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A delegation of Chinese experts is to visit Abu Dhabi on a two day fact finding mission to study Estidama, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s internationally recognised sustainability programme.

The visiting party represents the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation, which recognises innovation in improving social, economic and environmental sustainability in cities and regions. The UPC participated in the prestigious Awards in 2014 and was the only contestant from the MENA region to be shortlisted.   

The visit is an opportunity for the delegation to learn about the UPC’s role as a sustainability leader in the Middle East. The delegation will be given a detailed insight into the workings of the UPC’s Estidama Pearl Rating System (PRS), Abu Dhabi’s mandatory sustainability rating system, which guides development projects through design, construction and operation, along with a tour of Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s low-carbon, sustainable development to see the PRS in action.

“The fact that Estidama was shortlisted for such a prestigious award and is now the basis of a visit by the Guangzhou delegation is further demonstration that it is being recognised beyond this region as a sustainability programme that features a unique combination of global and local best practice,” said Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director, Urban Development and Estidama Sector, UPC.

“We’re extremely proud to be hosting the delegation and look forward to showcasing our sustainability practices. We are confident that they will leave with a strong understanding of the principles and application of Estidama and the PRS.

He added: “It is a testament to the rapid success of the PRS that less than five years after its launch, there is such demand for information and advice from world-renowned international bodies.”

Estidama is at the forefront of sustainable development, combining the latest in sustainability rating systems with local requirements to ensure the system responds to the arid climate of the region.  Furthermore, it is the only programme, globally, that has a cultural pillar, which is given equal importance to its environmental, economic and social pillars. The programme targets an energy use reduction of 31%, a water use saving of 37%, and 65% construction waste diverted from landfill.

In addition to an in-depth briefing on Estidama, the visiting delegation will be given a comprehensive overview of the Masdar City Master Plan, in one of the world’s most sustainable, low-carbon urban developments. They will be taken on a walking tour of the site to visit some of the cutting-edge buildings that have already received an Estidama Pearl Rating, which perform 40% more efficiently than benchmark buildings in Abu Dhabi for predicted water and energy consumption, along with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the Personal Rapid Transit driverless transportation system, the GE ‘Ecomagination Centre’, and the Lockheed Martin’s Center for Innovation and Security Solutions.

“Masdar City is pioneering a ‘greenprint’ for existing and future cities to sustainably accommodate rapid urbanisation, while dramatically reducing energy, water and waste, as well as creating an innovation eco-system that is powered by knowledge-driven jobs. We are showcasing a concept here: sustainable development makes economic sense, while delivering environmental and social benefits,” reflected Anthony Mallows, Masdar City Director.

“And most importantly, these lessons are exportable, so we welcome international collaboration. We are delighted to host the Guangzhou delegation and share the results of Estidama’s practical application,” he added.

The visit to Masdar City highlights the UPC’s strong working relationship with Masdar and the importance of partnering together to showcase Abu Dhabi’s sustainability efforts to international audiences. The UPC’s Urban Development and Estidama Sector have, for many years, worked collaboratively on the concept and detailed approvals for Masdar City’s strategically phased master plan. The UPC was heavily involved in the development of the IRENA Global Headquarters, which was officially opened earlier this year and is the first office building to have been awarded a 4 Pearl Rating.

The Guangzhou Award was inaugurated in 2012 and is co-sponsored by the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the World Association of Major Metropolises (Metropolis), and the City of Guangzhou in the People’s Republic of China. Other cities shortlisted for the 2014 Awards included Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Antioquia in South America, Melbourne and Christchurch in Oceania, Jakarta, Hangzhou and Gwangju in Asia, Hamburg, Bristol and Linkoping in Europe, Boston in North America, and Eskisehir in the broader Middle East.











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