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National Day Development Report

posted on 30/11/2014: 2293 views

The U.A.E. has released its new national strategies for sustainable development in time for celebrations of the 43rd National Day on 2nd December, 2014. These strategies are founded on innovation and creativity and are dependent on the economics of science and knowledge.

In July of this year, the U.A.E. announced its historic decision to found the Emirates Space Agency and begin work on a project to send the first Arab Islamic probe to Mars in 2021, joining only nine other countries that have space programmes that have explored the red planet. The launch of the programme crowns the U.A.E.'s major accomplishments in the fields of space communications, manufacturing and launching of satellites, aircraft manufacturing technologies and other fields, as well as large scale strategic programmes in the field of nuclear power for peaceful purposes and the production of clean renewable energy, as it has become a regional and international capital of renewable energy.

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced the founding of the Emirates Space Agency on 16th July, 2014. This announcement represents a turning point in the country's developmental journey, as it enters the field of space technology, one of the fields designated for inclusion in the national economy in the years ahead. The U.A.E. President noted, "The country's goal is to enter the space industry and benefit from space technology to enhance development and work on building Emirati teams specialising in this field and for the U.A.E. to join major countries in the field of space science by the year 2021." His Highness the President also said, "The new probe will be the first step by the Arab Islamic world in entering the era of space exploration, led by an Emirati team as part of our ambitions to build local scientific capabilities in the field of outer space exploration, making new scientific contributions to humanity in the field of exploring distant celestial bodies, and placing the U.A.E. among other countries leading the way in space exploration in the coming years".

The U.A.E. Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, added that, "Reaching Mars is a big challenge, and we have chosen to accept it because big challenges drive us, motivate us, inspire us and the day we stop taking larger challenges is the day we stop moving forward." He added, "Current national investments in industries and projects related to space technology exceeds Dh20 billion, including Yahsat systems for space communications, data transfer, and television broadcasting services through space, and the Thuraya company for satellite mobile communications which cover two-thirds of the world, as well as Dubai Sat for satellites".

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said that the Emirates Space Agency will supervise these activities and organise them, advance the space technology sector, and work on transferring necessary knowledge which establishes the U.A.E. as a global contributor to this sector and enhances the role of space technology in the national economy.

He added that, in spite of the turbulence and conflicts in the Arab world, the U.A.E. will show the world that Arabs, under the right conditions, are capable of providing mankind with cultural achievements because the Arab region is one that has bred major civilisations and is capable of providing new knowledge to mankind and that this region is bound to return to its original role in creating civilisations and life. The Emirati probe to Mars is expected to be launched in 2021 to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the U.A.E., in a mission that will last nine months and see the probe travel 60 million kilometres.

Officials noted that investments in the international space sector are currently estimated at some US$300 billion annually, with a growth rate of about 8 percent.

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa issued a Federal Decree on 6th September, 2014, regarding the establishment of the Emirates Space Agency, headquartered in Abu Dhabi and with a branch in Dubai. The decree listed the agency's most important goals, set by the Cabinet, such as organising, supporting, and enhancing the space industry to serve the country's interests, encouraging and developing the uses of space science and technology in the country and establishing international partnerships in the space industry to enhance the country's role and position in this field, as well as contributing to the diversification of the national economy through an advanced national space sector and developing qualified human resources in this sector.

The Decree also identified the agency's specialties by proposing policies, strategies, and plans related to the space sector and approved by the Cabinet, supporting research and studies in theoretical and applied fields related to space and documenting data and publishing it, while working on the development of human resources, supporting educational activities, attracting qualified personnel, and creating opportunities for scientific fellowships in the space sector.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed led the first meeting of the Emirates Space Agency on 19th July, 2014, where he outlined the next phase of his plan of action regarding all regulatory, legislative, and administrative aspects of the establishment of the Emirates Space Agency and also demonstrated the strategic framework for the Emirati Mars probe project, as well as the most important work stations in the coming years leading to 2021, when the probe is expected to land on Mars.

The agency's Board of Directors, in its first meeting on 20th September 20, 2014, approved the agency's annual budget, discussed the plan of action for the Mars probe project and presented steps for establishing the agency and other space programmes and projects. The Cabinet also allocated Dh250 million as the first operational budget for the agency.

