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New Year Wishes 2017

Dear colleagues and partners,

Happy New Year 2017!

2016 has been a great year for Platforms with several valuable collaborations around sustainable development with highly esteemed partners in the UK and internationally.

In prolongation with our earlier efforts in 2015, we have partnered around highly interesting international UN and EU bids, including our collaboration with University of Westminster to support Arab Urban Development Institute in Riyadh in its proposal to UN-Habitat for Strengthening City Knowledge for Sustainable Urban Development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through building urban and national observatories on the state of cities, sustainable development and prosperity as a background for planning and urban design reforms and capacity building.

Climate and energy have been on our Agenda. We worked as part of consortium in Brussels on the EU call for Strengthening the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and the implementation of the International Urban Cooperation Programme. Another collaboration under Gopa's leadership addressed building the EU Energy Observatory aimed to strengthen the member states’ capacity and knowledge on the measures to alleviate energy poverty - a subject that is greatly important from the urban and regional standpoints.

We have been very close to landing some of these tenders with the approval of our proposal for Strengthening City Knowledge by the UN-Habitat office in Riyadh and a highly positive statement from the EU Commission regarding the strength of the Gopa consortium, approach to sustainability, implementation methods on the local, regional and national levels, and international dimension.

We have also had the pleasure to be in contact with several universities in the UK where we gave lectures, held workshops and participated in reviewing Master students in architecture projects, which we believe has been highly rewarding both ways. We highly appreciate exchanging with younger generations and we look forward to continuing this work in 2017.

Our contribution to the global debate on port cities’ development and sustainability has been reinforced with our significant role in the 15 World conference on Port Cities in Rotterdam last October as member of its scientific committee, co-designing and chairing the sessions and Lab on Joint Planning Strategies for Flexibility and Sustainable Development. It was a great pleasure and honour to collaborate with the Worldwide Network of Port Cities, the City of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam. We also thank our colleagues from around the world who contributed with their valuable views to the sessions.

We have also provided presentations and shared sessions on sustainability and resilience in the international conferences of the World Association for Sustainable Development WASD.

Our work for Syria has taken off with our important input on the Planning System in Syria – an original chapter in the International Manual of Planning Practice 2015, published by ISOCARP last spring, and our preliminary proposal for a Resilient Reconstruction in Syria through Strategic Governance and Capacity Building. This will hopefully take form and continue with UK universities and other highly esteemed international partners. Our sincere words and music event for Syria, which we held last April in Rich Mix in London in collaboration with the Fifth Quadrant and UK and Middle Eastern musicians, was a call from the heart to share hope, love and peace and to co-create.

We vividly thank our partners for their trust and the inspiring cooperation. We look forward to continue our good work and to new rewarding partnerships around new thinking projects. We also thank our Linkedin colleagues for sharing their works and interests.

We wish you a fruitful 2017. We hope that it will be a rich and fulfilling year to you all on the personal and professional levels - a year where we can see our joint efforts feeding into more sustainable living environments and more prosperous, inclusive and peaceful world!

Roudaina Al Khani

On behalf of the team

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