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Sheikha Lubna ranked 42 among 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine


posted on 28/05/2015

Minister of International Cooperation and Development of UAE, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, has been ranked 42 among the 100 most powerful women in the world, according to the Forbes, an American business magazine owned by Forbes, Inc.
The magazine announced that Sheikha Lubna stood first among the most powerful women in the Arab countries for the year 2015. She ranked 55 in 2014 and 67 in the year 2013.
The magazine writes that as Minister of International Cooperation and Development, Sheikha Lubna has led the United Arab Emirates into an unprecedented amount of philanthropy. The oil-rich country contributed US$5.4 billion to foreign nations in 2013, a steep climb from the US$1.6 billion donated in 2012, giving more than any other nation at a rate of 1.3 percent of the country's income.
Sheikha Lubna has also contributed to charities in her own time, volunteering with Friends of Cancer Patients Society and serving on the Board of Directors for the Dubai Autism Centre. In 2004, she became the first woman in the country's history to assume a cabinet position when she was appointed as Minister of Foreign Trade. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281127013.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid attends brainstorming session to discuss future of Smart Government


posted on 27/05/2015

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has attended a brainstorming session attended by 100 deputies, Directors-General and officials of smart government services, to discuss the most important ideas for the development of smart government services and its infrastructure as well as to promote its usage and enhance the quality of its applications.
Speaking at the session, His Highness said, "Our ambition in the short term is to link smart services federally and locally and to provide a single-window system to the customer wherever he is and whatever the service is, as the customer is looking to us as one state and one integrated work environment."
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed added that there is a need to review some legislation and government measures to facilitate the work of smart government and raise the efficiency of its services, saying that the next phase requires a comprehensive review, and continuous evaluation and classification of the services quality.
During his participation in the meeting, which was attended by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Smart Government, His Highness said that the smart employee is the source for providing smart service and customers need a lot of service channels to suit their different circumstances.
The session was attended by Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director-General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai, Ohood Al Roumi, Director-General, Office of the Prime Minister, Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, Director-General of UAE Smart Government, and Hessa Essa Buhumaid, Executive Director - Government Services Sector - Prime Minister's Office, along with a number of officials and dignitaries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281069522.html

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UAE Government Leaders Programme delegates visit giant U.S. corporations


posted on 23/05/2015

The UAE Government Leaders Programme organised a visit to the United States for 30 members of the Innovative Leaders Programme to exchange knowledge, experiences and best practices in the public and private sectors, and enhance the participants' leadership skills and knowledge based on innovation.
During the tour, the delegation showcased the UAE's efforts to design future smart cities based on innovative models in a workshop organised for members of Seattle Chamber of Commerce, attended by a number of dignitaries, researchers and students.
Abdullah bin Touq, Executive Director, Excellence & Leadership at Prime Minister's Office, said the tour focussed on promoting the UAE's position as a global model in innovative and forward-looking government. It also facilitated the exchange of knowledge and introduced the participants in the UAE Government Leaders Programme to the best international innovative practices in leadership, management and government work.
Touq said the programme focuses on preparing visionary leaders through innovation based training workshops, tours and field visits to raise efficiency levels of the participants and build their knowledge and leadership capabilities. The programme also enables them to apply new skills in their institutions to meet the requirements of future governments in line with UAE Vision 2021.
During their US visit, the delegation visited Stanford University and was briefed on the latest systems and scientific practices in the application of innovative solutions. The visit also enabled them to gain insights on the importance of a flexible working environment to enhance efficiencies and stimulate innovative thinking.
The delegation visited The Last Mile, a non-profit Foundation based in San Francisco that uses innovative practices in the rehabilitation of convicts by teaching them entrepreneurial skills that enable them to become productive community members by the time they finish their sentence period.
During the visit, the Innovative Leaders Programme showcased the UAE vision of smart cities based on innovative planning, identifying key needs of the public to create a future based on sustainable knowledge economy.
The delegation was briefed on ‘Seattle 2030', a model of future cities based on innovative approach to reduce environmental impact and carbon emissions, and conserve water through effective partnerships between public and private sectors.
The delegation received an overview of the manner in which the port and airport of Seattle are used to promote the city as a destination for business tourism and attract more investment through air traffic, cruise tourism and cooperation with other ports in the region.
The delegation also visited the headquarters of Microsoft in Seattle during which the participants got to learn about the work culture in the company and how it assists in the transition to smart government and shaping of cities of the future through its ‘Next City' project.
In San Francisco, the delegation met Marc Chandler, Deputy City Mayor and Head of Foreign Trade and Economic Affairs, who spoke on the role of innovation in economic sectors. Chandler also answered questions from the delegation on private sector participation in development, preservation of environment and development of the education sector.
During their visit to the offices of Google, the delegation was briefed on the methods of attracting talent and the adoption of innovative evaluation of staff.
The delegation also learned about innovative work culture and organisational excellence practiced at Facebook and Instagram.
The delegation learned about how the San Francisco port area was transformed into an attractive tourist location through the development of an investment centre with restaurants and shopping complexes. The visitors also got to learn how modern technology can be applied to control sound and light to reduce the negative effects of population. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395280935557.html

