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Abu Dhabi, Brisbane ink sister city agreement

Abu Dhabi-Brisbane, 2 Feb. 2009 (WAM): H.E. Khalifa Al Mazrouei, General Manager of the Abu Dhabi City Municipality and Campbell Newman, Lord Mayor of Brisbane City Council, today jointly signed a ‘Sister City agreement’ between Abu Dhabi City and Brisbane City under the patronage and in presence of H.E. Eng. Ahmed Al Shareef, Undersecretary of the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA).

The signing ceremony took place at the Abu Dhabi City Municipality, and was attend by the Ambassador of Australia to the UAE, Jeremy Bruer, including a high level Australian delegation with and a number of Abu Dhabi City Municipality and Department of Municipal Affairs Executive Directors.

Commenting on the agreement, H.E. Eng. Ahmed Al Shareef, Undersecretary of the DMA, said: "Abu Dhabi is not just seeking to develop its economy and to transform to a sustainable knowledge based economy; the aim is for the Emirate to take its place among the most successful economies of the world by 2030.

''The Abu Dhabi Government will judge the success of its economic performance against the performance of the most successful economies globally. In particular, it will look to benchmark against the experiences of flourishing ‘transformation economies." "Today’s agreement is in line with the overall strategy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and aims at creating an advanced municipal system that enables sustainable development and enhances the quality of living in the emirate," he added.

H.E Khalifa Al Mazrouei, General Manager of Abu Dhabi City Municipality, outlined the purpose of the ‘Sister City Agreement’ is to enter into a formal strategic cooperation arrangement to effectively promote and advance the economic development and social infrastructure to the mutual benefit of both the cities of Brisbane and Abu Dhabi.

H.E Al Mazrouei noted that the development of this Sister City relationship is logical as both Brisbane and Abu Dhabi have many similar characteristics, including the fact that: o Both cities are undergoing rapid urban development and population growth o Both cities have extensive multi-cultural populations o Both cities are facing a number of common challenges, for example, major infrastructure development, outsourcing provision of services, planning for sustainable use of finite resources; water conservation and management; and the management of major increases in traffic flows and congestion o Both cities are also striving to be globally important and to adopt best practice operations The agreement will not only benefit both cities in terms of economic outcomes, but also through information sharing of skills and knowledge at a civic and municipal level.

Both of the parties to this agreement are committed to use their best endeavors to mutually develop and to assist each other with best practice experiences, knowledge transfer and improvements in a range of municipal services, processes, procedures, policies and activities, including: Development of human resources expertise and capabilities Implementation of best practice laws, regulations and processes in the field of government and corporate governance Skills transfer and training in Local Government including Municipality/Council affairs Ongoing and sharing best practice, experience and expertise in municipal service delivery, particularly with on line customer and community services Infrastructure planning and development Project management Reception of delegations and international public relations Best practice experience with the outsourcing of municipal services Events and Exhibitions organizing Strategic Planning and Performance Management Other fields to be mutually agreed upon by the parties In addition, and as part of the agreement, both cities will assist and support each other, within the context of their responsibilities, with the identification, promotion and development of: Trade and tourism promotion opportunities Social and cultural exchanges Trade and Investment For Abu Dhabi City, the immediate benefits of this agreement will be to continue to learn from and adopt the best practice municipal operations of the Brisbane City Council. The Sister City Agreement will also identify opportunities for enhancing knowledge, the exchange of best practices experiences, and a range of other ongoing collaborative actions between the two cities." The growth that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is witnessing and the need to adopt international best practice was one of the reasons behind Abu Dhabi’s interest in developing a closer working relationship with Brisbane, Australia. Brisbane is seen as having best practice municipal services and was in fact benchmarked by the Abu Dhabi Government in its recent modernisation program for government operations.

Al Mazrouei explained: "Abu Dhabi City Municipality is committed to ensuring sustainable growth and utilizing urban planning ‘best practices’ to transform the city of Abu Dhabi into the modern cosmopolitan capital for the UAE. This agreement with Brisbane City in Australia is a great chance for the Abu Dhabi City Municipality to acquire firsthand knowledge on some of the best practices implemented in the Brisbane City municipal services and to adopt them to our own operations." He noted that, in addition to Abu Dhabi benefiting from best practice skills and knowledge transfer, the agreement represents a sound basis for a productive and long term relationship for two cities that are fast emerging as globally important and which can assist each other across a range of mutually important challenges.

© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2009.

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