The UAE will host Expo 2020!
  • Arabic
Supported by the UAE National Media Council
We are in the process of developing and improving our website, and we invite you to participate in our brief survey to measure the level of your satisfaction
Satisfaction Survey For UAE Interact Website
رغبة منا بالتعرف على مستوى رضاكم عن موقعنا وبهدف تطويره وتحسينه، فقد قمنا بتصميم استبيان سريع لقياس مدى الرضا عن موقع دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة روعي في تصميم الاستبيان أن يكون قصيرا وسريعا كي لا نطيل عليكم، وعليه نرجو منكم التكرم باستكماله عن طريق الرابط التالي
استبيان رضا المتعاملين عن موقع دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة

ACCESSION DAY 2002 - Sheikh Zayed's Achievements

posted on 03/08/2002: 9544 views


Since assuming power as Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi on August 6, 1966, H.H Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, also, since 1971, the President of the United Arab Emirates, has enjoyed both the love and unanimous support of his people, thanks to his unique and wise style of leadership.



His far-sightedness and the principled positions he has adopted on issues of importance for the Arab and Islamic nations have also earned for him widespread international recognition. Ever since he was appointed in 1946 as Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi, his policy of maintaining close contact and relationship with his people has won him the hearts and allegiance of the people.



This was recognised first by his subsequent accession as Ruler of Abu Dhabi and then by his election on 2nd December 1971 as first President of the UAE, a federation whose foundation was largely due to his successful and inspiring leadership. Sheikh Zayed's style of leadership is based on a philosophy which he outlines thus: - "It is our responsibility before God, as best we can, to look after those with whose care we are entrusted." In discharging this responsibility, he has devoted all his efforts to serve his land and people, utilising the country's oil resources to this end. "



Since Almighty God has Allah has bestowed his bounty on us, the first thing we have to do in his praise is to utilise such a resource in the best interests of the country and people," he notes.



When he assumed office in Abu Dhabi in 1966, Sheikh Zayed was deeply concerned by the poor economic and social situation of his people. "I was always contemplating as to how to serve my countrymen and bring them happiness well before I assumed power and even before oil was discovered. My people were then destitute of services and amenities which others were enjoying," Sheikh Zayed recalls. From the outset, he promised his people that he would make use of all the resources available to build a modern state and to improve the standard of living of his people.



To this effect, he stated: " we have to make use of all resources on hand, including oil, for the well-being of every individual citizen of the United Arab Emirates, out of the belief that these resources belong to the people, so that they may make up for the hard times that went before, and then catch up with the procession of progress and civilisation. "This clearly defined vision has provided the basis of his approach to governance. Sheikh Zayed is firmly convinced that truthfulness, honesty and devotion are essential traits of a leadership that is committed to serving its people. "A ruler, whoever he is, is there to work in the interest of his people and provide them with a better standard of living that will ensure progress and prosperity," the President believes. Thanks to his efforts, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has achieved remarkable progress, with its capital city now among the most modern cities in the world.



That progress has been enjoyed too by the other six members of the UAE federation since its foundation in 1971. In August 1966, the island of Abu Dhabi was arid and sandy, with little in the way of essential services such as roads, water, electricity, schools and hospitals. There was no proper port, and goods being imported by sea came on vessels which lay offshore, transhipping everything to the island by dhows and lighters. Making wise use of the oil revenues that had begun to flow only a few years earlier, Sheikh Zayed drew up ambitious plans for development, focussing initially on the creation of the infrastructure. He also devoted attention to the needs of the other emirates, then, along with Abu Dhabi, known as the Trucial States.



A mere eighteen months after coming to power, he launched an initiative for federation, telling the people and his fellow rulers that: " unity is the path to strength, dignity and the welfare of all, schism only begets weakness and small meagre entities have no place in today's world. These are lessons of history over the ages." Sheikh Zayed's appeal was well received by the other rulers, and the federation was eventually founded on 2nd December 1971.



Elected the country's President, a post to which he has been re-elected at successive five-year intervals, Sheikh Zayed determined to place all the resources of Abu Dhabi at the service of the nascent federation. " The federation was my wish and the sublime objective of the UAE's people," he commented, spelling out that his intention was to provide his people with an appropriate standard of living and to build a modern state. " We have realised from the very beginning that unity is our way to strength and progress. It is a tool to permit us to attain the well-being of our people and to provide them and generations to come with a decent living." "We have also realised that that such an objective can only be reached through a united and well established state which would seek its inspiration from the lessons of history, cherish its accomplishments of today and set to the task of making a better future," he added.



