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G20 explores financing future cities

A ‘High-Level Seminar on Roadmap for Sustainable Cities’ is also being organised in partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on Monday….reports Asian Lite News

Day one of the G20 3rd Infrastructure Working Group Meeting initiated deliberations on the key priority area, ‘Principles on Financing Cities of Tomorrow: Inclusive, Resilient & Sustainable’.

“Day 1 of the 3rd Infrastructure Working Group Meeting initiated deliberations on the key priority area,’ Principles on Financing Cities of Tomorrow: Inclusive, Resilient & Sustainable’,” tweeted G20 India. The meeting is being held in Uttarakhand’s Rishikesh. Total 63 delegates from G20 member countries, invitee countries, and international organisations is participating in the meeting to further the discussions on the 2023 Infrastructure Agenda under the Indian G20 Presidency and follow up on the discussions held during the second IWG meeting held in March 2023 in Visakhapatnam.

The G-20 Infrastructure Working Group deliberates on various aspects of infrastructure investment including developing infrastructure as an asset class, promoting quality infrastructure investment, and mobilizing financial resources for infrastructure investment.

The concrete progress towards various work streams of the 2023 Infrastructure Agenda will be discussed in the meeting.

During the three-day meeting, apart from formal discussions, various official meetings and cultural programs have been planned for the delegates. The delegates will also be made to experience the rich culture and natural beauty of Rishikesh. A tour for the delegates has also been arranged on June 28 at 2 pm.

Two seminars are also being organized on the sidelines of IWG meetings. A ‘High-Level Seminar on Roadmap for Sustainable Cities’ is also being organized in partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on Monday.

Discussions over three sessions will give G20 decision-makers an opportunity to hear from key challenges ranging from climate change to infrastructure resilience, exploring the role of rapid urbanisation, and inclusivity, technology, Infratech and digitalisation.

Delegates will also learn from Indonesia’s unique approach to launching the development of Nusantara, one of the world’s most ambitious cities. International and national experts are also joining the discussion.

Recently, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said that India’s G20 presidency was successful in bringing back the platform’s focus on issues pertinent to the Global South, though at the same time ensuring that seriousness of Russia-Ukraine conflict and its impact are not diminished.

Briefing media persons after the G20 Development Ministers’ meeting in Varanasi, Jaishankar said that the ‘G20 Action Plan on Accelerating Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ and ‘G20 High Level Principles on Lifestyles for Sustainable Development’ were unanimously approved during the meeting.

“Right now, our focus is how do you address the pressing needs of the developing countries, the small island developing states, the least developed countries, those who are really teetering on the edge of an abyss,” he said.

“The G20 recognised today that the Global South is facing great problems that need to be responded with an action plan. This action plan was proposed by India,” he added.

Everybody supported this action plan and there was absolutely no politics over it, he added further.

“The seven-year action plan focusses on devising bold, decisive actions on fostering data for development and digital public infrastructure, women-led development, and human-centric economic growth and sustainable finance for development,” Jaishankar told reporters.

Secondly investing in women-led development, which will not only help to accelerate progress across all the SDGs, but will also deliver results on the ground for all sections of society.

Thirdly securing globally just transitions, which will help ensure the future survival of the planet, while meeting the aspirations of its diverse people.

“These transformative actions will act as a force multiplier for accelerating progress across all the SDGs and will contribute to a more effective and stronger multilateral system,” he said.

Jaishankar said that the theme of the Indian G20 presidency ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ therefore is an urgent call for action.

“As ‘One Earth’, we must demonstrate solidarity for those in need. Truly leave no one behind, mobilize resources and direct our efforts where they are most needed,” he said.

As ‘One Family’, we must break all silos and destroy all fragmentations. We need to integrate our approaches, build systems that leverage synergies rather than rely on trade-offs. Reinvigorate the systems which deliver on our agendas and ensure that all voices at home and outside are equally heard and taken into account.

“For ‘One Future’, we must keep the aspirations of our young people at the centre of our actions. Our actions today must not put their future in danger. We must invest in our collective future today and ensure that it is built on the foundations of equality, mutual respect and solidarity,” Jaishankar remarked.

ALSO READ-‘India doing fantastic job in chairing G20’

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Next 24 hours could decide PM’s future

Boris Johnson’s immediate predecessor and Conservative party colleague Theresa May, whose exit he is said to have engineered, sarcastically asked him if he had not read Covid rules, did not understand them or thought he was exempt? reports Ashish Ray

Boris Johnson characteristically came out fighting in the House of Commons, as his future as the Prime Minister of Britain hung in the balance following an investigation by a senior civil servant, Sue Grey, into partying at his office-cum-residence at 10 Downing Street in London damningly violation of Covid-19 laws at the epicentre of political power in the UK.

