Shaikh Mohammad pointed out at the cabinet meeting yesterday that the UAE currently operates six satellites and is investing more than Dh20 billion in the field of space technology. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: The Cabinet has approved the UAE’s National Space Policy that will aim to regulate the country’s space sector.

The approval came during a Cabinet meeting held on Sunday at the Presidential Palace chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, were present.

The policy complements the UAE Vision 2021, which aims for the UAE to have a stable diverse economy that excels in flexibility, the adoption of new economic models and can achieve maximum benefit from global partnerships.

Shaikh Mohammad pointed out that the UAE currently operates six satellites and is investing more than Dh20 billion in the field of space technology. “Our ambition has no limits, and developments are ongoing to achieve our aspirations. We have the largest regional operator in the field of space transport, largest international companies in space insurance, a regulatory and legislative environment and various research centres that will ultimately benefit our people and all of mankind,” said Shaikh Mohammad.

Shaikh Mohammad emphasised that the UAE is striving to build a strong and sustainable space sector that can support and protect national interests and different vital sectors. He indicated that a space sector would add diversity and growth to the UAE’s economy, enhance the capabilities of specialised Emiratis, as well as spread and empower the culture of innovation, boost national pride and consolidate the UAE’s regional and global stature.

“We have the economic foundations, a comprehensive infrastructure and the capabilities of Emiratis and others that made the UAE capable of exploring space prior to the golden jubilee of the UAE’s establishment. The founder of the UAE had a sharp vision for ushering in the future. This was proved when he received a delegation from the US’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) back in 1976, conveying a message to the people in the UAE, region and the world that the UAE’s aspirations has no limits,” added Shaikh Mohammad.

Shaikh Mohammad said that the UAE, thanks to the vision of the founding fathers, was able to join the international space community and is today racing to become a leader in the field before the country’s golden jubilee.

The move comes in line with the UAE’s keenness on boosting its international status and supporting its friendly relations with many countries around the world.

The policy will have a direct and indirect impact on vital sectors by boosting levels of cooperation and coordination in the field of space at the national and international levels. It will strengthen the role space activities play in supporting national interests in the area of security, safety and crisis management.

The space sector will contribute to the economic sector by encouraging and attracting foreign investments, in addition to bolstering the exploration and management of the UAE’s natural resources.

In the field of environment, the policy will boost national capabilities in the exchange of information on Earth, climate and environmental observation. On the social level, it will increase levels of awareness, education and research capabilities in the space sector.

New council

The Cabinet approved setting up a Climate Change and Environment Council. It will be tasked with proposing general policies on climate change and green development, in addition to drawing up plans and projects that will reduce climate change. It will bolster joint work in the areas of environment and municipality services that are related to climate change.

The council will also be responsible for overseeing and implementing the UAE’s Green Development Strategy, and represent the UAE in regional and international negotiations pertaining to climate change.

The UAE ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change, which is in line with UAE Vision 2021 and the nation’s role in further boosting the UAE’s leading role in using clean energy and reducing climate change.

The Cabinet also approved a number of agreements including one with Qatar concerning air transport services and two others with the government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Macedonia regarding air transport services.