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UAE leadership makes prosperity and happiness key focus of policy-making


posted on 19/05/2015

The UAE's leaders placed the highest importance on providing a means of prosperity and happiness for citizens, an Emirati strategist said yesterday.
"UAE's leadership has continued to make prosperity and happiness a key focus of policymaking. Out of this commitment, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched a strategy to make the country one of the world's most innovative within seven years,” Maj Gen Dr Abdul Qudoos Al Obaidli, Chairman of the Emirates Strategic Planning Association, said.
Dr Al Obaidli gave the keynote speech at the third conference of the association held under the theme ‘Happiness and Innovation Strategies Towards 2021”.
The UN World Happiness Report has pegged the UAE as the happiest nation in the Arab world for the third consecutive year, 20th globally, ahead of Oman (22), Qatar (28), Saudi Arabia (35), Kuwait (39) and Bahrain (49).
The UAE has ranked 20th on the 2015 World Happiness Report published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations, released on April 23.
The nation is ranked among 158 countries on the index that took into account GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices as indicators of happiness.
The UAE gets special mention in the report, citing the Dubai Plan 2021, launched by Sheikh Mohammed last December. Sheikh Mohammed is lauded as among the few global leaders who are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations.
Sheikh Mohammed has said: "The first objective for the Dubai Plan 2021 is achieving people's happiness.”
The conference is organised under the patronage of Lt Gen Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior and President Emeritus of the Emirates Strategic Planning Association.
An elite group of Emirati strategists took part in the conference and submitted papers that touched on four main topics. ‘Happiness', according to the vision of the UAE President, presented by Ahmad Juma Al Zaabi, Deputy Minister of Presidential Affairs. ‘Innovation' will be presented by Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai, and Chairman of the Emirates Association for the Talented.
‘Happiness for people with disabilities' was tackled by Mohammed Mohammed Fadel Al Hameli, Secretary-General of the Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, and the fourth topic, ‘The invention of the first Emirati space probe' was tackled by Omran Anwar Sharaf, Director of Space Image Processing and Analysis Department at the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology.
The strategic goals of the Emirates Strategic Planning Association focus on raising awareness and encouraging strategic thinking in UAE society, and strengthening community-based partnerships among all segments and institutions of the UAE community and governmental, private, civil, and global institutions. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/government/uae-leadership-makes-prosperity-and-happiness-key-focus-of-policy-making-1.1513180

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Gulf security is an essential part of the global stability, says Mohamed bin Zayed