On 20th October, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed witnessed the initial steps towards implementing, building, and launching the probe to Mars under the supervision of a national team at the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Innovation in Dubai, when the Emirates Space Agency signed a detailed agreement with the Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) for implementing the project. During the signing ceremony, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed stressed the importance of implementing the project under the supervision of an entirely national team of staff from the U.A.E. and in collaboration with international specialist partners, saying, "We have seven years to build the necessary knowledge and to develop the human resources and infrastructure to reach the red planet. Great challenges require great teams, and entering space requires unlimited determination. The eyes of the people of the Emirates and its leaders will follow the progress of your work for a full seven years, until you land on the red planet. We are endeavouring to enter a major national and Arab mission. The new probe is a national project and is the pride of the Arab world, as well as a scientific contribution to mankind".

With this ambitious vision of space exploration, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed launched the national strategy for innovation that aims to make the U.A.E. one of the most innovative countries in the world. This strategy calls for the allocation of Dh14 billion over the next seven years, of which Dh7 billion will go to scientific research.

U.A.E. building more satellites On 29th December, 2013, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed launched the operational phases for the construction of Khalifa Sat, which is the first satellite to be fully built and manufactured in the U.A.E. by a team of Emirati experts, and therefore, the first truly Arab satellite, representing a new phase for the Arab region as it enters the era of space manufacturing and joins international competition in the field of space science and exploration.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said that Khalifa Sat offers a message to all Arabs that it is no longer impossible to be part of the space era, nor is it a distant dream, as the U.A.E. will be amongst the leaders in this field, and it will have the confidence and courage necessary to compete with major countries. He also dedicated this global achievement to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, saying, "We are all overcome with pride when we see the sons and daughters of the U.A.E. make up the first Arab team capable of building an entire satellite and launching it into space by the year 2017, God willing".

In mid-October 2014, The Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology announced that it had completed the design of the satellite and is now halfway through the process of building a prototype, which features a 30 percent improvement and advancement in technology, compared to B-SAT 2 satellites.

The U.A.E. has the most advanced space industry in the Gulf region and the Middle East. There are seven satellites now in orbit and plans call for launching four new satellites. In recognition of its progress and leadership in this field, the U.A.E. was elected in 2012 as a member of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation Advisory Committee.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority estimated the volume of U.A.E. investments in the satellite field at some Dh11.2 billion in early 2014.

The Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), fully owned by the investment arm of the Government of Abu Dhabi (Mubadala Development Company), launched two satellites, while allocating Dh6 billion to establish a world-class communications technology infrastructure.

The company announced in September 2014 that it had begun building its third satellite, the Yah 3, in which it is investing about Dh1.47 billion, to be launched in late 2016. The Yahsat satellite system services cover more than 100 countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia, and the company is planning on building four ground stations for satellite communication in Abu Dhabi, Luxembourg, Madrid, and Athens at a cost of Dh370 million to meet the growing demand for satellite communications services from governments, companies, and individuals in the Arab region and the world and to further enhance these services inside the U.A.E.. The company also owns a satellite control station located in the Al Falah area in Abu Dhabi which is managed and run by a group of Emirati engineers.

On 4th November, EIAST, in collaboration with the American University of Sharjah, announced a project to launch the first satellite, Nayif-1, for scientific purposes and to serve the needs of the students of the university. This project will contribute to the development of the nation's advanced science and technology sectors, particularly in the field of space science in the U.A.E.. A team of Emirati engineers is building the satellite, and it is expected to be launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at the end of 2015.

The Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company, which was founded in 1997 as a strategic alliance between a number of national telecommunications companies and investment organisations in the region and which is located in Abu Dhabi, owns three satellites in worldwide orbit. The company announced in April 2014 that it plans to launch two new satellites over the next three years as part of its strategy to cover the entire world by 2020.

The Thuraya company provides satellite telecommunications services to more than 140 countries in large areas of Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia, therefore serving more than two-thirds of the world's population.

