António Guterres
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

“When urban communities are engaged in policy and decision making, and empowered with financial resources, the results are more inclusive and durable. 

Let’s put our communities at the heart of the cities of the future.” – António Guterres, UN Secretary-General

If there is one thing that our cities consistently demonstrate, it is resilience.  Cities are the engines that can spur economies to unprecedented growth, raising living standards for many, and acting as melting pots for culture, language . . .  and ideas.

And yet, their attraction and rapid growth have produced some of the world’s worst problems… overcrowding, congestion, choking pollution, mass unemployment, social dysfunction, and even conflict…

Today, on World Cities Day, we join the United Nations’ call for action to adapt cities for climate resilience.

More than half of the world’s population – some 4.2 billion people – live in cities today.  This is predicted to grow to over 70% in just one generation.  According to the UN-Habitat, at least 130 port cities with over one million inhabitants are expected to be affected by coastal flooding, and one billion people in urban settlements are particularly vulnerable, lacking access to basic infrastructure and services.

Creating more sustainable, climate resilient cities means that addressing major issues including poverty reduction, ensuring basic services, affordable housing, infrastructure investment, and managing ecosystems for their growing populations.

Successful, well-planned and governed cities quickly adopting new innovations, may reduce climate-related risks for their populations.

In his recent Spotlight article, Redesigning our cities for the 21st Century, Fady Jameel, Deputy President and Vice Chairman, Abdul Latif Jameel, said:

“Cities are nothing without the people who inhabit them.  I am humbled and honored to be in a position to contribute to solutions to support new ways living, working and powering our future, commercially through Abdul Latif Jameel – as an investor in the infrastructure of life – and through Community Jameel, my family’s global philanthropy.”

One of the many challenges that will remain is generating sufficient clean electricity to power them.

Abdul Latif Jameel Energy’s FRV, a leader in renewable energy, is active in 18 countries delivering a range of solar, wind, energy storage and new energy technology projects.

And our ground-breaking Almar Water Solutions enterprise aims to address the water needs of our growing population, with landmark projects in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Chile, and most recently, Egypt with the acquisition of 58 desalination plants.

Building on our heritage in mobility, we are participating in the transition to more sustainable transport solutions, with a full range of hybrid electric vehicles.  Utilizing green hydrogen in a pioneering Toyota Mirai pilot taxi scheme in Madrid, and as fuel for buses in Alicante, Spain, driving progress to the decarbonization of public mobility systems.

The Jameel Family is also an early-stage investor in EV innovator RIVIAN, and air-taxi pioneer Joby Aviation.  We are actively investing to positively shape the future of core industries driving our global economy.  Looking to where we can create value that will truly benefit future society.

These are bold initiatives that can enable our cities to remain hubs of industry and culture for generations to come.

It is vital that we remember that our cities must be nourished and developed, and ultimately, must always exist in the service of its people.