This was evident in the recent appointment of Habiba Al Marashi, EmiratesGBC co-founder, board member and treasurer, to the Membership Committee of the World Green Building Council (World GBC), the largest international organization influencing the green building marketplace.
“Al Marashi is a leader who has championed the mission for a sustainable environment in the Arab world, and her appointment is significant for EmiratesGBC," Saeed Al Abbar, chairman of EmiratesGBC, told Gulf News Journal. “It offers EmiratesGBC the opportunity to work with committed green building experts from across the world and to exchange best practices. It also provides the organization a strong sounding board to gain new insights that it can share with its stakeholders in the MENA region.”
This is the second ongoing appointment from EmiratesGBC to the World Green Building Council, as Al Abbar himself has been serving as a board director of World GBC since 2015. Adnan Sharafi, EmiratesGBC former chairman, had served in the same role, while Sadek Owainati, co-founder of EmiratesGBC, had earlier represented the council on the WorldGBC Membership Committee.
“With the building sector being the primary source of greenhouse gas emission, taking concerted action at a global level is imperative,” Al Abbar said. “Our participation in WorldGBC’s deliberations will help us all to achieve the green vision of our nation.”
Since its inception in 2006 in the UAE, EmiratesGBC has diligently worked toward enhancing awareness and tangible action to promote sustainable built environments. Over the years, the organization have been able to rally all construction sector stakeholders, as well as educationalists, financial institutions and policymakers to usher in a culture of green buildings in the UAE
Across the wider MENA region. EmiratesGBC has been at the forefront in driving dialogue on green building development. Since the establishment of the MENA Network in 2010, EmiratesGBC has been a part of its Steering Committee, taking a leadership role to bring together regional GBCs and initiating joint efforts in various areas including the promotion and awareness of green building practices, retrofitting and green building innovation.
The introduction of the annual EmiratesGBC Awards, to be rebranded as MENA Green Building Awards, was another key initiative through which the organization honors industry best practices and encourages innovation on various aspects related to green buildings. The awards will celebrate the accomplishments of MENA-wide country projects and are supported by the World Green Building Council with other regional GBCs coming on board as partners. The 2017 awards program will be launched in December, with entries to be received in both English and Arabic.
Today, Al Abbar said, the UAE serves as a role model with several path-breaking accomplishments in the green building sector. People are increasingly aware of the need to drive energy and water sector efficiency and promote eco-friendly building practices. Furthermore, the country has a clearly articulated green vision’ backed by green building regulations that have given the sector strong momentum.
“However, we are not complacent, and we will continue to build on this,” Al Abbar said. “We understand that building owners have apprehensions on the costs associated with green buildings initially, and we reiterate to them the long-term value of eco-friendly practices. As we evolve, there are, of course, the challenges of finding trained and qualified personnel. But today, we see educational institutions taking the lead in incorporating such courses.”
The governmental authorities, he added, have been extremely supportive in promoting green buildings in the UAE. EmiratesGBC is working to deliver the green vision of the nation and established a new board advisory committee with government representatives to ensure that the council’s goals are aligned with the national agenda.
“With two key appointments in the WorldGBC, we present the advances that the UAE and the MENA region have accomplished in promoting green building practices,” Al Abbar said. “Our significant achievements in promoting a culture of sustainable built environments serve as an inspiration and referral point for several other GBCs.”