Speech by HE Qassim Sultan at the Sister-Cities Summit November 01—05, 2001. Istanbul, Turkey

Lord Mayor of Istanbul;
Distinguished Mayors and City Govenors;
Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I would like first to thank the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality for organising this summit as well as thank the Lord Mayor of Istanbul for extending the invitation to the Municipality of Dubai to be present along with our sister cities and hence giving us the chance to further consolidate the relationships between our cities and our countries for the common benefit of all.

This meeting comes at a very important time where cities are playing an increasingly larger role in policy and decision making and facing numerous challenges on a wide range of issues from urban planning to city management. These challenges are further complicated by the constant and ever increase in population, a fact that places a lot of pressure on the level and quality of services and functions offered by the cities to its residents. In this respect the sister summit of Istanbul comes as an ideal set-up that gives us the opportunity to explore the various means of cooperation that could be created on the city to city level. This close and intimate cooperation between the sister cities will definitely help us explore new areas where we can work together to meet the common challenges we face and at the same time, establish solid and firm grounds of deeper understanding of one another based on the shared experiences and lessons learned.

Representing the City of Dubai, we share our experience and offer our opportunities of growth and development to you. Our city witnessed extensive growth and massive development over the past 25 years and the Municipality of Dubai has undertaken massive projects across the emirate to ensure its infrastructure and level of services and facilities are on par with international standards.

Our city is currently gearing itself towards the information society as we have set up and started the first phases of implementation of the Dubai Internet City and the Dubai Media City in addition to the implementation of the Electronic Government across all local government authorities in Dubai.

The government of Dubai is investing in the information technology sector as we are turning our administrative and management systems towards advanced technologies of information and communications to ensure that they gradually and surely constitute the backbone of operation networks to help us offer better services to the community and meet the increasing challenges and requirements of a fast growing city.

I would like here to stress the need to further revitalize the scope of activity and functions of the sister cities to allow us to increase the level of cooperation amongst our cities so as to be able to work together towards sharing our challenges and experiences to benefit our respective communities.

In this regard, I would like to call for the set up of a network for our sister cities that enable the dissemination of information and expertise and allows the sharing of experience on the community level.

Such a network will make it possible for the cities to better interact with each other as cooperation is not restricted to the official city-to-city level but is transcended to the main authorities of the cities, to their respective communities, the end users of all services and facilities offered by the cities.

I do strongly believe that being able to meet all the needs and requirements of the community is the main and higher aim that all cities should work towards achieving. Such a step will also guarantee that the transfer of knowledge and experience between our respective cities is complete to a large degree as the grass roots of the communities come to benefit from such cooperation.

Furthermore, the network of sister cities should be also supported by a database of information that all sister cities should contribute in compiling Such database will provide us with clear indications and essential information and data on the status of development of our cities and the requirements and shortcomings that need to be addressed and rectified.

The database will also act as a prime link between the sister cities and work as an early indicator of our progress in dealing with the various issues and challenges we face and help us forecast and better plan for the future.

I would like finally to thank their Excellencies the Mayors and City Governors of all our sister cities that are present in this meeting and for the opportunity given to us by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to meet and discuss issues of common interest and concern to the development and growth of our cities that help us explore means of cooperation and common work for the benefit of our respective communities.

Thank you very much for your attention and I hope you all success for the future.

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