Representatives of some 161 member cities, capitals and organisations from 54 countries are attending the 10th Conference of the Organisation of Islamic Cities and Capitals, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), to review regional trends on city planning, urban development, and the management of urbanisation.
In his opening speech, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdam Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said, "We are proud to host this conference that aims at unifying the effort of the Islamic nation in order to accomplish the prime objectives of the Organisation of the Islamic Capitals and Cities (OICC), whose progress and prosperity you have undertaken as a responsibility." He added that under the leadership of the President, the UAE is keen to continue working to enhance the relationship among the Islamic cities for the welfare and well being of the people.
Sheikh Hamdam Bin Rashid Al Maktoum highlighted UN-HABITAT’s Dubai International Award for Best Practices to improve the living environment as a practical example of international collaboration to help replicate the best practices and provide a better life for people around the world. He hoped that the conference, "would come up with decisions and recommendations that would help realise ambitions of our societies in various fields, in order to provide a brighter future for our people, in which the unity and cohesion of our cities would be strengthened and the welfare and well being of our people would be achieved".
In his address during the opening session of the general conference, Omar Abdullah Qadi, Secretary General of OICC, said that the main goal of the organization, which was established in 1980, was to “achieve more development for Islamic cities and countries.”
Speaking on behalf of the Executive Director, UN-HABITAT’s acting Deputy Executive Director, Daniel Biau, said that UN-HABITAT would tailor its Global Campaign on Urban Governance to address the needs of the Islamic cities. UN-HABITAT assisted at a joint three-day session aimed at addressing the challenges facing local governments in the region. An initial assessment of needs and priorities among participating cities highlighted the need for increased regional collaboration among local governments through the exchange of best practices, regional training events and exchanges. Participants also called for the adaptation of UN-HABITAT tools for participative local decision-making to be customized to the needs of the region. Both OICC and the Islamic Development Bank made specific commitments to intensify their collaboration in support of local government within Arab states.