Prince Rahim Aga Khan speaking at the World Government Summit, 2023 in Dubai on Monday Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai; Prince Rahim Aga Khan, Chair of the Aga Khan Development Network’s Environment and Climate Committee, highlighted the need for urgent action to advance progress and tackle climate change, specifically through the sustainable design of cities

Speaking at a session at the World Government Summit 2023 in Dubai, Prince Rahim spoke about urbanisation in the developing world against the backdrop of climate change. His speech titled 'The Built Environment in the Context of Climate Change' was attended by an audience of distinguished guests from government, business, academia and civil society. Now in its tenth year, the annual World Government Summit, established under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is a global knowledge exchange platform dedicated to shaping the future of governments. Its activities focus on harnessing innovation and technology to solve the universal challenges facing humanity.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications and Managing Director of the World Government Summit Organization, warmly welcomed Prince Rahim’s participation at the Summit.

Vital importance

It is estimated that 80 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by the middle of this century. “Much of this urbanisation is taking place in the developing world. How we plan, design, and manage cities will, therefore, be of vital importance for our fragile planet and for humanity,” he noted.

While cities occupy only three per cent of the Earth’s land, they account for 80 per cent of energy consumption and more than 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. “Because cities will play such a massive role in the coming decades, they need not only to anticipate and adapt to climate change as it worsens, but they must also contribute to its mitigation,” stated Prince Rahim.

Global City Design and Sustainability is one of six themes of this year’s World Government Summit.

Protect the planet

Prince Rahim remarked that Islam requires humanity to care for and protect the planet. “The Quran teaches us that as God’s noblest creation, humankind is entrusted with the stewardship of all that is on earth, and that each generation must leave for its successors a wholesome and healthy social and physical environment.”

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Citing its work over many decades, Prince Rahim highlighted AKDN’s first-hand experience in preserving, restoring, and developing the built environment in ways that not only honour cultural heritage, but also lay environmentally sustainable foundations for economic and social progress. Moreover, AKDN’s efforts demonstrate the success of partnerships between government, business, and civil society to improve the quality of life.

Alongside Prince Rahim Aga Khan, speakers included Mohammad Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the World Government Summit; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation; and Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.