As we celebrate the National Day today, we open a new chapter in the history of this nation — the journey of the next 50 years that promises to be a turning point for the entire region.
There is so much to celebrate and reflect on as we mark the UAE’s 50th anniversary, so many milestones, so many extraordinary achievements and so many lessons learnt as we move forward to design and execute the next phase of development.
Globally, the past 12 months have been extremely challenging because of the persistent coronavirus pandemic and its economic and social impacts. In the UAE, however, it was a year to celebrate.
The UAE was one of the few countries to rightly declare that it had won the fight against one of the worst pandemics in human history. With efficient health system and a successful vaccination drive, that covered nearly the entire population, the UAE is now ranked on top of the list of the best countries in dealing with Covid-19.
It is the year of Expo 2020 Dubai, the greatest show on earth and the largest public gathering in the world. More than 190 countries are taking part in the six-month world fair, which opened its doors in October. It is the region’s first ever Expo.
It was also the year the UAE launched the Baraka Nuclear Power Plant, the Arab region’s first multi-unit, cementing the country’s proud status as a regional and global hub for renewable energy. It was a dream just few years ago. Today the construction of Unit 3 of Barakah nuclear energy plant is completed.
These are just three examples of the milestones in the past 12 months. The list is actually a longer one that also includes the largest legislative and legal overhaul in the nation’s history, announced by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan last week.
These reforms add to the growing “knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy, a world-class health care system, an advanced education sector, an integrated modern infrastructure, environmental sustainability, and an enviable status in global competitiveness rankings,” the President noted in his National Day message.
Today is the first day in the nation’s new journey with a solid and clear national plan, the UAE Centennial 2071 vision. This unique and ambitious vision is set to take the national development process to another level.
A vision that will “strengthen the Union, build a sustainable economy, harness all possible resources to build a more prosperous society, foster positive regional and global relations to achieve national goals, and support peace and stability across the world,” His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said.
Today we also remember the founding fathers of this proud nation. We remember the late Sheikh Zayed, whose vision and determination led to the establishment of this union. We also remember the first generation of the men and women who contributed to its development and progress.
We also pay tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to defend its security and values. Today, we celebrate our 50th anniversary with an unshakeable confidence in the nation’s future — the land where dreams come true.