Shahram Shirkhani

Expertise in matters of international law, commercial arbitration, and finance

Dubai Plans to Cut Energy Consumption by 20 Percent

The government of Dubai has made great strides in its initiative to cut energy consumption, primarily through the creation of a green building certification program. Recognizing that buildings are the biggest consumers of energy in Dubai, the Supreme Council of Energy partnered with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Dubai Municipality to develop the program, which set new standards for green-certified buildings.

To attain certification as a green building, a structure must meet 79 criteria, including standards regarding the type of air-conditioning equipment, water heaters, and insulation that can be used. First developed in 2008, the standards for certification became mandatory for government buildings in 2011. In 2014, the requirements were extended to all new buildings.

Experts estimate that following the green certification standards adds only 5 percent to the cost of construction while decreasing carbon dioxide output by 20 percent and water consumption by 15 percent on top of any energy savings. The Dubai government hopes to decrease citywide energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020.


Dubai Energy Consumption, Green Building Certification Program, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai Municipality

ABOUT Dr. Shahram Shirkhani

Highly regarded for his expertise in matters of international law, commercial arbitration, and finance, Dr. Shahram Shirkhani provides legal advisory services to institutional clients in the Middle East, Europe, and beyond. Based in Tehran, Iran, for more than 25 years, Dr. Shirkhani began his career as a legal advisor for the Iranian Foreign Investment Authority in the mid-1980s, in which capacity he handled financing for the oil sector, arranged international gold transactions, and facilitated several major industrial development projects. After graduating from the Islamic University in Tehran with a Ph.D. in Law, Dr. Shahram Shirkhani accepted a teaching post at Islamic Azad University, where he now instructs students as a tenured Professor of Law.

Over the years, Dr. Shirkhani has split his time between teaching responsibilities and legal work at home and abroad, notably serving in a consulting position with Adib Law Firm in the 1990s. In that capacity, Dr. Shahram Shirkhani played a key role in the financing of public transportation projects in West Azerbaijan Province and the development of the Kish and Qeshm free trade zones, among other accomplishments. In 1998, he co-founded International Law & Trade Consultants, where he worked as a partner for the next seven years. His achievements during that time included spearheading the acquisitions of Oil Industry Investment Company and Pars Oil Company. In addition, Dr. Shahram Shirkhani arranged financing for industrial projects throughout the Middle East, helped bring Saudi Arabian Airlines to Tehran, and secured a $100 million loan for auto manufacturer Iran Khodro.

After leaving International Law & Trade Consultants, Dr. Shahram Shirkhani launched the International Law Firm of Shirkhani & Alavi, where he holds responsibilities as a founding partner concurrent to his teaching duties at Islamic Azad University.

British Ambassador to UAE Talks Business

The British ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Dominic Jermey, sat down to an interview with the Khaleej Times during the UK Ministry of Trade and Investment's international trade program "Great Week UAE" in March. In the wide-ranging question-and-answer session, the ambassador discussed the business ties between the UK and the UAE.

Speaking on bilateral trade, Mr. Jermey described the situation as "excellent." He pointed out that the UAE is Britain's largest trade partner in the Middle East, with significant growth in 2013. Furthermore, he mentioned that trade is on track to exceed US$20 billion by 2015.

Asked about the UK's recent electronic visa waiver for visitors to Britain from the Gulf region, the ambassador noted that the effort is intended to facilitate business and travel for an important segment of international travelers to the UK. Mr. Jermey expects business between the two countries to continue to thrive. He pointed out that two British centers for business will open in the UAE by the end of the year. These facilities, located in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, will help introduce small, innovative British businesses to UAE markets.

Over the course of the interview, Mr. Jermey noted the strong cooperation between the UK and the UAE in the retail, energy, and aerospace industries. He went on to suggest that there are a number of other sectors to be explored through the partnership, including education, health care, telecommunications, and transport.

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Joint UK-UAE Educational Initiatives

Perhaps more so than any other area, education has played a central role in international cooperation between the UK and UAE. Schools such as the British School Al Khubairat in the UAE have educated children of many different nationalities for more than four decades. At the college level, the Strathclyde Business School in Abu Dhabi and Dubai offers a number of master’s degree programs.

In the UK, the London School of Economics recently joined forces with UAE Foreign Affairs Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to establish the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies. Cambridge University partners with the UAE University, which hosted Cambridge Vice Chancellor Alison Richard at its 2009 convocation ceremony.

Due in part to a large personal donation from HH Sheikh Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Royal College of Surgeons constructed its Institute for Ageing Research and Medicine of the Elderly in the 1990s. Today, the Royal College of Surgeons maintains close ties with the UAE and represents a prime opportunity for UAE students to study medicine.

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The UK and UAE Partner on Construction and Engineering Projects

One of the fastest-growing and most economically viable regions in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) currently boasts a thriving construction and engineering industry. The UAE draws upon key partnerships with British engineering, design, and construction companies, which have played an integral role in the growth of the UAE in recent years.

British companies took on a number of important responsibilities during the construction of the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which stands as the third-largest mosque in the world. Hyder Consulting provided services such as airflow analysis and specialty lighting, while Halcrow oversaw structural concerns for the exterior of the mosque. In 2007, Foster & Partners worked with the Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Properties to design the Central Market development and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum. As a member of the National Media Council in Abu Dhabi, Foster & Partners designed the UAE pavilion at the 2010 World EXPO in Shanghai.

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Sharjah - The Heart of UAE Manufacturing

Most people recognize the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which currently stand as the two most prominent members of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but nearly half of all industrial activity in the UAE takes place in the emirate of Sharjah, a close neighbor of Dubai. The only emirate located on both the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf Coast, Sharjah also contains a considerable portion of the country’s gas reserves.

Aside from its industrial activity, Sharjah enjoys a rich cultural tradition that stretches back nearly a century. Recognized as the Capital of Islamic Culture in 2014, Sharjah is home to a number of mosques topped with distinctive minarets, art museums, and traditional souks, or open-air markets. Sharjah has also gained recognition as an international tourism destination, due in large part to its sprawling sandy beaches and beautiful blue waters. Visitors to the emirate can also travel to the inland desert to catch a glimpse of vast red sand dunes.

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