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Report from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the 43rd National Day

posted on 05/12/2014: 2786 views


Since its establishment on 2nd December, 1971, the UAE has followed the principle of spreading peace and well-being throughout the countries of the world, making this principle an essential element of the UAE 's foreign policy as set forward by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Today, the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed follows in these footsteps by emphasising this element and deepening and developing it through the contributions made by the UAE on humanitarian, political and economic levels.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since its establishment, has represented Emirati society and has been its window to the outside world, through which Emirati views and visions are disseminated, seeking to emphasise the importance of brotherliness between human beings and always calling for the relieving of the suffering of people, regardless of their origin or religion, emphasising the importance of cementing the values of global peace and resolving conflicts peacefully and through dialogue.

Through its embassies and its various departments and diplomatic missions throughout the world, and through its ambassadors, representatives and diplomats, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs acts as a link between the UAE leadership and the rest of the world, and works to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the UAE and all countries at various levels in the political, economic and cultural fields. This is done by adopting the principles of its leadership which aim to preserve mankind, raise its intellectual and cultural standards, and enhance the concepts of evolution and human civilisation.

The Ministry also works to support factors that contribute to development, as well as economic and cultural renaissance, and laying the foundations of peace and brotherhood in the world. This has earned the citizens of the UAE great respect and appreciation, wherever they travel outside the UAE, and has also added to the positive image of the UAE on the regional and international levels.

The UAE's foreign policy is characterised by its openness to all countries in the East and the West, in terms of common concerns that support the interests of the people and help them to achieve their goals for development, progress and prosperity. This determines the nature of the UAE's political discourse in its relationship with the outside world, which is supported by its policies and positions.

The UAE's relations with the world are growing significantly in all areas and at all levels. This serves the higher national interests and benefits the development process by ensuring that foreign policy assists the nation's development. Moreover, the UAE's presence is becoming more prominent in regional and international arenas and it is becoming more influential in issues on the regional and international agendas, particularly due to the nature of its policies, which are characterised by moderation, wisdom and a focus on world stability, security and development.

One of the most important outcomes of the UAE 's foreign policy, which is based on openness, balance and common interests, is the great confidence that the world places in the UAE and its policies. This is reflected in the many opportunities offered to the country, the most recent of which were the granting to the UAE of the right to organise the World Energy Congress 2019 in Abu Dhabi and being awarded to host the EXPO 2020 in Dubai, despite significant competition from major countries to organise these two important world events.

The Ministry also works to support factors that contribute to development, as well as economic and cultural renaissance, and laying the foundations of peace and brotherhood in the world. This has earned the citizens of the UAE great respect and appreciation, wherever they travel outside the UAE, and has also added to the positive image of the UAE on the regional and international levels.

The UAE's foreign policy is characterised by its openness to all countries in the East and the West, in terms of common concerns that support the interests of the people and help them to achieve their goals for development, progress and prosperity. This determines the nature of the UAE's political discourse in its relationship with the outside world, which is supported by its policies and positions.

The UAE's relations with the world are growing significantly in all areas and at all levels. This serves the higher national interests and benefits the development process by ensuring that foreign policy assists the nation's development. Moreover, the UAE's presence is becoming more prominent in regional and international arenas and it is becoming more influential in issues on the regional and international agendas, particularly due to the nature of its policies, which are characterised by moderation, wisdom and a focus on world stability, security and development.

One of the most important outcomes of the UAE 's foreign policy, which is based on openness, balance and common interests, is the great confidence that the world places in the UAE and its policies. This is reflected in the many opportunities offered to the country, the most recent of which were the granting to the UAE of the right to organise the World Energy Congress 2019 in Abu Dhabi and being awarded to host the EXPO 2020 in Dubai, despite significant competition from major countries to organise these two important world events.

On a global level, the UAE presents an appealing model in terms of its economic development, cultural values and political and social stability. This has prompted countries in the East and West to strengthen their relations with the UAE in all fields and to have a high regard for its views on regional and world issues and to identify with its leading development experiences, as this strengthens the UAE's position in the international arena and is seen as support for its foreign policy.