He described the report as ‘a tissue of nonsense’ in response to the leader of the Labour party and of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, accusing him of ignoring it and calling him a ‘man without shame’.

Johnson cowered behind a police inquiry currently underway as a result of the facts unearthed by Grey.

Johnson’s immediate predecessor and Conservative party colleague Theresa May, whose exit he is said to have engineered, sarcastically asked him if he had not read Covid rules, did not understand them or thought he was exempt?

May is looked upon as a person who might navigate Johnson’s ouster from behind the scene. If 54 Conservative MPs ask for a leadership contest, this will automatically be triggered.

A leadership contest could open the door for Rishi Sunak, now Chancellor of the exchequer, to throw his hat into the ring.

Controversially, what surfaced in the public domain on Monday after a week of dilly-dallying was reportedly a heavily redacted report. The British capital’s metropolitan police, popularly known as Scotland Yard, insisted on this, so as not to jeopardise the criminal inquiry it has been entrusted with, based on Grey’s findings.

The Yard is probing 12 of the 16 parties examined by Grey, which will interrogate Johnson ‘under caution’, which means as a suspect, not as a witness.

Johnson in other words is believed to have committed the crime of allowing or himself being knowingly and willingly a participant in the concerned parties or social gatherings, thereby not following Covid-19 rules legislated by his own government.

Grey concluded: “At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of the government, but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time.”

She disclosed: “Some staff wanted to raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so.”

“The whole of the country rose to the challenge,” she wrote, adding: “Ministers, special advisers and the Civil Service, of which I am proud to be a part, were a key and dedicated part of that national effort. However, as I have noted, a number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did.”

It was circulating in media that Grey admitted her report does not provide a ‘meaningful’ account of ‘partygate’ because of omissions requested by the police. It was, though, still quite a bombshell, as expected.

In a rowdy session of the Commons, leader of the Scottish National Party, Ian Blackford, was ordered to leave the chamber by the Speaker after the former insisted on saying Johnson had ‘misled the House’ – by convention a resigning matter in British politics.

The parties allegedly took place between March 28, 2020 and May 17, 2021.

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-Top News Arab News News

New e-platform for early surveillance of future pandemics

The launch of the new system, which is one of the most important integrated projects based on the latest technologies, came as part of MoHAP’s participation in Arab Health 2022, reports Asian Lite News

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has launched the E-public health system “SPHERE”, an e-platform for epidemiological surveillance and management that can be used or linked at the state level.

The launch of the new system, which is one of the most important integrated projects based on the latest technologies, came as part of MoHAP’s participation in Arab Health 2022, held from 24th – 27th January in Dubai.

Through this platform, the ministry aims to provide an integrated system for early monitoring, follow-up, and management of events affecting public health and strengthen linkage with the government and private health sectors and other stakeholders.

SPHERE provides a unified national database that enhances disease prevention, by sharing and exchanging information locally, regionally and globally, so as to reinforce the UAE’s status in health competitive indicators.

SPHERE is designed to play a key role in disease surveillance to achieve a rapid response for combating communicable diseases. In addition to monitoring data and information to evaluate the burden of health risks, prioritise public health actions, and monitor the impact of control measures, the new system supports research that helps determine the bases and standards for the development of public health policies and strategies.

The project has paramount importance as part of the preventive and proactive health strategy adopted by the Ministry, in cooperation with local health authorities, said Abdullah Ahli, Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for the Support Services Sector, pointing to the ministry’s commitment to attracting and developing the latest electronic and smart systems, as one of the most important lessons learned and agreed upon by world countries.

“A global challenge like the current pandemic can never be faced without utilising technologies, and data is an important basis for fighting future epidemics. While pandemics are moving and spreading quickly like what we’ve seen with COVID-19, data can move even faster, providing us tools to manage community response during epidemics,” added Ahli.

He underlined that the UAE has a robust epidemiological investigation system, immediate response, and control measures, and high laboratory capabilities, helping maintain health security in the country, highlighting the UAE’s success in dealing effectively and practically with the pandemic, thanks to the support and guidance provided by the UAE government, according to high-level standards praised by the World Health Organisation.

ALSO READ: UAE resumes in-person education

“The program is one of the most important integrated projects based on the latest technologies, to develop the epidemiological surveillance and early warning system for communicable diseases, through direct electronic linkage with the stakeholders and the sharing of real-time information,” stated Ali Al Ajmi, Director of the Digital Health Department.

“SPHERE has a lot of features, such as epidemiological analysis, identifying patterns and seasons of diseases, calculating relevant indicators and using them to make decisions based on evidence, and creating epidemiological maps to address potential threats in the future,” added Al Ajmi.

He explained that the new platform targets all concerned health cadres in government and private health institutions, mentioning that any private facility that wants to create an account on the platform can send a request to Public Health Center in the concerned emirate or to SPHERE platform email.