In the relatively short space of time since the federation was established, the UAE has been transformed, and its people lead a lifestyle that was formerly just a dream. The achievement of these dreams, Sheikh Zayed says, owes much to the formation of the federation itself, which has had a far-reaching impact on society. "All the accomplishments were beyond our imagination and have been achieved at a pace which has far outstripped the normal rate of development," he has proudly said. In that process, his own leadership, and that of his fellow members of the UAE's Supreme Council of Rulers, has been of crucial importance. "Our first and foremost duty as rulers," he told his colleagues during one Supreme Council meeting, "is to work hand in hand for the betterment of the people. It is easy for one to look after his family or relatives, but to bear the responsibility of a nation is something else."



That duty, he believes, is given by God. "God has assigned to man, rather than to other creatures, the task of developing our planet. It is therefore, our duty to serve people and bring happiness to them. One has to realise that this wealth is not our property. Rather it is that of God, He who puts such wealth at the disposal of man." Sheikh Zayed's style of leadership is characterised by two distinct features, his own personality as a leader who sets an example of how responsibilities should be discharged, and his belief in the principle of "Shura," democratic consultation. This latter approach is derived from his profound faith in the Islamic values and creed. This has been expressly outlined by Sheikh Zayed's statement that the "Shura (democratic) approach is of divine inspiration, and he who does not obey God is the loser."



Elaborating, he has stated that, " My philosophy of life is that I believe that everything in this universe is in God's hands. Man, inspired by his faith in the Almighty, must work hard. Therefore, if I was successful I would thank Him, but if I failed I would think matters over and try again. Everything in this life is dependent on the will of God, who disposes as he thinks fit, under God's will who disposes it the way he likes. God bestows peace of mind upon whoever believes devoutly in Him. That is the ultimate happiness." The democratic approach that is essential to Shura is deeply rooted in UAE society, as, indeed, it has been since the people of the Emirates accepted the revelation of Islam. In implementing it, Sheikh Zayed has displayed his keenness to meet with the people, through tours of both urban and rural areas, and to discuss with them." Our doors are open and will always remain so," he says.



He also invites the people to participate themselves in the sharing of national responsibilities. "A confident and assured ruler should delegate some powers to other officials to assist him in his quest for achieving whatever is best for his country," says, adding that the ultimate goal is to achieve justice and right, and support for the weak. "We have no reservation over having our countrymen shoulder the responsibility of governance so long as our objectives are the ones I have just outlined," he explains. "We feel it is our duty to apportion responsibilities among our countrymen and to this end we have been working very hard since Islam calls for the application of true Shura (democracy) and justice."



In performing his own office, he frequently tours the country to inspect projects in progress and to familiarise himself with the needs of the people, setting an example for others to follow. "I would like officials to see me doing my job at anytime so they can follow suit in order to accomplish their duties perfectly and efficiently," he says, and in many of his speeches over the years he has urged Government officials to exert their full efforts for the betterment of the country and people. In particular, he has urged them not to rely upon a routine approach to work, but to discharge their duties by maintaining close contact with the ordinary people whom they serve.



In his programme of building the country, Sheikh Zayed has ensured that priority is given to the human resources, believing that the people are the fundamental component of, and motive for, development. Thus the UAE government has focussed expenditure on the educational sector, from schools to a wide variety of higher-level academic establishments. "Human resources, and not money, are the real wealth of which we are proud," Sheikh Zayed believes. "It was because of such beliefs that we were able to exert all our efforts to build the human being and to mobilise all the resources God has bestowed on us in the best interest of our countrymen." Another issue that has received Sheikh Zayed's attention is that of conservation of the environment. Here, he believes, it is essential to attain a sustainable balance in terms of the use of the country's natural resources, on land and at sea, so as to preserve them for the benefit of future generations.



While prompting the issuing of wide-ranging legislation on conservation and wildlife protection, he has also recognised that the harsh and arid climate threatens the land with desertification. Disdaining the advice of experts who claimed that agriculture and afforestation was impractical in such conditions, he has overseen the implementation of programmes that changed the desert landscape. As he noted in his 2000 National Day address, "We have been able, in such a short span of time, to transform the desert into green orchards with more than 40 million palm trees and over 100 million woodland and fruit trees, achieving this environmental miracle while constructing new towns and villages deep in the sands."



Externally, President Sheikh Zayed has led the UAE to make major contributions of moral, political and material support to the peoples of Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and other areas in an attempt to bring about security and stability in these parts of the world.



In the year 2001, the Sheikh Zayed Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Works was placed fifth among non-governmental organisations contributing to the relief work of the United Nations specialised agencies, the first Arab organisation to achieve such a high ranking. The Foundation was singled out for praise by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for its refugee assistance and repatriation programmes in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo.