Aviation technology The U.A.E. entered the aviation industry after the Mubadala Development Company, which is the investment arm of the Government of Abu Dhabi, established the national Strata aviation company in 2009 and then established the aviation facility in Al Ain, in which US$10 billion are to be invested over 20 years. It also opened Al Ain International Aviation Academy, which focuses on teaching aircraft manufacturing disciplines and offering Bachelor's Degrees in several specialised academic programmes, including aircraft engineering, aircraft technology management, and aircraft manufacturing technology, as well as postgraduate diplomas in aircraft manufacturing technology.

Strata plans to create more than 4,000 job opportunities in its aviation units for Emirati citizens in the upcoming years, with that number expected to rise to about 10,000 jobs by 2030. Six-hundred and twenty engineers, technicians and employees currently work at the Al Ain facility, 40 percent of whom are citizens, while the company hopes to raise this to 50 percent by 2015 and is working on training and qualifying more than 100 engineers and technicians, all citizens, as part of a programme currently being implemented inside and outside the country.

The U.A.E. hopes to become a global hub for aircraft maintenance and manufacturing technology, after having already become a leading global centre for air transport and civil airlines.

The strategic importance of this industry is indicated by the fact that the size of the global aircraft maintenance market is currently estimated at $59 billion and is expected to reach $85 billion by 2022, at a time when the national aircraft fleet in the U.A.E. will account for 40 percent of the aircraft maintenance market in the GCC. The size of the aircraft maintenance market in the Middle East is currently $3.8 billion, accounting for 6 percent of the global market.

Strata hopes to become one of the three largest companies in the composite aero-structures manufacturing industry on a global level over the next 10 years, after having made major breakthroughs in its production by the end of 2013, when the number of export shipments increased to 301, compared to 185 shipments exported in 2012. Its investment increased to reach $320 million, compared to the $250 million invested in the prior year, in addition to a 100 percent increase in revenues, exceeding Dh220 million compared to Dh110 million in revenues in 2012. It is expected to exceed Dh300 million in revenues this year. The company also has $7.5 billion in contracts with international companies.

The company has signed long-term contracts with global companies Boeing and Airbus, extending over 20 and 30 years, to provide some 2,000 shipments of aero-structures such as surfaces, weight-reducing components, composite materials for modern surfaces, and other components.

Strata also plans to build a new factory on an area of 600,000 square metres, which focuses more on robotic techniques in its production, and construction will begin at the end of next year, with actual production expected to start in 2017. The company also allocated Dh1.9 billion for new investment in its current industrial facility, of which Dh500 million will go towards developing the facility's infrastructure and the remaining Dh1.4 billion for building facilities for the Amrok company, specialising in the repair and maintenance of military aircraft. These expansions are expected to be completed in 2016.

At the end of this year, Strata will also begin manufacturing outer surfaces for Boeing 787 aircraft.

Global Aerospace Summit The second Global Aerospace Summit, held in Abu Dhabi on 7th April, 2014, under the patronage and support of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, established the leading role of the U.A.E. in the field of aircraft manufacturing technology, with the participation of 1,500 executive directors and specialists, representing 425 local and international companies from 55 countries. At the summit, participants discussed 50 issues related to the aviation industry, the global commercial airlines industry, and the space sector.

U.A.E. a global capital of renewable energy The U.A.E. has become a global capital of renewable energy, not only due to its hosting the International Renewable Energy Agency Headquarters (IRENA) but also through its national achievements in this field, as it has built a wide network of collaborations and partnerships and entered into regional and international agreements with various countries regarding production of clean energy and climate change. Its capital, Abu Dhabi, will be the centre from where the first solar-powered flight around the world is scheduled to depart and return to in 2015. The U.A.E. also hosts several international summits, conferences, and symposia, such as the World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the Dubai Global Energy Forum, and other events.

Additionally, in 2013, the U.A.E. ranked as the third largest country in the world in the production of concentrated solar energy, according to the 2014 report released by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century.

On 17th March, 2013, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa inaugurated the Shams-1 solar power station for renewable energy generation in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, which marked the beginning of a new era for the U.A.E. in renewable energy production. It was developed by Masdar in collaboration with a number of foreign countries.

