Acting Director of Dubai Municipality, Hussain Nasser Lootah, opened the seventh international conference on coastal and port engineering, PIANC-COPEDEC VII, and concurrent exhibition Waterfront 2008 today at InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Close to 1,000 industry professionals attended.
Addressing the Opening Ceremony, Mr Lootah underlined the significance and timeliness of the conference in light of the expanding development of waterfront engineering projects in Dubai and across the region.
Mr Lootah identified several vital touchpoints of the conference, including its focus on coastal and port infrastructure engineering, management and planning of ports and marinas, development of waterfronts and beaches, monitoring of beach movements, risk management for coastal areas, and the importance of protecting the coastal environment.
About Dubai Municipalityâ€™s involvement in PIANC-COPEDEC VII, he said, â€œWe are presenting three papers showcasing best practices that deal with the main theme of the conference. These include a coastal process modelling-based Decision Support System for Live Management of the Dubai dynamic coastal zone, coastal modeling of the Dubai coastline with emphasis on morphological model validation, and shoreline management of the Dubai coast.
Following Mr Lootahâ€™s address, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi environment Agency, Majid Al Mansouri, noted climate change related issues that the world faces. He identified that the per capita share of potable water in West Asia decreased from 1,700 cubic metres to 907 cubic metres during 1985 to 2005. He also compared a 60% increase in the aridity of fertile land to a 75% increase in the population. He identified changes in consumer habits and increase in hazardous waste leading to ecological imbalances. â€œOur coasts are repeatedly subjected to development risks including increased pollution, salinity, and overuse of fisheries wealth, plus numbers of people now choosing to reside in waterfront areas, and the growing amount of industrial projects, water treatment plants, and power production.
Dr Ranjit Galappatti, Chairman of the International Organising Committee, commented that much progress has been made in the fields of coastal and port engineering over the last 25 years. PIANC-COPEDEC was originally established to provide a forum where coastal and port engineering professionals from developing countries could interact with colleagues from more developed areas. The goal of this was to exchange knowledge in both directions and empower those from developing nations to take a grater role in the development of their countries. Nowadays, professionals from developing countries are more confident and assertive about charting their own course of development.
Mr Eric Van den Eede, President of PIANC, welcomed delegates and introduced Brussels-based PIANC as a global organisation providing guidance for sustainable waterborne transport infrastructures for ports and waterways. He emphasised that, in effecting this role, PIANCâ€™s core objective until 2010 is to address young professionals worldwide.
Following the Opening Ceremony, Mr Lootah opened Waterfront 2008, the exhibition of products, technologies and services featuring some 30 companies including sponsors Platinum Sponsor Sama Dubai, Gold Sponsor Roads and Transport Authority Dubai, and Silver Sponsor Dubai Maritime City.
Keynote addresses were then heard by His Excellency Nayef Al Kalali, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Works and Housing, Bahrain and Datin Paduka O.C. Phang, General Manager of Malaysiaâ€™s Port Klang Authority and President of the International Association of Ports and Harbors.
The technical conference began in earnest afterwards, with todayâ€™s sessions devoted to Port Planning, Coastal Resort Development, Wave Modelling, Sea States, Low Crested Structures, Shoreline Modelling, Measurement Techniques, and Wave Climate.
PIANC-COPEDEC VII continues until Thursday 28 February.
For further information:
Thajudeen V Aliar, tel: +971 50 588 1278
Toby Ingram, tel: +971 55 8822759
For and on behalf of Dubai Municipality, host and main sponsor of