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08 December 2023

Nakheel unveils Dh200m plan for sustainable coasts

By Joseph George


Developer Nakheel yesterday launched a Dh200 million initiative aimed at promoting the development of sustainable coastal projects. The Dubai-based company said it will invest the money in the scheme – called Blue Communities – over the next three years.

International and local experts will establish a set of standards to be followed by developers engaged in coastal projects – at present no such scheme exists. And there will be a Blue Communities charter and governing body. Nakheel is building a number of massive coastal and offshore developments in Dubai, including the three Palm projects, The World and Dubai Waterfront.

Yesterday the company announced two new ventures – an island community called the Universe and plans to redevelop Port Rashid.

“The Blue Communities scheme is a call to action,” said Nakheel Executive Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem (pictured above with Sheikh Mayed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum).
“Almost two-thirds of the world’s population lives in coastal communities and a large amount of development is taking place in these locations. There is a need for significant investment in research and development and the positive transformation of these environments. Our investment of Dh200 million demonstrates Nakheel’s commitment to this new initiative.”

Full details of the Universe and Port Rashid projects will be revealed at the Tourism Development Projects and Investment Market (TDIM) exhibition, which opens in Dubai today. The Universe – described as being “inspired by the spirit of discovery” – will be built on reclaimed islands in the shape of a cradle beneath The World and will stretch from The Palm Jumeirah to Port Rashid. It will follow the principles established by the Blue Communities initiative, whose offices will be at Port Rashid.

Emirates Business recently revealed that the port’s container facilities were being moved to Jebel Ali. The redevelopment will take the form of a tribute to Sheikh Rashid and will reflect the history of Dubai while boasting the most modern dock facilities.

Nakheel Chief Executive Chris O’Donnell told Emirates Business: “We are already following the world’s best practices and our idea is to go a step further and find the next level in sustainability. Blue Communities will be like a think tank and will engage leading thinkers, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to take an active role in developing the initiative. The long-term aim is for Blue Communities to provide leadership in the development of sustainable coastal communities.”

The new initiative will fund research and development activity and promote active engagement with international experts on the issues of sustainable development and the construction, management and governance of coastal communities around the world.

Bin Sulayem said Nakheel, which was formed in 2001, has achieved a great deal in a short time.

“We are known worldwide as an innovator, building icons and landmarks for the future. We are a leader in the region and internationally and we have written the rule book on waterfront development. We now want to take that pioneering approach and apply it to the creation of Blue Communities,” he said.

The launch event, which was attended by 500 leading figures from government, industry and media, was held in a specially constructed dome on the beachfront behind Nakheel’s sales centre at The Palm Jumeirah.

Earlier this year Nakheel signed a four-year agreement with the United Nations University on Marine Ecosystem Management to develop a comprehensive environmental monitoring programme for the waters of the Arabian Gulf. The scheme is intended to help maintain sustainable marine ecosystems and reduce adverse impacts. The plan is to engage a team of leading coastal management experts and includes a review of Nakheel’s existing monitoring activities.

Plans will be designed and implemented for sustainable management of the marine environments in and around the major coastal projects initiated by Nakheel.

Nakheel will play a key role at the first TDIM exhibition, where it will have the largest stand in the company’s history. Its waterfront developments will feature in two large domes. The company will unveil a 13-metre scale model of Dubai and present a show detailing the role the waterfront has played in the growth of the city.
Nakheel – part of Dubai World – is one of the world’s largest privately held property developers and its projects are projected to be worth $60 billion. When completed, its waterfront schemes will add more than 1,000km of shoreline to Dubai’s coastline.

The numbers

Dh200m: Cost of Nakheel’s new Blue Communities initiative

$60bn: Projected value of Nakheel’s construction projects