Manama: Under the patronage of Housing Minister, Bassim bin Yacub Al-Hamar, the Global Centre for Sustainable Development (GCSD) held, in cooperation with the Housing and Building National Research Centre in Egypt, an international webinar, themed “Visions for Future Sustainable Cities, and Standards of Smart Green Cities.”
The conference aims to highlight the role of the comprehensive sustainable development in developing cities, raise the awareness of the construction, urbanisation and city design sector workers on the need to spread sustainable development goals (SDGs) and ways to achieve them, as well as to promote the culture of smart and green cities among all social segments.
Addressing the webinar, the minister commended GCSD’s efforts to spread SDGs, and introduce modern concepts of building green and smart cities, noting that the conference provides an opportunity to discuss the challenges imposed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and ways to overcome them in order to continue efforts to achieve SDGs.
Al-Hamar asserted that the Housing Ministry is implementing a national housing programme under the umbrella of the Order of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and the policies of the government, led by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, aimed at achieving the sustainability of housing services.
He indicated that the new towns in Bahrain provide thousands of housing units for Bahraini families, noting that the construction of new towns is in accordance with the UN goals related to the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, particularly SDG 11 aiming to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”
He affirmed that Bahrain had recognised the need to provide all decent life requirements, as it has not focused on providing housing units only, but also provided housing projects with commercial and economic outlets, in addition to modern service facilities, parks, open green areas, play grounds, sports fields and kilometres of seafronts.
The minister also highlighted the government’s interest in the environmental aspects through using environment-friendly materials, planting trees along streets, main roads and at residential neighbourhoods, in addition to promoting the culture of practicing sports through the provision of walkways, and areas for cycling and other sports. He also said that the government provides health, educational and religious services in order to meet the needs of the residents of housing projects and their visitors.
Al-Hamar added that Bahrain’s interest in providing housing projects with the necessary facilities and infrastructure is in line with its keenness to ensure quality housing and decent life for Bahraini families, noting that the kingdom’s experience has earned it regional and international acclaim.
The virtual session discussed various sustainability concepts, and the best means to achieve quality housing. It also discussed the future shape of cities, and stressed the need to renew the concept of the city in order to cope with the modern requirements.
The minister lauded the participation of over 1000 experts and academics specialised in sustainable development and smart cities in the webinar.
Following the minister’s speech, a documentary film highlighting the idea behind the establishment of the “Salman Town” and the sustainability standards on which it was based, was screened.
The participants expressed their admiration for the documentary film, which also shed light on the government’s efforts to ensure the quality of housing through its interest in environmental aspects and keenness to provide all service facilities along with housing units. They praised the distinguished planning and design of the new towns in Bahrain.