His Highness the President expressed his pride in the completion of the Shams -1 station, noting, "The construction of this station will contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, which requires a more responsible use of energy, as well as clean ways and means to produce it." He added that the completion of the project will make Abu Dhabi as a capital of renewable energy on a regional and global level, stressing, "We continue to support this direction, which we took when we established Masdar and hosted the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA.

The Shams -1 project, which cost US$600 million, is the largest concentrated solar energy station in the world and will power 20,000 homes, with a production capacity of 100 megawatts. Abu Dhabi aims to secure 7 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

On 5th May, 2014, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, while participating in the high-level ministerial meeting on climate change hosted in Abu Dhabi, along with 100 ministers and more than 1,000 participants from various countries, also visited Shams-1, which contributes to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 175,000 tons per year Inaugurating the permanent headquarters of IRENA The Abu Dhabi Future Energy company, Masdar, announced that the permanent headquarters of IRENA will be completed and inaugurated, along with the headquarters of Masdar, in the centre of Masdar City at the end of this year. Masdar City is the world's first city to be free of carbon emissions, waste, and cars. The company also explained in a report, published on 29th April, 2014, that it has spent over Dh5.73 billion in projects with investments exceeding Dh23.5 billion through a portfolio of strategic projects in the U.A.E. and the world. The company further confirmed that, thanks to the financial support of about Dh55 billion from the Abu Dhabi government, it has been able to consolidate its position with an institute of technology, a renewable energy development centre, and a global compound for clean technologies, making Masdar City one of the most sustainable in the world.

Also, the U.A.E. had signed an agreement in mid-2012 with IRENA at the Foreign Ministry, designating the permanent headquarters of IRENA in Abu Dhabi, where the agency is granted legal status, enabling it to carry out tasks entrusted to it as an international organisation. His Highness the President also issued a decree appointing Dr. Ahmed Thani Zouaydi as permanent representative of the state to IRENA. On 25th September, 2014, the U.A.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, along with the President of Switzerland, attended a ceremony in New York, held as a side event during the meetings of the General Assembly of the United Nations, where it was declared that Abu Dhabi will be the location for the departure of the first solar-powered flight around the world, to take place in March 2015.

New regional and international agreements Represented by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar, the U.A.E. signed new agreements this year for cooperation and partnerships in the field of specialised project development in the renewable and clean energy sector, including a framework strategic agreement between the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy in Saudi Arabia and Masdar, which aims to study opportunities for research collaboration and joint development of renewable energy and clean electricity generation projects, and a framework agreement with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The bank will collaborate with Masdar in determining the best offers to finance and implement renewable energy projects in service facilities in various parts of the world and to invest in clean energy technologies and investment funds. Additionally, a strategic agreement was signed between the U.A.E. and Denmark on January 20, 2014, during the World Future Energy Summit, which included nine areas of collaboration that will help contribute to progress in the renewable energy and sustainable development sectors on a global level.

In 2014, Masdar completed a project to build the first wind power station in Samoa in the Pacific Ocean, with a production capacity of up to 520 kilowatts of clean electricity. The project received Dh184 million in funding from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, in accordance with an agreement between the U.A.E. and five countries from islands of the Pacific Ocean to develop renewable energy projects in these countries.

In November 2013, Masdar also signed a financing agreement with the Jordan Wind Project Company for Renewable Energy to begin construction of the first wind power station in the Middle East at a cost of US$290 million and with a production capacity of 117 megawatts.

The company had already completed construction of the London Array offshore wind farm and a solar energy array in Mauritania that provides energy for 10 percent of the local electricity consumption.

Global Summit of Future Energy On 20th January, 2014, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, attended the inauguration of the seventh consecutive World Future Energy Summit in the presence of a number of presidents and ministers from around the world, many from the African continent.

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed also said that the U.A.E., led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, attaches great importance to enhancing access to safe, clean, and sustainable energy as a basic foundation for stability and growth in the various regions of the world.

He added that energy forms the backbone of all developmental activities and is especially important in arid regions where it is needed for water desalination. He noted that it is impossible to talk about sustainable development without ensuring the security of basic resources such as water and energy.