The platform also includes the reporting of communicable diseases, pathological syndromes, chemical poisoning cases, injuries, and vaccination records.

-Top News Dubai UAE News

DEWA invites bids on green hydrogen production strategy

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has invited globally reputed consulting companies to submit offers to develop an ambitious strategy for the production of green hydrogen…reports Asian Lite News

Green hydrogen represents one of the pillars of a sustainable future that depends on accelerating the transition to carbon neutrality to support a green economy. The objectives are to develop the green mobility sector, reduce carbon emissions from various industries, generate electrical and thermal energy and produce water and other applications.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said, “We work in line with of the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to promote Dubai’s transformation to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. Our efforts also align with Dubai’s commitment to sustainability and enhance its proactive role in shaping and supporting the future of energy and climate change.”

“The production of green hydrogen is part of DEWA’s efforts to support the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Emissions Strategy 2050 to provide 100 percent of the energy production capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. This project contributes to paving the way for building a green economy based on clean energies, and among the green hydrogen,” Al Tayer added.

ALSO READ: DEWA launches interactive awareness competition

The Green Hydrogen project, implemented in collaboration between DEWA, Expo 2020 Dubai, and Siemens Energy at DEWA’s R&D Centre in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, is the first in the Middle East and North Africa to produce hydrogen using solar power. The pilot plant was designed to facilitate future applications and test platforms of different uses for hydrogen, such as energy production and transportation.

To achieve the objectives of the Dubai Green Mobility Strategy 2030 and encourage the use of sustainable transportation and the Hydrogen Vehicles System, the project aims to develop the hydrogen economy, open up local markets to hydrogen vehicles, and encourage an increase in the number of environmentally-friendly vehicles. In partnership with Emirates National Oil Company, DEWA is studying building a hydrogen fuelling station.

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The world’s first Net Zero Carbon building

SEE Institute will be the world’s most sustainable building and a hub to promote knowledge in sustainability…reports Asian Lite News

The Sustainable City in Dubai, the first fully sustainable development in the region unveiled its latest achievement: the world’s first Net Zero Carbon building.

The 50,000 sqf future-ready building will be home to SEE Institute, the sustainability research, development, and professional training arm of Diamond Developers. The state-of-the-art building is unveiled at WETEX & Dubai Solar Show, the annual trade exhibition organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in Expo 2020.

The world’s first Net Zero Carbon building

The building will be offsetting all its embodied carbon emissions from construction & interiors prior to operations, based on a credible offset scheme.

The building will also produce more than 300% of its operational energy requirements through renewable sources including solar panels and a biogas plant handling organic waste from TSC. From this, 100% will cover the operational energy and 150% will offset emissions from commuting employees, water desalination, and consumable products that operate the Institute. The remaining 50% will enable the building to become carbon positive.

ALSO READ: ‘UAE steadfast in its march towards sustainable recovery’

By exporting this surplus of energy to surrounding buildings and facilities, The Sustainable City will be setting a new precedent in transforming buildings from being pollutant, energy consumers into environmentally friendly, energy generators.

FARIS SAEED, CEO, DIAMOND DEVELOPERS:“SEE Institute is the embodiment of our mission to spearhead the global movement towards sustainable knowledge and learning advancement, in line with the aspirations of the Paris Climate Agreement and the urgency of worldwide climate action. It also paves the way for bringing the UN 2050 targets forward and achieving a Net Zero Carbon future today”.

The world’s first Net Zero Carbon building

“The Institute’s purpose is to accelerate climate action through education, R&D, business incubation, events and conferences. Through targeted collaborations with partners, academic and government entities, we aim to inspire others by sharing knowledge and expertise to ensure a better tomorrow for generations to come.”

The new building will be dedicated to the advancement of sustainability knowledge, technology and innovations through research, training, events and incubation of tech startups working on solutions promoting social, environmental and economic sustainability. Completion is expected in the next few months.

Arab News Sharjah Technology

An Innovation for Energy Storage Solutions

Sharjah Sustainable City (SSC) has taken an initiative for a global movement towards sustainable living, promoting a lifestyle that is compatible with the future…reports Asian Lite News

Sharjah Sustainable City, a fully sustainable community by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and Diamond Developers, will be the first community in the region to give residents access to a renewable energy storage solution. The move comes after SEE Institute, the research and development arm in The Sustainable City entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hager Group, an international company specialised in renewable energy storage. The agreement, of which Sharjah Sustainable City is the first beneficiary, formalizes an ongoing relationship with the German-based company to test and deploy the latest technologies and innovations in demand management and smart energy solutions.

