Dar Launches An Action Plan For A Net Zero Future In The MENA Region

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At the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference 2022 (COP 27), international design firm Dar presented a research-backed action plan that countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) can follow to decarbonize three key sectors – the built environment, transportation, and water and energy resources – in order to achieve net zero ambitions.


Dar’s recommendations included:

  • In transportation: Accelerating transit investment and designing infrastructure for electrified transportation and equitable zero-emissions mobility.
  • For the built environment: Promoting an integrated approach to buildings and infrastructure, delivering high-performing buildings, and prioritizing existing building stock for retrofit.
  • In water and energy: Supporting the rollout of renewable microgrids, enabling integrated water cycle management with renewable energy strategy, and creating an enabling policy and investment environment for the energy transition.

If implemented at scale, these recommendations would power a much more rapid transition to net zero in the MENA region, while also improving the quality of life for communities and empowering governments to attract investments and talent.

Dar Group Chairman and CEO Talal Shair said, “As one of the world’s largest architecture, engineering, and consulting firms, Dar Group has a strong responsibility to empower stakeholders with implementable sustainability solutions, so we can all start to believe in a zero-carbon future. Our people are concerned about climate change, and we already have most of the technology and solutions we need to create a low-carbon future. Our mission is to deliver these ambitious climate solutions to our communities at scale, and that’s a job we know is possible, because we do it every day.”

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Balsam Nehme, Dar’s Sustainability Lead, commented, “One of the greatest challenges we face as engineers, planners, and architects is designing projects that truly demonstrate proactive climate leadership and meet the emission reduction goals of the Paris Agreement. With our research and expertise, we want to make it easier for stakeholders in our region to decarbonize key sectors that contribute most to climate change in the drive towards achieving net zero in our markets.”

Peter O’Sullivan, CEO of Dar Group company Penspen, added, “A key challenge in getting to net zero is decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors such as industry, transportation, and buildings. As energy transition specialists, we are looking at options such as green hydrogen which not only provide long-term decarbonization solutions but also form a significant opportunity for regions like the Middle East and North Africa.”

Net zero solutions for the built environment and the energy transition

To drive the conversation on these solutions, Dar organized a series of side events at COP 27, bringing together experts from the World Green Building Council, PwC, WEF, JLL, and C40 Cities as well as Dar Group companies such as Perkins&Will, Penspen, Introba, and Currie & Brown.

  1. An integrated net zero approach (November 10th, UN Building Pavilion, Blue Zone)
  2. Decarbonizing the built environment (November 10th, UN Building Pavilion, Blue Zone)
  3. Towards net zero solutions (November 10th, Egyptian Pavilion, Green Zone)
  4. Navigating the energy transition (November 11th, Egyptian Pavilion, Green Zone)
  5. Decarbonisation process & highlighting sectorial benefits in moving towards a circular economy (November 10th, Business Pavilion of Egypt, Green Zone)
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Industry partnerships for sustainability and resilience

At COP 27, Dar joined the formal launch of the “Roof Over Our Heads” campaign, a new campaign that aims to improve, by 2050, the lives of 2 billion climate-vulnerable people living in informal settlements.

To drive policy, Dar’s sustainability specialists collaborated with the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Egypt Green Building Council for a session focused on green building rating systems and the adaptation of a net zero model.

With a focus on sustainable transportation and a net zero future for the built environment, Dar also joined the World Economic Forum’s “Coming together for sustainable urban mobility” session as well as the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action’s “Achieving the Built Environment 2030 Breakthrough” Implementation Lab. The purpose of these partnerships is to leverage expertise across businesses and research tanks to collectively create and promote solutions for sustainability.

Dar will continue to work with its global partners to deliver sustainability solutions to our clients and communities and advance research and thought leadership on sustainability issues in preparation for Dubai’s COP 28.

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