Since its establishment, the UAE's foreign policy has been based upon the principles of peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, respect for the sovereignty of nations and the diligent pursuit of security, stability and peace throughout the world.

One of the outcomes of the nation's balanced foreign policy is that the UAE has been able to build positive political, economic and cultural relations with all countries. Because of this and other factors, the UAE has succeeded in achieving a high international standing.

Led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE builds constructive relations with all countries, using these to serve common interests in the cultural, educational, economic, trade, energy and other fields. This also ref;lects the desire of the country's leadership to use this cooperation, consultation and coordination to build diplomatic, economic, social, cultural, tourism and other relations with various countries, serving the interests of all. Strategic long-term partnerships have been developed with many countries.

Our prudent leadership has emphasised the fixed principles of our foreign policy, as noted by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the opening of the first session of the Federal National Council's 14th Legislative term. He said, "Since the establishment of this country, we have been committed in our foreign policy to fixed principles of mutual respect, non-interference in the affairs of others, building relationships that serve interests leaning towards peace and dialogue, as well as commitments to international conventions, following in the footsteps of His Highness the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who has made the human approach an inherent element of the foreign policy of our country." The principles and goals of the UAE's foreign policy have garnered respect for the UAE and its leadership, regionally and internationally, and have increased its influence and engagement with regards to various world issues and matters. It has become a first point of call for world leaders during their visits to the GCC or the Middle East, so they can listen to its views and visions regarding regional interactions, issues and crises.

These principles are the reason why UAE leaders are met with warm welcomes and attention from political authorities and from the media during their visits to other countries. These principles also promote the role of foreign policy in enhancing development inside the country through helping to build important economic and trading partnerships with countries in the east and the west, to serve mutual interests that benefit everyone involved. The UAE, under the leadership of His Highness the President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, prioritises, as part of its foreign policy, the building of balanced and advanced relations based on the principles of mutual respect, friendship and positive participation, which serves to enhance development and cultural advancement with various countries.

Many countries seek to build strong relations with the UAE and to seek its views. This has increased notably due to events in the Middle East, specifically the war on terrorism, as the UAE was among the first countries to make a clear stand against extremism, terrorism and violence, and to fight the forces driving them, taking initiatives to build a strong regional and international position against deviant ideas that encourage terrorism. It has also shown constant readiness to take part in any international efforts or movement to fight extremism, whatever its source and regardless of who is adopting it, as it believes that such extremism and all related destructive phenomena are the greatest threat to world security and stability and the most significant danger to human civilisation and to mankind's pursuit of progress and development.

The entire world currently considers the UAE to be an element of regional stability due to its views against terrorism and due to its huge efforts to promote and deepen values of tolerance, moderation and the acceptance of others, as well as the model it presents of coexistence between cultures, religions and races, a model that contradicts the hatred and terrorism that extremists want to spread.

The UAE's participation in major international summits and meetings has recently increased. These have included the NATO summit in Wales and the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, held in Paris. The UAE also attended the Ministerial Debate of the UN Security Council, in addition to advisory meetings and bilateral meetings on the margin of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, as well as the 2014 Leader's Climate Summit and the UN Security Council summit recently chaired by American President, Barack Obama, which discussed the issue of foreign terrorists.

This extensive participation by UAE diplomats in major international events reflects the unique relations between the UAE and the outside world, and its active and increasing role in international relations.

A second factor is that UAE diplomacy is characterised by unique features. It is active, effective and ambitious and has a particular interest in benefiting from the UAE's unique position on a global level to build more relations and achieve more objectives related to increased global values and position, so it can rank amongst the most important countries in the world.

Due to these factors, the UAE's foreign policy has been characterised as highly balanced, insightful and flexible, and the country has earned, through this policy, the trust of the international community, assuming an important place in international relations and in many major international organisations.

