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HRH Premier urges global development push.

Manama, Oct. 2 (BNA)-- His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, in honor of the UN World Habitat Day, called on the international community to mobilize its energies and take measures necessary to address potential risks resulting from climate change, while at the same time intensifying international coordination and cooperation based on striking a balance between sustainable urban development and environmental protection.

"We are living under an eco-system that is affected by the level of progress achieved and imbalance created by man in the eco-system," His Royal Highness said. "Unless the world gets alerted to that as quickly as possible and through serious and joint cooperation, the international community would pay a high price in future." HRH affirmed that, unless the urban growth phenomenon is pre-planned, it would itself add a further influential environmental burden associated with health risks as a result of air pollution and deterioration.

The United Nations' World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986 and is annually celebrated on the first Monday of October to reflect on the state of human settlements and people's right to sufficient shelter. It also aims to remind people that they are responsible for the habitat of future next generations. This year's theme is "Cities and Climate Change." An important highlight of the day is the "Habitat Scroll of Honor" award, which was launched by the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UNHSP) in 1989. It is considered to be the world's most prestigious human settlements award and aims to acknowledge initiatives that make outstanding contributions in areas such as shelter provision, highlighting the plight of the homeless, leadership in post conflict reconstruction, and developing and improving the human settlements and the quality of urban life.

In 2007, His Royal Highness received the Special Citation of the Habitat Scroll of Honor in recognition of his visionary leadership in effectively pursuing the Millennium Development Goals. Through participatory governance, the United Nations praised the Kingdom of Bahrain in being able to reduce poverty and to bring about social justice through socially inclusive housing policy, housing finance systems and good urban governance.

In order to promote the ideals and principles of good governance in the context of housing and urban development with a focus on equity, HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa has decided to establish, jointly with UN-Habitat, the Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman AI Khalifa Habitat Award (hereinafter referred to as the Award).

His Royal Highness stressed that the Kingdom of Bahrain shares with the international community concerns over the aggravation of environmental risks threatening the planet earth. Stemming from its own belief that both the welfare of peoples and environmental conservation are closely related, Bahrain is working, within the framework of international cooperation, to reduce these risks.

"The Kingdom of Bahrain is giving increasing attention to habitat and sustainable development issues, being a basic component of the current comprehensive development awakening in the Kingdom, initiated by His Majesty King Hamad Bin Eesa al-Kalifa," His Royal Highness said. "At each phase of its awakening, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been keen to provide a sustainable living environment for its citizens at present as well as to ensure a better environment for future generations." HRH noted that the Kingdom of Bahrain was among the first to address the threat of climate change, adopting as a part of the government platform a national environment and wildlife protection strategy. That plan is being implemented through the use of more efficient techniques of combating all pollution while mirroring that with new clean energy, in conformity with regional and international obligations.

He emphasized the need to develop long-term plans to be implemented across gradual reforms to avert such environmental risks and burdens, in such a way that prevents their aggravation and potential threat to sustainable development in various regions.

"Bahrain has accorded special attention to the climate change, being a characteristically global phenomenon distinct from other environmental problems," HRH said. "It is a characteristically global and cross-border phenomenon distinct from other environmental problems, thus putting the whole world to risk. It poses a threat to world health and economy as well as human prosperity and makes it difficult to maintain the progress scored on Millennium Development Goals." HRH indicated that Bahrain already has existing and future plans to promote use of environment-friendly technology and is currently reviewing and enhancing existing systems, adopting regulations that require implementation of findings of environmental impact studies in all its development and upgrading projects.

"Bahrain has managed to achieve the eight, Millennium Development Goals for 2010, according to international standards, including ensuring environment sustainability," HRH said. "We still have increasing aspirations in this regard, in line with the Kingdom's orientations towards enhancing human life and providing all means of man's livelihood." HRH emphasized that investment in minimizing disaster risks and poverty reduction have helped adapt to climate change problems and that "it is the role of everyone to invite attention to this important message, in the interest of preserving our planet and providing a safe environment for all mankind." The imperative is clear, HRH said. "This year alone, we have witnessed several live examples of what climate change-related natural disasters can cause, such as floods and draughts that have hit a number of countries, wrecking considerable physical and human losses and draining down billions of dollars in responding to its effects and consequences, which could been otherwise invested in bringing about more prosperity to peoples." The difficult challenge between the needs of urban transformation, expansion of cities and provision of high-level services for the population -- a goal that requires governments to harness all potential and resources -- while at the same time, maintaining and securing against enveloping environmental risks should preoccupy the mind of the whole world -- prompting it to take immediate action to address the root causes that would threaten the present and future of humanity, HRH said.

"Modern cities are now in need of innovative solutions ensuring a safe environment, in accordance with a well-knit strategy to identify potential effects of climatic disasters and how avert their long-term impact, with focus on addressing causes rater than being confined to results," HRH said.

HRH recalled that the Kingdom of Bahrain had in May 2009 hosted the Conference on " Disaster Reduction" and territory witnessed the launching of the first United Nations Report on Disaster Reduction, which confirms the Kingdom's commitment to defend environmental issues and the resulting adverse effects of poverty and hunger on human life.


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Publication:Bahrain News Agency
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Oct 2, 2011
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