Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed along with ministers and senior government officials during a session at the Annual Government Meetings. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Around 120 initiatives were launched in 30 sectors at the federal and local levels on the first day of the two-day Annual Government Meetings that got under way in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

The meetings were chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The meetings constitute the largest governmental gathering of its kind in the UAE. They will see the launch of strategies designed to advance the country’s development towards UAE Centennial 2071.

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid discussing government strategies with officials during a session. Photo: WAM

The 30 sectors include economics, infrastructure and housing, health and prevention, youth, environment, energy, higher education and scientific research, media, smart services, science, technology and innovation, gender balance, government excellence and more.

A series of workshops and specialised lectures are being held to discuss and prepare for the challenges and opportunities predicted to arise over the next five decades.

The progress of the 120 initiatives launched in 30 sectors will be assessed at the same meetings in 2018, and then continuously till the goals of UAE Vision 2021 are achieved.

Some of the pillars that the initiatives fall under include laws, services, building national databases, reports and studies, strategic plans, and overall national guidelines.

Addressing ministers and officials at the meetings, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid said: “A historic lecture by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed to our young citizens formed the basis of our national vision for the next 50 years. An important aspect of the lecture was preparing for the future of the UAE. Today, 30 teams took the first step towards UAE Centennial 2071.”

  Natural resources are not everlasting... We seek to empower generations with education, a strong economy and a plan for the future that is the most advanced in the world."

 - Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid

He continued: “Natural resources are not everlasting. However, the intellectual person who pioneers the future and adapts to global changes will persevere. We seek to empower many more generations with education, a strong economy and a plan for the future that is the most advanced in the world.

“Those who create the future do not surrender to luck or circumstance; planning the future is the first step in defining it.

“Shaikh Zayed built our stable and prosperous nation and left us with one request: to keep working until we become the best in the world,” he concluded.

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed chairs a session. Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, is to his left. Photo: WAM

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed also stressed the importance of an annual gathering of government leaders to focus on defining the UAE’s future.

He said: “These meetings represent a pioneering national initiative. The UAE’s future prosperity is a responsibility shouldered by everyone in our nation. We can only achieve our ambitious goals for the future with strategic foresight and by acting together as a team.

  The UAE’s prosperity is a responsibility shouldered by everyone in our nation. We can only achieve our ambitious goals with strategic foresight and by acting together.”

 - Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed

“Our forefathers are our role models, and set a glowing example of how we can face challenges and build our nation with the future in mind. Today, we seek a prosperous UAE for our future generations, building our nation as one of the best countries in the world. This was always Shaikh Zayed’s desire.”

Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, chaired a meeting with seven committees from the Executive Councils of all emirates, launching three initiatives dedicated to enhancing cooperation between the various councils.

Shaikh Mansour, Shaikh Abdullah, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, and Shaikh Rashid Bin Saud Bin Rashid Al Mualla, Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain, attending a session. Photo: WAM

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed also attended a meeting on the future of education in the UAE, alongside Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, and Dr Ahmad Bel Houl, Minister of State for Higher Education Affairs. They stressed on the dedication of the UAE’s leadership to establishing a superior educational system, focused on technology and innovative educational models that will empower future generations with the skills to deal with upcoming challenges, and to build a bright future for the UAE.

The meetings are being attended by over 450 dignitaries, including ministers and heads of executive councils.

The UAE government annual meetings seek to follow up on the objectives and results achieved in the UAE Vision 2021 strategy, which aims to make see the UAE become among the best countries in the world in various fields by 2021. The meetings are also a platform for the largest and most comprehensive gathering of its kind for government at both the local and federal levels. They are an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities in national development and to focus government action in various sectors by creating plans, programmes and policies, as well as harmonizing these initiatives, on the path toward UAE Centennial 2071.

Over 120 initiatives for 30 national pillars were launched on Tuesday. Below is the list of pillars, including examples of the key initiatives launched at the meetings.

Social services
Three initiatives, including one dedicated to providing family counselling services that seek to provide families with the tools to achieve happiness.

Laws and legislation
Five initiatives, including the launch of an annual agenda for legislations in the UAE, in order to coordinate all efforts to achieve the national agenda goals.

The environment
Three initiatives, including the development of an integrated national programme to address challenges in the face of climate change and ensure the flexibility of the economic and social development processes in response to climate change.

Health and prevention services
Two initiatives, including developing an integrated national birth and death registry, linked to a smart data system.

Youth services
Four initiatives including the one titled Youth Echoes, is an annual report that seeks to collect the thoughts and feedback of young people on various national matters and to share them with the relevant decision-makers and officials in order to make the voices of the youth heard.

