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Speech of Dr. Joan Clos

 

United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Programme des Nations Unies pour les établissements humains - Programa de las Naciones Unidas para los Asentamientos HumanosRafik Hariri UN-Habitat Memorial Award Ceremony

Address

by Dr. Joan Clos

Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT

New York, 28 September 2012

Madam Nazek Hariri,

Your Excellencies,

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is indeed a great pleasure to be here with you all.  Today we remember a great and visionary leader, the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  At the same time, we honour the winner of the 2012 Rafik Hariri UN-Habitat Memorial Award,  

Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad,  former Prime Minister of Malaysia – another great leader.

Congratulations, Dr. Mahathir

During his time as Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir presided over an economic development period that was remarkable for urban social and technological innovations.  The development of industrial clusters as part of his development strategy, demonstrates the now recognized role of urban agglomerations in national economic development.  

Dr Mahathir’s life and work show tremendous forward-looking policies. By explicitly investing in physical, technological and knowledge infrastructure,

Dr Mahathir was in many ways ahead of his time.  His efforts resulted in the rapid planned development of key Malaysian cities and transformed the country from an agriculture-reliant economy to an urban industry-focused one.

I am sure that Dr. Mahathir’s recognition of the role of urbanization in development has contributed to the fact that today Malaysia has a very comprehensive national urbanization policy.  This policy emphasizes the importance of achieving a balance between economic, social and environmental aspects of development. It also promotes cities that are dense and compact, well serviced and productive. The policy also recognizes the importance of a quality social fabric that is enhanced by citizens’ participation, cultural vitality, safety and inclusiveness.  

Malaysia continues to be technologically innovative in many ways, including cutting edge urban infrastructure.  Only last year the City of Kuala Lumpur has been awarded the Habitat Scroll of Honour for the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel.  This innova­tive and unique tunnel functions as a storm water diversion channel closed to traffic during heavy rains. The rest of the time, it serves as a motorway tunnel that has significantly reduced traffic congestion, with more than 30,000 vehicles using it daily

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

We can draw many parallels between the work of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and Dr. Mahathir.  Both leaders realized the role of cities in promoting development as well as in mitigating conflict by producing and distributing prosperity.  

At UN-Habitat, we believe that the value of awards rests in how far they identify and recognize innovation and excellence.  Even more important, awards must be used to publicize good ideas, promote learning and exchange and produce even more innovation.  We believe in recognizing big and small heroes. The small heroes are cities and communities engaged in innovative projects on the ground, sometimes with very few resources.  When we effectively link the vision of people like the late Rafik Hariri, and Dr. Mahathir, with the energy and knowledge at the city level, I believe we multiply the capacity for positive change.

I wish to thank Madam Hariri and the Rafik Hariri Foundation for maintaining this award, as well as the international jury for their valuable work in selecting the winner.

Once again, congratulations to Dr. Mahathir.

Thank you for your attention

 

The Founder

Rafik Hariri philanthropic and developmental contributions are countless. The most remarkable being the multifaceted support to educate more than 36,000 Lebanese university students within Lebanon, and beyond.

Rafik Hariri philanthropic and developmental contributions are countless. The most remarkable being the multifaceted support to educate more than 36,000 Lebanese university students within Lebanon, and beyond.

Rafik Hariri philanthropic and developmental contributions are countless. The most remarkable being the multifaceted support to educate more than 36,000 Lebanese university students within Lebanon, and beyond.

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