The Abu Dhabi skyline along the corniche. Abu Dhabi has an ambitious plan to upgrade its infrastructure to meet future demands. Image Credit: VIRENDRA SAKLANI/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: A large part of the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision focuses on developing new building codes to enhance building safety and standards rather than focusing on physical growth of high rise buildings, said Ahmad M. Shareef, Undersecretary in the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA).

During his keynote address at Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2010, he spoke about positioning Abu Dhabi as a leading global city, highlighting the importance of implementing the International Code Council (ICC) in the next few years, to help enhance construction standards and safeguard the long-term security of the Emirate's population.

"We work with thousands of engineering offices and consultants to try to build an international best code and practices for everyone to follow. Abu Dhabi has an ambitious plan to upgrade its infrastructure to meet future demands in areas such as traffic, transportation, sewage, water supply, telecommunications, landscaping and working with strong partners from the private sector to help partner with us on that plan," said Shareef.

The Abu Dhabi government has a vision of being one of the top governments in the world. "However the world is unpredictable; there are economic challenges, that's why our leaders have laid out a very clear vision for the country, one that focuses on the best insurance policies, resources and econ-omic planning. After the economic crisis, we can no longer depend on two or three cities across the world for a sustainable future, it's a collaborative effort, that every city across the world must collaborate in," said Shareef. "The role played by the GCC countries during the economic downturn is an illustrative example of the positive impact we have across the world."

Only five years ago, the Abu Dhabi government started to open its doors to the real estate industry.

"The government has opened its doors to partnering with real estate developers and investors, who are equally responsible for Abu Dhabi's long term development. We're not interested in partnering with short term developers who arrive to the country for their own benefit," he said.

New town

An ambitious project is due to take place in the Western Region, the undersecretary announced. "Most of our oil is located in the Western Region, which is where a brand new town will arise."

One of the biggest challenges facing the government of Abu Dhabi is high dependence on outsourced companies who monitor and manage the real estate industry.

"The government realises that challenge, that's why we are training Emiratis so that they can start to take part in their country's development process," he said.

Residents across the emirate of Abu Dhabi are not resistant to change, explained the DMA official. "Everyone wants what's best for society, that's why people are patient during times of road closures and traffic congestion, because they know the end result will be positive. Similarly, anyone visiting Cityscape will leave with an optimistic idea of what the country has to offer, and will understand the crucial dedicated role the government is playing to help the country succeed in as short as time possible."