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Demands to focus on renewable energy and urban expansion
Published in Daily News Egypt on 04 - 09 - 2012

By Mohamed Magdy
Head of the Centre for Sustainability and Future Studies at the British University in Egypt, Ahmed Rashed, said Prime Minister Hesham Qandil's government should deal seriously with new cities as an important launching point for development, whether by extending facilities to them or providing suitable accommodation and methods enabling production at a reasonable cost, like use of energy as an incentive for production.
Speaking at a seminar held at the Egyptian Syndicate of Journalists on Sunday about ‘development and urbanism', Rashed said talk of decentralisation in Egypt is groundless as Egypt is developed on only five percent of its total land.
“This requires that Egypt should get out of this narrow Nile valley through a clear government plan carried out as soon as possible,” Rashed said.
Rashed criticised the government's current plans, including importing a superfast train running from Cairo to Alexandria, saying: “the action will not render any service to the country and it is preferable to use it in a new area or place that needs development.”
Magy Sami, head of the architecture section at the Engineering Syndicate, asserted the necessity of integrating Egypt's new constitution and legislation, calling for new legislation to be enacted to help planning and administration bodies build new urban societies in a legal way after the spread of unlicensed buildings.
He said enacting legislation would protect citizens through well-built homes, ending informal building and confronting illegal construction on state land.
Olfa Tantawi, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) advocacy and communication official, urged the integration of small-sized projects into the state plan after they were ignored for a long time by amending article number 19 of the current draft constitution to allow private employers and informal craftsmen to officially join the state economy.
“This amendment will revive national industry as 95 percent of small industries are not officially registered,” Olfa added.
Olfa called for involving people from all classes in decision-making regarding the urban and development plans and givng them to information so they might hold authorities accountable.

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