Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Promoting sustainable infrastructure

Providing sustainable environment and infrastructure is one of the six pillars of the UAE National Agenda.



One of the UAE’s projects called UAEPedia contributes to achieving this goal. UAEPedia (www.uaepedia.ae) is the online encyclopedia of the UAE. It documents the rich culture, history and heritage of the UAE along with the selfless leaders whose vision shaped the country. It aims to be the only authentic knowledge repository about the UAE providing information in Arabic; the native language of the land.


UAEPedia is the first collaborative effort for preserving, enriching and spreading awareness about the cultural diversity and identity of the UAE. It is being developed in collaboration with 15 federal government entities. Each entity has assigned one or more ‘Knowledge Ambassador’ to contribute to UAEPedia by adding new articles and enriching existing ones.


Sustainable cities

The UAE is building several sustainable cities that conserve energy and harness renewable energy using technology and architectural designs. Read about the sustainable cities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.


Abu Dhabi

Masdar City represents the first attempt in the Middle East to build a sustainable city. Masdar City aims to reduce the use of energy and water and the generation of waste. It uses a combination of technology, architectural designs and solar power to run. Using minimum energy is one of its primary steps to conserve the environment.


For example, the use of low-flow showers and smart water metres ensure reduction of water wastage. The architecture of Masdar City ensures that streets and houses are cooler than they would be otherwise. In addition, the use of high-efficiency appliances conserves energy.


Masdar City houses the headquarters of International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future.



One of the aims of Dubai Plan 2021 is to make Dubai a smart and sustainable city. Under this vision, Dubai is building a couple of sustainable cities. They are:

  • Sustainable City
  • Desert Rose City
  • Dubai South District
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis


Sustainable City

Called Sustainable City, this project is underway in Dubailand. The mixed-use township will run on solar energy produced indigenously. The residences, offices and other properties would be equipped with appliances that save energy. The township will be car-free. It will reportedly feature 10,000 trees and house organic farms.


Desert Rose City

Dubai is building another sustainable city in Al Ruwayyah area along the Dubai-Al Ain road. This too is a mixed-use property. Its design, in the shape of a desert rose, would help reduce electricity consumption. It will run on renewable energy that it will produce itself. It would also have a waste recycling facility. 20,000 residential units of Desert Rose City will be for Emiratis and 10,000 will be for expatriates.


Dubai South District

Dubai South District is the venue of Expo 2020. Sustainability is one of the themes of Expo 2020. Half of the electricity used by Expo during the event will come from wholly renewable sources, with half of this generated on the site itself. The vast majority of the material used in permanent construction on the site will be reused in building infrastructure.


Dubai Silicon Oasis

Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSOA) has succeeded in reducing cumulative energy consumption by 31 per cent exceeding the target set by Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 of 30 per cent. DSOA is implementing a number of initiatives in line with Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 including:


  • Power consumption of lights

    This includes a switch from 8,000 traditional lights to LED contributing to reducing power use by 1,178 megawatts or 23 per cent of total consumption.


  • Smart street lights

    DSOA is the first entity in the UAE that implemented street lighting based on smart technology. Motion sensors were used which provided 25 per cent visibility and triggered to full power by approaching vehicles and walkers, thus allowing less energy consumption.


  • Smart building technologies

    This includes placing sensors in buildings to manage electricity consumption to enable energy and cost savings and allowing automatic regulation of temperature throughout each building.


  • Smart lamp posts

    The initiative provides for the installation of intelligent systems, 24/7 alert and self-inspection systems, as well as applications for smart lightning.


  • Sewage water treatment

    The current sewage treatment plant in DSOA reduced operational costs by 70 per cent.


  • Smart weather pole

DSOA implemented the smart weather pole and integrated it within the sub-surface irrigation system. The pole is able to measure the temperature and humidity and supply the area with the most efficient amount of water thereby reducing around 55 per cent of the water used for irrigation.



In addition, the Government has passed several laws and launched several policies to protect the environment.


The UAE has set a body of legislations to ensure sustainable environment for life. These include:

Federal laws


Sustainability in environment

Some of the UAE’s efforts to bring a sustainable environment as per State of Environment Report 2015 are:

  • Establishing 46 Air Quality Monitoring Stations (as of 2013)
  • Engaging in the implementation of 14 projects for the purpose of reducing the emissions of greenhouse gas under the umbrella of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. The prospective total annual reduction of these projects is estimated to be about one million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2Eq).
  • Eliminating the consumption of numerous Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Halons and methyl bromide
  • Aiming to completely eliminate the consumption of Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2040
  • Constructing 130 dams and levees with a total storage capacity of about 120 million cubic meters of water as of 2013
  • Setting up 33 desalination plants to provide water requirements
  • Increasing forest area from 245 thousand hectares in 1990 to approximately 318.36 thousand hectares in 2011


Read about the services and information under environment and infrastructure in the UAE.


Read more about the sustainable development goal ‘Sustainable cities and communities’.

Achievement Progress