Seven initiatives, including one dedicated to studying how various countries around the world source and utilise natural gas in order to recommend and implement the most appropriate regulatory regime for the UAE’s natural gas market.

Local education — Emirati School
Four initiatives, including one dedicated to standardising public and private schools’ educational models in order to set a new and consistent academic standard for all schools in the UAE.

Higher education and scientific research
Three initiatives, one of which, titled National Standards For Quality Assurance of Higher Education Institutions, includes standardising academic requirements to develop a higher-quality education system.

The economy
Six initiatives, including implementing national initiatives that promote non-oil foreign trade by facilitating trade, national exports and imports and e-commerce.

Financial policy
Four initiatives, including liquidity management and developing local loan systems that support investment and projects, and providing new government financing instruments.

Science, Technology and Innovation
Three initiatives, including the Emirates Smart Data Centre, a large-scale Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform dedicated to the strategic analysis of data.

Governmental human resources
Six initiatives, one of which is the Future Skills Study, which seeks to analyse and forecast future trends, then align with academic institutions to offer the necessary requirements in order to prepare young generations for the future.

Government leadership and capacity
Three initiatives, one of which is developing a framework for Emirati leaders, and introducing a database of national leaders and their competencies, mapped to the objectives of the UAE government.

Three initiatives. One example is that leading media institutions will collaborate with academic institutions in order to provide competitive educational programmes focused on the needs and best practices of the media industry.

Smart services
Five smart services initiatives, for example, identifying and implementing blockchain services, and aligning these with existing government frameworks and strategies.

Development of services
Three initiatives, including a programme dedicated to ensuring that the UAE government becomes the best globally in government services by 2020, including a specific scope of work with the necessary steps to achieve this goal.

Infrastructure and housing
Three initiatives, including a comprehensive plan for the UAE that aims to establish and implement a national consensus for the UAE’s infrastructure including roads, housing, construction and supporting urban planning, land use and population, considering economic, environmental and social forecasts. The national policy for the comprehensive planning of the state will be launched in 2018.

National data and statistics
Four initiatives. One example is the national data portal, developing a smart platform with all data and statistics related to the national agenda in one place, so it may support decision-makers and officials by making all pertinent national data and statistics easily accessible.

Government excellence and efficiency
Five initiatives. One of these is the national excellence diploma, which will offer academic training for specialists. This will launch in 2018 in a number of UAE universities. It will include a focus on several specialisations, focusing on important issues such as the fourth industrial revolution.

The justice system
Five new initiatives, including a programme where one notary public can have jurisdiction to operate across the whole country and in all emirates. The unified notary public project mechanisms and legislative amendments will be announced in 2018.

External aid
4 initiatives were launched. The UAE is a global leader in humanitarianism and four new initiatives are being undertaken. One of these is the UAE Humanitarian Support Team (UAE FAST), dedicated to assessing external emergencies and providing support to those in need at times of emergency. The dedicated team of UAE humanitarian staff will also assess the stages of reconstruction and development following the provision of immediate relief.

Four initiatives, including the national waste database, which will be used to record quantities of waste, processing, and types of waste from across the country, in order to create a holistic, dynamic and graphical assessment of the UAE’s waste management.

Three new initiatives. One of these is the Qualitative Emiratisation Programme, a programme that seeks to empower Emiratis to work in important positions in the private sector through partnerships with companies, mapping skills to jobs and building a long-term vision for capacity building through tailoring education to the needs of the private sector.

Security and safety
Four initiatives, including the development of road management, operation and control systems to enhance the security capabilities facing the region, considering future expectations of increased traffic. Road security will be enhanced with smart towers installed on roads in all emirates. These will monitor and regulate traffic, quickly reporting traffic violations but also acting as road network management monitoring resources.

Four initiatives. One of these, the Stimulating Investment Programme, aims to develop a national framework to promote foreign investment in various sectors and economic opportunities, including applying and launching a law governing Foreign Direct Investment.

Tolerance and happiness
As achieving tolerant and happy communities is a national priority in the UAE, four new initiatives to support this goal were launched, including collaborating with media institutions to promote happiness and tolerance through dialogue, positive messaging and community inclusion.

Gender balance
Three initiatives were announced, one of which is preparing legislation that addresses the gaps in gender balance in policy and proposes new legislation, such as equal pay, maternity leave — including in the military — and granting rights to deceased female employees, in order to achieve the gender balance goals of the national agenda.

Four initiatives, including a smart mobile app initiative by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. The app will be an interactive tool designed to encourage people to participate in various cultural activities around the country. People who download the app will receive access to the most important cultural facilities and sites, as well as integrating a calendar of events that sends notifications of upcoming events, and messages that inspire people to engage.