These foreign policy elements have also played a large role in the UAE's positions and efforts in regards to recent issues threatening international security and stability, specifically the terrorism phenomenon. This the UAE has firmly opposed, clearly announcing its full readiness to provide a variety of support for regional and international efforts in fighting this phenomenon, and announcing its opposition to Da'esh (ISIL) and its practices in Iraq and the region, which contradict the values of tolerance and moderation in which the UAE believes, and because of which it rejects all forms of violence and extremism.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has appointed five female ambassadors to Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Montenegro as well as the UAE Representative to the UN in New York. This confirms the leadership's support for the role of Emirati women as an integral part of Emirati society, working side-by-side with men in the country's development process, and reaching positions of leadership and decision-making.

The UAE now has diplomatic relations with 190 countries, with 69 embassies, 11 consulates and 6 missions overseas, while there are now 99 foreign embassies in the UAE, 75 consulates and 16 offices of regional and international organisations, compared to only three embassies, those of Britain, Pakistan and the USA, when the UAE was first established in 1971.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has partnered with Foreign Ministries Affairs in the other GCC countries to promote and cement the GCC through optimising the relationship between the countries and through working to promote cooperation between the Gulf countries, increasing the effectiveness of this cooperation by working toward achieving political, economic, social integration and security through tangible steps.

On a political level, the GCC countries, through periodic negotiations and meetings between their leaderships and its Ministers of Foreign Affairs, have succeeded in formulating a political view and adopting unified positions on various regional and international issues, as well as other matters.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs encourages other governments to sign bilateral tax agreements and bilateral investment treaties. There are now 124 of these, while the number of Memoranda of Understanding for bilateral air transport agreements now stands at 145.

Foreign aid has been a major part of the external dealings of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which works through its missions abroad and in cooperation with governmental authorities and humanitarian organisations to deliver different forms of financial and humanitarian aid to the needy in many countries in the world through advanced developmental programmes and infrastructure projects. It also provides aid to countries affected by wars and natural disasters, whether directly or indirectly, or through the UAE's membership in specialised UN agencies and related regional organisations and authorities.

The late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan laid the foundation for the country's foreign policy, declaring, "The UAE's foreign policy aims to support Arab and Muslim issues and interests and strengthen bonds of friendship and cooperation between all countries and populations, as per the Charter of the United Nations and international ethics and conventions.

Our young country has accomplished great foreign successes and now holds a prestigious position on the Arab and international levels due to its noble principles. Our policy and our positions have always been based on principles of righteousness, justice and peace, as we believe that peace is a pressing collective human need." The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the noble principles of the prudent leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has achieved many accomplishments that have contributed to the protection of the country's interests and those of its citizens overseas. It has maintained clear political positions that support the country's relations with its regional and international partners and has further cemented its position as a role model in managing political, economic and other relations.

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in a speech on the 42nd National Day on 1st December, 2013, emphasising the efficacy and soundness of the approach the country has applied in its foreign policy throughout the past decades, said, "We will continue with this approach in building an independent and flexible foreign policy aimed at serving national interests and maintaining the sovereignty of our nation and implementing cooperation within the GCC to achieve integration and strengthen cooperation between Arab countries and regional alliances, exerting all efforts to build a regional and international environment of peace, stability and mutual respect. We will always commit in our policy to fighting terrorism and extremism and to the peaceful solution of conflicts, participating in international efforts to protect this environment and contributing to the development of a more just and fair international system." Sheikh Khalifa added, "This approach has made it possible for our nation to sustain close relations with neighbouring and fellow countries and to achieve a unique international reputation through its strong presence in international and regional organisations and through hosting many international organisations and conferences, as well as through providing developmental and humanitarian aid, following in the footsteps of the late father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who made the humanitarian aspect an integral part of the UAE's foreign policy." During his receipt of the credentials of foreign ambassadors in the UAE, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, reiterated that the doors of the government and the leaders do are open to these ambassadors at any time for discussions, to listen to their suggestions and to overcome any obstacles that might stand in the way of their work in serving their countries and achieving mutual interests between our countries and peoples.

