ABU DHABI, H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, today attended the official opening ceremony of the 10th World Urban Forum, WUF10, in Abu Dhabi.

The forum, organised by the Department of Municipalities and Transport, DMT, and United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, bears special significance as it marks the first time that an Arab country is hosting the world's most notable conference on cities and human settlements.

Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the DMT, delivered the opening speech followed by special guest speakers including, President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, and Prime Minister of Fiji, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, bestowed his patronage on the WUF10, after Abu Dhabi was chosen to host the forum by UN-Habitat in 2018.

The royal seal of approval reaffirmed the importance of hosting the renowned event in Abu Dhabi, for the future of the Emirate, the UAE and its country's leadership.

Falah Al Ahbabi said: "It is a great honour to open this event today with H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. This event is important for our nation, as it coincides with this year's theme, '2020: Towards the next 50', involving UAE citizens and residents to shape life in the country for the next 50 years. It also comes ahead of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of 2021.

"The World Urban Forum has a strong link to the future growth of the UAE as it will lay the foundations for new collaborations with the voice of Arab urbanism being one of the sources of inspiration."

The opening ceremony of WUF10 featured comedian and TV star, Wonho Chung, showcasing Abu Dhabi's most iconic landmarks, alongside a series of cultural shows including, a live orchestra and traditional Emirati performance.

The forum's handover to Abu Dhabi was made by UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, and Falah Al Ahbabi, following the closing ceremony of its previous host city, Malaysia, in February 2018.

Maimunah Sharif said during her opening speech: "I thank Abu Dhabi for hosting this gathering - the first time that this prestigious event has been held in the Arab Region."

"As we embark on a Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, the world's cities, towns and communities will be at the heart of this work."

"I encourage all of you to commit to ambitious actions to implement the New Urban Agenda. Together, let's make sustainable urbanization a reality and ensure that no one and no place is left behind."

During the course of this week, WUF10 will welcome more than 20,000 international visitors representing more than 160 countries.

WUF10 presents an ideal opportunity for Abu Dhabi and the UAE to showcase its achievements and instrumental role in promoting and implementing sustainable urban development, as the region takes progressive steps towards being at the forefront of smart and sustainable cities in the world.

The UN-Habitat conference aims to raise awareness on sustainable urbanisation in cities and liveability across the globe. The forum provides a platform for decision-makers, businesses, urban experts and academics to share their expertise and create sustainable urban development and smart cities of the future.

The capital city of the UAE has demonstrated its ability to strategically expand its growth while demonstrating its resilience through diversification and strategic forward-planning, ensuring it continues to be a cosmopolitan, open and progressive Arab city.

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

As the host city, Abu Dhabi aims to make WUF10 the most attended and diverse World Urban Forum, since its establishment in 2001.

The DMT is working in close collaboration with UN-Habitat as well as the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to ensure the forum successfully unites everyone to actively drive sustainable urban development across the world.

Source: Emirates News Agency