The Crown Prince explained that the U.A.E. is making tremendous efforts in planning for the future and setting policies that aim to secure these vital resources, and he stressed that the U.A.E. will continue to pursue this civilised approach to unify global efforts in addressing these challenges.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park On 22nd October, 2013, U.A.E. Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, inaugurated the first phase of The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park project, which is being developed by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and managed and run by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority at a total cost of up to Dh12 billion, with a production capacity of some 1,000 megawatts.

This project aims to contribute to the achievement of the U.A.E. Vision 2021 and establish Dubai's leading position as a financial, commercial, and touristic global hub, as well as to help establish the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy and Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, explained that the station was built in accordance with the highest international technical, health and safety, and environmental standards.

Operating through Photovoltaic panels, the station is the largest of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa and uses unique techniques, where some 152,000 photocells are connected to 13 convertors installed in reflective buildings, converting the voltage into 33 KV and producing about 24 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This reduces carbon emissions by some 15,000 tonnes per year.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed had launched this project, spanning a land area of 48 square kilometres (Sih Al Dahl) on the Dubai-Al Ain Road, on 10th January, 2013.

U.A.E. employs peaceful uses of nuclear energy for sustainable development The U.A.E.'s nuclear energy programme for peaceful purposes, announced in April 2008, reflects the leaders' vision in meeting the country's future needs for efficient and safe electrical power to enable it to implement its ambitious strategies and plans for sustainable development. Nearly five years after the beginning of the implementation of its nuclear programme, the U.A.E., thanks to its attention and commitment to international standards and the transparency in its implementation of various stages of its nuclear program, is now a role model on a regional and international level for countries that want to possess peaceful nuclear energy for the purpose of development.

In a unanimous vote at their meeting on 2nd September, 2014, the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, elected the U.A.E. to membership of the Board of Governors for the period of 2012/2015, which confirms the international community's confidence in the country's stance and its responsible approach in the field of nuclear energy.

On 2nd April, 2014, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation became a member of The Electric Power Research Institute, which will allow it access to research conducted by the institute and to the most important information and technical instructions that can aid the development and management of the country's peaceful nuclear programme.

The U.A.E. entered the advanced stages of nuclear energy production after the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, along with six international companies from the United States, South Korea, Canada, Russia and France, signed 15-year contracts to import nuclear fuel with a total value of up to $3 billion. The contracted fuel will produce up to 450 megawatts per hour of electricity, which is sufficient for 15 years. Of the four nuclear power stations that will be built on the Baraka site in the western region of Abu Dhabi by 2020, the first will start operating in 2017, and each station will produce 1,400 megawatts . This will meet future needs for safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly electric energy and ensure the implementation of ambitious strategies and plans for sustainable development.

On 29th January, 2013, a delegation from the IAEA, by Director-General, Yukiya Amano, visited the Baraka site. After the visit, Amano said, "The U.A.E. has made steady progress in developing its peaceful nuclear energy in a safe manner." .

In an official statement on 7th February, 2013, the IAEA commended the safety levels it had witnessed during construction and the steadiness with which the U.A.E. is introducing nuclear power into the lives of its citizens, making it a role model for other countries.

On 20th May, 2014, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the President of the Republic of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, attended a ceremony at the Baraka site celebrating the arrival of the container of the first reactors for the nuclear power stations.

During this visit, three strategic memoranda of understanding were signed for the development of training programmes in the nuclear energy sector, direct recruitment programmes for graduates of nuclear energy programmes, and the development of local industrial sectors providing nuclear-power-related services in the country.

Construction of more than 57 per cent of the first power station on the Baraka site has been completed, while 35 percent of the preparations for construction work have been completed.

The large contracts that the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation signed in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2009, at a value of Dh75 billion, with companies from South Korea and the United States to build and operate four nuclear reactors by 2020, represent the true beginning of the implementation of a peaceful nuclear programme in the U.A.E.. The U.A.E. has also signed a number of agreements with the United States, Russia, Britain, Japan, France, Canada, Australia, and Brazil, for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and technology transfer, to serve the development of its national programme. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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