COMSTECH with the support of OIC General Secretariat organized the “International Workshop on Sustainable Cities: Issues & Challenges of Rapid Urbanization” at COMSTECH Secretariat, Islamabad, between 28-29, January 2020. The event was organized under the main thematic area of sustainable urban development, as one of the activities commemorating the 50 years of OIC.

The workshop was organized for capacity building in the light of the core mandate of COMSTECH to strengthen cooperation among OIC Member States in science and technology (S&T) and to enhance their capabilities through training in emerging areas.

The workshop gathered over 80 scientists, experts, policy makers and young research scholars from several OIC Member States. The workshop continued for 2 days and experts gave insights into new technological advancements, challenges faced in urban centers, solutions for tackling these problems. They also explained how research, development and well defined governance and management models that emphasize municipal level engagement are required to overcome these issues.

The resource persons spoke on the following thematic areas:

  • Urban Infrastructure Management
  • Energy Efficient Buildings / Green Buildings
  • Role of ICT for Transforming Urban Centers to Smart Cities
  • Waste Management
  • Environmental Impacts of Urbanization
  • Governance Issues & Challenges
  • Sustainable Urban Transport
  • Public Private Partnership: Inclusiveness and Funding Schemes

Keynote lecture for the workshop was delivered by Dr. Ishrat Hussain, eminent economist and Advisor to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms & Austerity. Dr. Tariq Banuri, Coordinator General COMSTECH, and himself one of the pioneers of sustainable development, also gave a comprehensive overview of the challenges faced in sustainable urbanization.

In all, the workshop had 6 working sessions. In addition a concluding session was designed as a panel discussion of experts to discuss prospects and suggest policy recommendations to tackle the challenges of rapid urbanization. The panel discussed policy framework under two main themes: Governance, and Urban design respectively. Around these two themes the panelists emphasized on improvement and innovation in the governance structure through an integrated approach towards the various urban facilities, with clear definition of federal, state and local responsibilities, and the involvement of private sector through a well thought out regulatory framework.

Resource persons and participants from Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan and Turkey contributed to the workshop and shared their research and practices in the field of Sustainable Urban Development.

Summarizing, the workshop identified the core issues, explored the possible solutions and suggested policy recommendations for adoption by the stakeholders to cope with the challenges of rapid urbanization. The workshop focused on the different technology options, required institutional policy framework, and financial instruments to support the process of sustainable development. The main suggestions to emerge from the workshop were:

  1. Inclusive and integrated approach to national development agenda and policy making
  2. Role of non-conventional stakeholders through a well-informed regulatory framework in place
  3. Governance and control transfer to lower level at smaller administrative units, such as local government
  4. Need for out of box thinking with an enhanced ability to innovate and introduce new concepts
  5. Monitoring of the processes and implementation of urban infrastructure projects
  • Suggestions were invited from different stakeholders so as to formally establish an OIC working group on Sustainable Urban Development.
  • The Abstracts of all the lectures delivered would be compiled and published by COMSTECH, and shared with the OIC organs and Member States.

The resource persons and the topics of their presentations were as follows:




Presentation Title


Mr. Mohammad Asfour


Sustainable Urbanization Efforts in the MENA Region


Prof. Dato’ Dr. Alias Abdullah


The SDG Metaphor in Urbanization and Infrastructure Planning Management


Dr. Kenan Bagci


Sustainable Urbanization Efforts in OIC Countries


Dr. Syed M. Hassan


Transit-oriented Development


Dr. Mahmoud Bououd


Energy Efficient Buildings in Arab Region - Challenges & Opportunities


Mr. Aqrab Ali Rana


Pakistan Green Building Codes


Mr. Asad Mehmood


Energy Conservation: Salient Aspects and Way Forward


Dr. Shahid Mahmud


Role of ICT: Anticipatory Governance for Future Cities


Mr. Babar Abbas


Solid Waste Management Scenario in Pakistan


Dr. Qaiser Mehmood


Waste Water Treatment


Ms. Qudsia Zafar


Smog Sources Identification, Dynamics and Trends: A Climatological Perspective


Dr.Kaiser Bengali


Addressing Urban Chaos for Integrated Governance


Mr. Zafar Iqbal Zafar


Role of Local Governments in Transforming Urban Centers


Ms. Shumaila Mohsin


Achieving Sustainability through Mass Transit Schemes 


Mr. M. Haris Akram


E-mobility: The Future of Urban Transport


Mr. Asghar Khan, Barrister


Public Private Partnerships: Inclusiveness and funding schemes

Panel Discussion (Prospects, Policy Measures and Recommendations)




Momee Saleem, Executive Director, Institute of Urbanism






  • Mr. Mohammad Asfour (Head of MENA & Africa, World Green Building Council)


  • Prof. Dato’ Dr. Alias Abdullah (International Islamic University, Malaysia)


  • Dr. Kenan Bagci (SESRIC, Turkey)


  •  Dr. Mahmoud Bououd (RCREEE, Egypt)


  • Dr.Kaiser Bengali


  • Mr. Asghar Khan, Barrister


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