His Highness told the new ambassadors, "We have many various ways and opportunities to build new bridges of cooperation with your countries and the UAE leadership, government and organisations aim to advance our cultural, economic, trading, scientific and tourist relations with different countries and populations in the world, especially those with whom we share diplomatic relations based upon respect, transparency and exchanges of interests." He also expressed his confidence that the ambassadors of neighbouring and fellow countries to the UAE are working to benefit from the UAE's developmental experiences and expertise and that, in return, the State can benefit from these countries' expertise in many fields to better serve the needs of all people.

This year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has increased its diplomatic activity to achieving more openness toward the world through exchanging visits and communications at the highest levels and through regular meetings of joint committees, as well as hosting many regional and international conferences and welcoming a large number of monarchs, presidents and office bearers from all the continents of the world. This year has also witnessed special diplomatic activity in the form of strengthening of relations with Latin American countries and countries of the Pacific and Africa, and has also seen a strong presence by the UAE at all regional and international events.

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, led the UAE delegation in the meetings of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.

In a speech to the General Assembly on the 27th September 2014, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah stressed the importance of immediate collective international movement to fight the threat presented by terrorist groups and organisations to international security and peace. He also referred in his speech to developments in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Palestine.

In meetings with ambassadors of member states of the UN Security Council, he also expressedthe concern that Israeli practices in Jerusalem, specifically their violation of the sanctity of Al Aqsa mosque, might lead to a third Intifada.

He said that the time has come to stop Israeli violence in Jerusalem and that all countries should work towards this by all means. He called on the US and the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop its violence and killing in Jerusalem, warning again about the violations caused by Israel's repressive and provocative practices.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a number of statements related to UAE citizens abroad or situations in some neighbouring and fellow countries. In January, it condemned the terrorist explosion outside a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, that resulted in many casualties.

The Ministry additionally advised citizens against travelling to Lebanon, due to the then current situation and security problems there. Other travel advice the same month warned citizens against travelling to Thailand unless absolutely necessary, due to the turbulent political situation, while another statement warned against travelling to to Ukraine, due to recent security disturbances in the country.

In February, the Ministry welcomed the European Parliament's vote for the Schengen visa exemption for UAE citizens. On 5th March, the Ministry announced that citizens of 13 European countries holding regular passports will have visa requirements waived when visiting the UAE as of 22nd March 2014. Citizens of all of the EU's 28 countries are now able to enter the UAE without visas.

In March, in celebration of International Women's Day, the Ministry issued a report regarding the empowerment of Emirati women, noting that the UAE has been a leader in the region in this respect.. The report noted the appointment of UAE female ambassadors and a female Consul-General in Milan.

At the time of the report, there were 148 female diplomats working in the ministry's headquarters and 30 female diplomats working in UAE missions abroad, confirming the support provided by the UAE leadership for the role of Emirati women as an integral part of UAE society, uniting their efforts, along with those of men, in the overall development process of the country.

On 8th March, the United Arab Emirates praised the decision of Saudi Arabia to include a range of organisations, including the "Muslim Brotherhood", on its list of terrorist groups.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the UAE's support for the Saudi decision to view these groups as terrorist groups, saying that at this important era in Arab history it had exposed the sources of unrest that threatens stability and safety, as well as the unity of its peoples.

On 30th April, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the attention of UAE citizens who wished to travel abroad for the purpose of tourism, study or medical treatment, especially those heading to the United Kingdom, to the need to take into account the need to take measures for their own protection.

At the same time, the Ministry thanked the Yemeni government for its efforts in securing the headquarters of the UAE mission and its diplomatic personnel in Sanaa, while thwarting an operation targeting UAE diplomats last March.

In May, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a report regarding the rights of workers in the country, noting that foreign workers are a very large and important part of the workforce in the UAE and that they represent an important source of income for their countries. The report said that the UAE is paying the utmost attention to respecting the rights of workers, considering this to be a moral, cultural and economic commitment, and adding that the UAE has made great progress on the issue of workers' protection.

