In a lavish ceremony in Bogota, Colombia, El Gouna City has received the Global Green City award sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program.
This award is handed to cities displaying substantial measures and efforts in progress within the field of environmental sustainability, especially cities that adhere to a strict environment conservation plan and employ different mechanisms for sustainability and a greener community. El Gouna is the first city to receive this award locally as well as the first in Africa and the Arab Region.
Engineer Samih Sawiris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orascom Development Holding, explained, "El Gouna has been working on a complete plan to create a clean, green and unique environment. The plan entails several actions to lower carbon emissions as well as the use of clean renewable energy, better management and lowering of electricity consumption in addition to finding energy efficiency and employing energy saving techniques." He adds "The plan uses several mechanisms and protocols such as replacing traditional street lighting with energy saving lights and replacing diesel based public transportation vehicles with electricity using vehicles."
He also added, "We have employed several techniques for using renewable energy in buildings and establishments within the community as well as several protocols for recycling waste, we have gone to increasing greenery throughout the city to limit our carbon emissions ratio." Sawiris stressed the fact that these techniques are essential in lowering electricity consumption, which also works as an active solution to the current energy crisis facing Egypt."
On the other side, Sawiris Foundation for Environmental Development is working in El Gouna on employing suitable successful endeavors and becoming a pioneer in green economy and sustainability in Egypt and Africa. These efforts will help build a unique tourism destination in Egypt as El Gouna now combines both breathtaking scenery and a safer green environment, making Egypt one of the top tourist attractions.
It is noteworthy that this prestigious award has been previously handed by the Global Forum on Human Settlements to several cities around the world such as Santa Monica in the United States, Vancouver in Canada, Nantes in France, Yokohama in Japan and Rockdale in Australia. This is the ninth run of the annual event held by the Global Forum on Human Settlements. The Global Forum on Human Settlements honors cities, companies and individuals taking serious steps for a greener more sustainable environment. There were 8 cities competing for the award, the appraisal committee selected 3 cities to get the award El Gouna (Egypt), Vancouver (Canada) and Liaoning (China).
During the ceremony, a presentation was given to portray the vision of Engineer Samih Sawiris and the journey to turn 50 km of open desert on Egypt's east coast to a green, luxurious and environmentally-friendly top Red Sea destination. The Orascom Development Holding booth was visited by a large number of invitees and, most notably, the Mayor of Santa Monica (Los Angeles) Pam O'Connor who acclaimed ODH projects and El Gouna initiatives.