On June 2, 2001, FAO conferred its Food International Day medal on Sheikh Zayed in appreciation of his efforts in service of mankind. In November 2000, a pilot charity project called "Zayed Springs" was launched by the President with the purpose of providing drinking water to remote areas in Africa. One thousand wells were drilled in drought-stricken areas of the continent at a cost of 15 million dollars. At a regional level, and drawing upon the success of the UAE's experiment in federation, President Sheikh Zayed has committed the country to the broader Gulf Co-operation Council, GCC, which was born at a summit in Abu Dhabi on May 25 1981.



He has also played an important role in the search for greater unity within the Arab world as a whole and has, for more than thirty years, been a powerful exponent of the need for consultation, discussion and reconciliation among the Arab states. Also dear to his heart is the cause of the Palestinian people, one to which he has extended full political support since before the UAE federation was even created. His support, though, is not confined simply to the political arena. He has also ensured that the United Arab Emirates has contributed in a concrete way to helping the Palestinian people. Thus following the demolition by Israeli forces of the Jenin camp in April 2002, Sheikh Zayed undertook to rebuild 800 housing units in the camp.



Assistance has also been pledged recently for the reconstruction of or repairs to the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque and to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, while support for repairs to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem has been provided for many years. Other support has been provided through the UAE Red Crescent Society.



During the period from October 2000 to May 2002, for example, aid from the Society to the Palestinians amounted to over Dh 275 million, in the form of medical assistance for hospitals, the donation of 50 ambulances and variety of other assistance. Over and above this, direct aid has been provided to families of Palestinians slain or wounded in the conflict or held as captives. The Society has initiated an air bridge to Jordan and to Arish, in Sinai, to fly in urgently needed relief and medical supplies. The Society, chaired by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has been active in implementing Sheikh Zayed's directives in other areas of conflict as well.



Since it was established, it has provided assistance to over thirty countries around the world. Following its extensive campaign of support for those suffering in Bosnia, it turned its attention to the situation in Kosovo. Helping in the shipping of over 100 planes full of relief supplies, construction of a refugee camp and building a 200-bed hospital. A total of 2,346 volunteers from the UAE took part in the Society's relief efforts in Kosovo. Besides the support of the Palestinians in their current struggle against the atrocities and violence being against them by Israeli forces, the Society has also implemented directives from Sheikh Zayed that help should be given to the people of Afghanistan. Thus, since the eruption of war in that country late in 2001, the Society has flown in more than 20 planeloads of relief supplies for refugees both in Pakistan and displaced people inside Afghanistan itself. Among the Society's projects is a refugee camp for over 40,000 people. The adoption of such an approach of providing assistance to those suffering from conflict, famine or other natural disasters is, Sheikh Zayed believes, a duty incumbent upon all Muslims. His view reflects his belief that Islam is, above all, a faith of forbearance and of mercy.



Thus, following the attacks of September 11, 2001 against the United States, Sheikh Zayed moved swiftly to express his utter condemnation of terrorism, and to stress that in his view, those who carried out the attacks were far from the faith. "Islam is a religion of mercy and tolerance, and knows nothing of the extremism or violence that terrorists practice in its name," he told Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, adding, in an address to recently accredited foreign ambassadors to the UAE that all human beings had been created by God, and should not be treated unjustly. "Killing an innocent person is a great crime in Islam," he told them, " and killing an innocent person is like killing mankind itself."



Speaking with US President George Bush after the attacks, Sheikh Zayed stressed that the UAE condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and expressed his view that the international community should join hands in the struggle to eradicate the practitioners of terror. "Terrorism is an act that is rejected by Islam and by other monotheistic religions, and is the enemy of all mankind," he told the US President. Sheikh Zayed has taken pains, however, to stress that the campaign against terrorism should not be one, which adopts double standards. I



In messages to president Bush and to other world leaders, including those of Russia, China and NATO, he has noted that opposition to terrorism also necessitates opposition to, and the curbing of, Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. It is important, he noted, that the world should see that a standard of justice was being applied equally, as, indeed, is prescribed in Islam.



This approach, of justice and equality, whether practiced at home in the United Arab Emirates, or abroad, has characterised the style of governance of Sheikh Zayed in the years since he first became Ruler of Abu Dhabi, over thirty five years ago. It remains fundamental to his view of the role of a leader and has provided the basis of the way in which, with great success, he has brought progress to his country and to his people.



RELATED ARTICLES

08 August 2002 Palestinians pay tribute to Sheikh Zayed
08 August 2002 Encyclopaedia about Zayed to be released
08 August 2002 Accession Day 2002 Feature-Armed Forces
07 August 2002 Zayed sets example for genius leader: UAE press
07 August 2002 Grand pageant in Abu Dhabi


Most Read