In June, the Ministry issued a report regarding domestic workers in the UAE, adding that the UAE is committed to promoting and protecting human rights, including the rights of domestic workers, as shown by its ratification of nine of the International Labour Organisation's agreements regarding labour rights and the workforce in the UAE, including domestic workers. These are viewed as a temporary workforce employed through contracts organised by specialised authorities in the country.

In July, the UAE expressed its strong disapproval of the ongoing attacks carried out by Israel on occupied Palestinian territory. It condemned the air raids by the occupying Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in many dead and injured Palestinians.

Also in July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the UAE's solidarity with the decisions of the Bahraini Government relating to the communications by foreign officials, visitors and diplomatic missions with civil society organisations and civil sectors in Bahrain. The Ministry said that Bahrain has full sovereign rights to take appropriate measures to prevent the promotion of inciting or practicing violence, and the exploiting of foreign connections to provide false and distorted information about Bahrain.

In September, the Ministry warned UAE citizens against travelling to Yemen due to the tense security situation, and called for UAE citizens in Yemen to leave immediately by coordinating with the UAE embassy in Sanaa.

In October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the majority vote by the British Parliament in favour of the recognition of the State of Palestine, noting that this decision was a positive sign that reflects the support of the British people for the Palestinian cause and that it was a step in the right direction to enhance the chances for peace in the Middle East, expressing a moral position regarding the national rights of the Palestinian people and indicating humanitarian sympathy and political support for them.

The UAE responded to a new statement issued by Human Rights Watch regarding foreign domestic workers in the UAE, saying that the statement, "draws comprehensive conclusions based on a small sample." On 24th October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned the terrorist attack perpetrated by criminal elements in Sinai, expressing the UAE's full support for Egypt, and its solidarity with the Egyptian armed forces.

At the end of October, the UAE hosted the fourth session of the Marine Counter Piracy Conference, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DP World. His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan delivered a speech in which he stressed that joint international efforts had achieved tangible progress in the fight against marine piracy, as pirate attacks decreased over the past two years and are currently non-existent.

On 19th November, the UAE said, in response to an Amnesty International report on freedom of expression in the country, that the organisation had "issued a one-sided report that lacks precision and repeats familiar allegations based on political motives of groups seeking to undermine and overthrow the successful model of the UAE, characterised by a society where stability, peace, tolerance and diversity are predominant, in addition to all the economic opportunities created for millions of people from around the world." The Ministry has held a number of joint committee meetings, workshops and lectures during the current year, including the third meeting of the Joint Russian-Emirati Governmental Commission for economic, trade and technical cooperation, the second session of the Higher UAE-Iranian Joint Commission and the activity of the UAE-Sri Lanka Joint Commission.

Last February, the UAE and the Islamic Republic of Iran signed the minutes for the exchange of ratification documents for the agreement on extradition of criminals and legal aid in civil and commercial matters and mutual legal assistance in criminal issues.

A round of consular deliberations was also held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between the UAE and Russia, where both sides discussed a number of joint consular issues between the two countries and planned follow-up and development of these issues, as well as future joint consular cooperation.

The UAE responded to a new statement issued by Human Rights Watch regarding foreign domestic workers in the UAE, saying that the statement, "draws comprehensive conclusions based on a small sample." On 24th October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned the terrorist attack perpetrated by criminal elements in Sinai, expressing the UAE's full support for Egypt, and its solidarity with the Egyptian armed forces.

At the end of October, the UAE hosted the fourth session of the Marine Counter Piracy Conference, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DP World. His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan delivered a speech in which he stressed that joint international efforts had achieved tangible progress in the fight against marine piracy, as pirate attacks decreased over the past two years and are currently non-existent.