Sharjah Sustainable City is the first community to demonstrate energy storage solutions in the region

The partnership with Hager Group is aligned with the wider brand -The Sustainable City, which supports innovation through pilot programmes, prototype testing as well as helping to present complex solutions in a real-life context. Sharjah Sustainable City retains an agile and ever evolving outlook towards a low carbon future and is committed to promoting the transfer of sustainability know-how. Hager Group offers varied energy solutions such as battery storage, EV charging stations (EEBUS) as well as energy management systems that allow users to control and balance different energy sources and loads.

Yousef Ahmed Al-Mutawa, Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah Sustainable City said: “We prioritise innovation and leverage the smartest technologies to drive efficiencies across all our sustainability targets. Renewable energy is one of the biggest contributors towards achieving net zero carbon and this partnership with Hager Group will allow us to reach the highest possible energy efficiencies and the lowest energy intensities in our development. Sharjah Sustainable City is proud to be the first beneficiaries of this MoU signed by SEE Institute, our invaluable knowledge hub.”

ALSO READ: ADFD hailed for playing key role in sustainable development

Torsten Hager, Future Energy Solutions International Corporate Strategy Director Hager Group said: “To reach the global targets of carbon neutrality and to realise a sustainable renewable energy supply, we need to integrate energy storage systems and management to control devices.

Our partnership with Sharjah Sustainable City will allow us to demonstrate together new innovative solutions, which will shape the future of sustainable buildings.”

Sharjah Sustainable City aims to be a leader in shaping the way towards a cleaner and greener world. Partnerships and knowledge sharing are key components towards this goal as well as piloting prototypes and testing new ideas. The MoU with Hager Group is only one example of the many ways The Sustainable City projects are building ties all over the world, therefore creating a ripple effect of climate actions, leading the way towards sustainable living.

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National Security Law Casts Shadow on Future of Hong Kongers

Over 60 per cent of people expressed doubts about their future under the draconian law which was imposed in June last year…reports Asian Lite News

Most Hong Kongers are doubtful about their future under the Chinese imposed national security law which has left a “chilling effect” on people of the territory since its passage in June 2020, according to reports.

Quoting Mainland Affairs Council, Taipei Times reported that over 60 per cent of people expressed doubts about their future under the draconian law which was imposed in June last year.

In a report marking the 24th anniversary of the territory’s handover to China, the council said that the US-based Freedom House in March gave Hong Kong the worst rating in the history of its Freedom in the World report at 52 points, ranking “partly free,” due mainly to the security legislation.

Germany’s Global Public Policy Institute and Reporters Without Borders similarly downgraded the territory in their respective reports on academic and press freedom, it added.

Meanwhile, several people including activists, students, journalists have been arrested in the past few months in Hong Kong under the security legislation. The scope of those prosecuted for speech from prior to the law’s passage — from politicians to academics and journalists — has produced a “chilling effect,” the council’s report said.


The press especially is facing “unprecedented political violence,” including with the redefinition of “media representative” to only recognize workers of media outlets registered with the government, it said.

Next Digital has emerged as a victim of the security legislation, as police have used it to prosecute owner Jimmy Lai and Apple Daily executives, it said.

ALSO READ: China Fear Revival of Turkistan Islamic Movement

The closure of the Apple Daily on June 25, shortly after the government froze its assets, has “sounded a death knell for press freedom in Hong Kong,” Taipei Times reported.

Many news firms have chosen to stay silent, leading to the closure or removal of content from online publications such as Stand News, Winandmac Media and Post 852, it added.

Meanwhile, increasing numbers of academics critical of Beijing have been dismissed or forced out since last year. Some have even seen their teaching qualifications revoked for disseminating content in support of independence, it added.

Changes to the education curriculum in February also outlawed political activities on campuses and banned teachers from discussing their political views, while mandating education about the security law to more than 8,000 students, it said.

Fear over-reporting by students is likely to deepen self-censorship on campuses, the council said, adding that some academics are also considering cutting back on international exchanges.

Censorship has even extended to the Internet and the arts, drawing an ambiguous red line that would stifle creative freedom, it added.

The Web site HKChronicles, which publishes personal information of police officers and pro-Beijing figures, was reportedly shuttered by Hong Kong security forces with cooperation from Internet service providers, the council said.

Pro-China media have also criticized the Hong Kong Arts Development Council for funding “reactionary” works of art and the M+ museum for exhibiting works by Ai Weiwei, it added.

Changes announced last month to the Film Censorship Ordinance would ban films that “endanger national security,” it said.

Public gatherings have also been halted, including the annual Tiananmen Square Massacre candlelight vigil that had been held every year for three decades, it said.

Even freedom of movement could be affected, as the passage in April of changes to immigration regulations would grant authorities the power to bar individuals from entering or leaving the territory when it goes into effect on August 1, the council added.

The law criminalizes any act of secession (breaking away from China), subversion (undermining the power or authority of the central government), terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison. (ANI)

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