On 19th November, the UAE said, in response to an Amnesty International report on freedom of expression in the country, that the organisation had "issued a one-sided report that lacks precision and repeats familiar allegations based on political motives of groups seeking to undermine and overthrow the successful model of the UAE, characterised by a society where stability, peace, tolerance and diversity are predominant, in addition to all the economic opportunities created for millions of people from around the world." The Ministry has held a number of joint committee meetings, workshops and lectures during the current year, including the third meeting of the Joint Russian-Emirati Governmental Commission for economic, trade and technical cooperation, the second session of the Higher UAE-Iranian Joint Commission and the activity of the UAE-Sri Lanka Joint Commission.

Last February, the UAE and the Islamic Republic of Iran signed the minutes for the exchange of ratification documents for the agreement on extradition of criminals and legal aid in civil and commercial matters and mutual legal assistance in criminal issues.

A round of consular deliberations was also held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between the UAE and Russia, where both sides discussed a number of joint consular issues between the two countries and planned follow-up and development of these issues, as well as future joint consular cooperation.

Last May, the Greek capital, Athens, hosted the meeting of the UAE-Greece Joint Committee.

As for work teams, in May the UAE-Tajikistan joint committee discussed prospects for cooperation between the two countries and ways of developing them in various private sectors, especially in the economic, investment, trade, energy, oil and gas, transport, and agriculture fields, as well as cooperation in the cultural field, in addition to other concerns.

Also in May, the first meeting between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the UAE and Vietnam was held, to discuss strengthening cooperation and coordinating regional positions to serve mutual interests.

In October, the Ministry hosted the second session of the UAE-Belarus Joint committee. Discussions covered a number of topics of mutual interest and methods to further support and develop bilateral relations and explore new areas of bilateral cooperation in the economic, investment, trade, banking, financial, health, tourism, agricultural, and other fields.

Additionally, the UAE-Netherlands joint committee for political deliberations held a meeting at the headquarters of the Ministry in Abu Dhabi.

The First Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate (ADSD) was held in the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, in a forum organised by the Emirates Policy Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, bringing where renowned politicians and experts from the GCC and Arab and Western countries together to contribute to the achievement of a common understanding between international and regional parties regarding trends of regional and international powers, as well as to promote efforts to build policies between these powers.

In November, the Ministry organised the Fifth Sir Bani Yas Annual Forum, in collaboration with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS. This high-level annual forum is an initiative created by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and aims to create the opportunity for action-oriented discussions among leading opinion and policy makers regarding sensitive issues related to peace and security in the Middle East. These include , the crisis in Iraq and Syria, and the role of Islamic movements, the changing political and security situation in North Africa, as well as the peace process in the Middle East and the role of Iran in the Middle East, along with mutual interests and the activities of the major powers in the region.

The forum was attended by current and former ministers of foreign affairs from the Middle East, Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia, as well as international policy experts.

On 22nd October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received a certificate in innovation for the use of an electronic ratification sticker, with high-quality security tags from the international organisation of holographic security manufacturing in Britain, Optaglio.

This electronic sticker has received a patent from Britain and preserves the security and confidentiality of ratifications to international standards. This new method has been adopted by ratification centres that are part of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by 30 UAE missions abroad.

Last May, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched new regulatory services on its online portal relating to foreign embassies in the country and the missions of the UAE abroad, as part of the plan for the e-transformation of the Ministry to rely on information and communications technologies to provide the best online services to clients to public and government institutions.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance cooperation between the two ministries and UAE embassies abroad in all relevant areas.

The Ministry organised a legal forum for bilateral cooperation in criminal matters, while the Studies and Research Administration at the Ministry organised the event "Honouring Mothers" under the slogan "Thank you, Mothers of the Emirates".

The Ministry also organised a cultural ceremony on the eve of mid-Shaaban, under the name "Haq Al Layla," to showcase the country's traditional folklore. The Ministry also sought to educate ambassadors about the ancient cultural heritage of the UAE and on the important traditions preserved by Emirati society throughout generations, which represent the connection between the ancient past and the present of the UAE , pointing to the strong social solidarity and the strong family bonds which unify Emirati society.

On September 26th, the UAE and the UN signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allows UAE citizens to participate as assistant experts at the UN. The UAE now ranks 29th among the list of countries that have signed up to participate in this programme. The UAE will send experts from among its citizens to work with the UN for a specified duration of one to two years. After this period, the UN will offer them posts in its international institutions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently working with the Ministry of International Co-operation and Development to select candidates from among young citizens who work in governmental institutions, hold Master's Degrees, and have one to two years of experience.

In response to the invitation by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in celebration of UAE Flag Day on 3rd November, which coincides with the anniversary of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's inauguration as President of the UAE, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised a Flag Day event, raising the flag in the Ministry's Flag Garden.

The second Quality and Excellence Forum was held in the Ministry's headquarters, with the participation of international and local experts to review the experiences and best practices in the field of institutional excellence. It was attended by a number of office bearers in federal and local authorities and institutions, along with university students and affiliates of the Ministry and other interested individuals.

During this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a number of electronic systems for issuing visas at UAE embassies and missions abroad. In October, the Consular Department, the first centre for the issuance of visas outside the UAE, was opened in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.

On 30th October, the second centre for the issuance of visas outside the UAE was opened in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and on 17th November the third centre was opened in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

These centres seek to improve services, as well as to facilitate the procedures for the entry of workers into the UAE through electronic portals at these centres. Also, the UAE Embassy in Madrid has activated the new electronic ratification system.

In March, four UAE ambassadors to foreign countries were sworn in before His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to assume their new positions in a number of neighboring and fellow countries and international organisations.

In July, a group of 56 new diplomats working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including 41 men and 15 women, were sworn in before His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has an effective presence on social networking sites, with the username @mofaUAE on Twitter and Instagram, where it shares many of its activities and official statements, travel warnings and the most important activities of its representative missions abroad. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of followers on the Ministry's Twitter account, surpassing 118,000 followers. Through this account the Ministry responds to inquiries from citizens. The most frequent interactions relate to warnings and official statements issued by the Ministry on international events.

The ministry has recently created the Tawajudi account on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, to be an official channel for communications between the Ministry and citizens traveling abroad in times of crises and disasters, advising followers about the most important travel guidelines and responding to their inquiries.

Through the Ministry's accounts on social networking sites, tips and guidance are published for citizens in various simplified ways through video travel tips and guidelines, in addition to special announcements about travel warnings and visa procedures.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched the English version of its website with a new design, according to UAE eGovernment standards and in line with smart government trends. The website was designed and developed in accordance with the latest technology and global standards. It features a modern design that reflects the vision and mission of the ministry, and highlights the civilised face of UAE diplomacy and its principles, which are based on tolerance, justice, love and peace. The site covers the ministry's activities in various regional and international events and also allows to communicate with decision-makers in the Ministry.

The Ministry's current website is one of the most visited UAE governmental websites, with around one million visits from various countries around the world.

The launch of the new website comes at a time when the country is heading toward a smart government, so viewers can browse the website on all devices and smart phones. It offers many online services that makes it easier for UAE citizens abroad to complete all consular procedures and procedures related to the loss of passports. The website also allows citizens to obtain For Whom It May Concern certificates, as well as applications for all types of return tickets and forms to report accidents and emergencies, along with No Objection Certificates for marriage registrations and forms to report deaths.

On 22nd November, the Ministry launched the citizen affairs page on its website to make all information and services easily accessible to citizens, in accordance with the UAE eGovernment standards.

The citizens page offers access to the official page of the Ministry and its pages on social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube channel. This will contribute significantly to the interaction with followers through sharing travel alerts and by highlighting various initiatives and community and cultural activities of the ministry. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395273423530.html







UAE is chalking out its own innovation roadmap that matches the needs of its people, resources and ambitions, says Al Jaber



The UAE is looking to adapt some of the best practices and strategies of the world's leading innovators while chalking out its own roadmap, and as we celebrate our 43rd anniversary, innovation is being discussed across the UAE in classrooms and boardrooms, with curiosity and with pride, given impetus by the recent announcement by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan that 2015 will be the ‘Year of Innovation', said Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State Chairman of Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company.

This announcement builds on the UAE National Innovation Strategy, to make the UAE one of the world's most innovative countries in the next seven years, Minister Al Jaber noted adding that for this strategy to have the dynamic impact, the country requires that all of us must play our part in supporting the UAE's innovation ecosystem." "Our young boys and girls need to be inspired and motivated to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Our universities need to keep pushing the boundaries of science to bring patents, inventions and breakthroughs to the UAE and world at large. "And our industries need to look within to see how they can use and support the country's research and development infrastructure to improve their competitive edge. After all, investing in innovation and our people is investing in our future," wrote Minister Al Jaber in an article entitled "Nurturing the spirit of innovation" published Thursday in the English-language newspaper The Gulf News.

He noted that while the UAE is inspired by the successes of innovation hubs like the US, Singapore and Japan, it recognises that it cannot simply replicate their methods to achieve the same results. The UAE is looking to adapt some of the best practices and strategies of the world's leading innovators while chalking out its own roadmap that matches the needs of its people, resources and ambitions.

Describing this visionary commitment and strategy as "the culmination of more than a decade of efforts by the UAE leadership to guide and nurture the UAE towards its next phase of prosperity," Al Jaber said that it is a continuation of the progressive initiatives kicked off by the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which set a goal of transforming the capital into an innovative knowledge-economy with a number of high-tech sectors serving as economic engines.

Explaining the importance of innovation, he said that it has long been recognised as one of the most potent drivers of economic growth in the modern era. In the US - one of the world's most innovative economies- it has been estimated that innovation drives up to 90 per cent of per-capita income growth.

"The UAE leadership has long known the value of innovation and with the new National Innovation Strategy, it is now taking the UAE's pursuit of high-tech, competitive innovation to the next phase. This strategy provides the UAE with a comprehensive plan to develop the entire innovation ecosystem that is required to sustain, power and advance high-tech industries.

"The strategy aligns key stakeholders and the relevant sectors including academia, business, industry and government. It recognises the importance of the innovation pipeline starting from high school, where the UAE's boys and girls will explore science through new in-school labs, all the way through to motivating the private sector to adopt innovative technologies. The strategy also focuses on stimulating innovation in seven sectors, which are renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space.

Furthermore, the strategy addresses gaps that were identified by the leadership in earlier analyses, including funding for research and development and adoption of legislation that encourages entrepreneurship and protects intellectual property rights." For instance, Minister Al Jaber noted, the strategy requires all UAE government entities to reduce spending by 1 per cent and dedicate those savings to research and innovation projects. Most crucially, the strategy focuses on establishing innovation incubators in the UAE, which will serve to germinate, nurture and develop innovative business concepts. These incubators will help speed up the process of innovation in the UAE, helping take ‘big' ideas to the market.

Taking Masdar initiative as a prime example of how the UAE is diversifying and advancing its economy through innovation, Minister Al Jaber said by leveraging the UAE's existing expertise and resources, the renewable energy company "is pushing the boundaries of the renewable energy sector to maintain its leadership position in the evolving energy market." To support it in its journey, Masdar has partnered with many of the best-in-class in industry and academia. For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - one of the world's most innovative technological universities - is the key collaborator of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

As a research university, Al Jaber added, the institute is central to the innovation, technology and development strategy of the Masdar initiative. Through its four research centres - iWater, iEnergy, iSmart and iMicro - Masdar Institute works to solve problems of direct relevance to the UAE and its industries, while its Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (iInnovation) identifies promising research projects and provides them funding and development towards commercialisation.

"Masdar Institute's degree programmes have resulted in 307 MIT-calibre graduates and its research focus has resulted in three patents, 42 patent applications and 68 invention disclosures all of which are important building blocks in support of the UAE's innovation engine." http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395273418933.html



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