posted on 16/05/2015

CAMP DAVID, MARYLAND: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has stressed that the security of the Gulf region is an essential part of the global stability, given the region's economic, political and strategic importance to the global security.
He added during the Camp David summit that the United Arab Emirates and its sisterly Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) states "are quite aware of the size of responsibility on their shoulders to maintain the integrity and vitality of the region. They have managed through the various stages and periods to employ their capacities and capabilities to tackle the challenges and risks."
Sheikh Mohamed underlined that the United States "is a key strategic partner for the GCC and has vital role in maintaining the security and stability in the region, given its global weight, central role, and mutual interests between the two sides, as well as joint cooperation and close partnership," adding that "this important historical stage requires all of us in the GCC to cooperate with our friends by developing a framework of cooperation to serve mutual interests and establish a new stage that takes into account the new threats and challenges."
He added that "we have succeeded together through the constructive cooperation in the Arab coalition, and with the help of friends through Operation Restore Hope in Yemen, to abort the regional projects that sought to sow chaos, destruction and strife in the region."
Sheikh Mohamed said that the international community, led by the United States, must realise that the security and stability of the Arabian Gulf is closely linked to the global security. Hence, setting up the transparent and clear vision that serves all parties to achieve peace, stability and development "is a vital requirement."
He pointed out that this unprecedented historic summit "represents a qualitative genuine addition to the march of the GCC-US relations, and reflects keenness to strengthen the strategic partnership between the GCC states and the US." Sheikh Mohamed said that the talks avail an opportunity to exchange opinions and views through deep consultations on security challenges and threats in the Gulf region.
Sheikh Mohammed stressed the GCC position on the need to keep the Arabian Gulf region, given its strategic importance, safe from any dangers or potential security threats in case the final nuclear agreement with Iran does not include "clear standards and commitments in terms of availability of legal guarantees and international commitments sufficient to curb the nuclear ambitions of Iran in the region and its regional hegemony, as well as measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear arms."
He expressed confidence that the US administration would understand the GCC states and their peoples' legitimate concerns about "these potential strategic risks, especially in light of the turmoil, sectarian conflicts and the spread of terrorist groups and their affiliated organisations." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395280618872.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid twitter account surpasses 4 million followers


posted on 15/05/2015

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai's twitter account has reached over four million followers, making him one of the most followed leaders globally on the social networking site, while the total number of his followers on all other forms of social media is about 8.5 million.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed's account has come second globally in a study issued by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development for 2014 in his ability to reach the largest number of his people.
On the occasion, Sheikh Mohammed took to twitter to thank his followers saying he is proud of them all, and appreciates their views, suggestions and ideas, which he said have influenced the development process, and through them, they also became partners in the achievements.
The Ruler of Dubai added that social networking can be an important means for development, knowledge, and innovation, and when used positively can motivate people towards progress, and stir minds and hearts towards unity and coalition, saying, "We shall always focus on using social media channels for the good of mankind, for collaboration, enlightenment, and as a source of information."
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said that many community and humanitarian initiatives have been launched from his twitter page and were successful because of the large interaction of followers, promising that his twitter feed will remain a permanent platform on which to present ideas, themes and initiatives, from which people can benefit, disseminating good in the community.
The study revealed that the majority of Sheikh Mohammed's twitter followers are from the GCC, closely followed by Egypt, the US, and the UK. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395280599764.html

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Mohamed bin Zayed praises Vice President's cultural achievements


posted on 12/05/2015

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has paid tribute to Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was named 'Cultural Personality of the Year' by the Zayed Book Award.
Speaking during a ceremony held today at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre to honour Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and other winners of the award, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said the selection of the Vice President for the coveted title was in fact a "celebration of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's solid determination and wise vision which enabled him to lead a comprehensive progress in all domains, including culture."
He added that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid's achievements and initiatives reflect his innovative outlook and his passion for seeking new challenges to surmount and new horizons to reach.
"I sincerely congratulate the people of the UAE and salute our innovators on this well-deserved recognition," he added.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed also congratulated winners of this year's Zayed Book Award for different categories. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395280450717.html

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Mohamed bin Zayed orders establishment of anti-corruption unit


posted on 08/05/2015

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, today issued directives to the Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority (ADAA) for the creation of an anti-corruption unit to reflect commitment to corporate governance, transparency and accountability.
He took this decision at a meeting of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, which he presided over, at the Crown Prince's Court.
The meeting reviewed government performance and progress of work on the projects being carried out in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as the services offered to the citizens and residents.
The new anti-corruption unit's tasks include investigation of financial irregularities, corruption, identifying gaps in legislations and internal audit regulations and proposing means to address them.
Under the directives, the ADAA will draft the appropriate legislations and put in place procedures to eliminate financial crimes and maintain a financial and administrative system based on transparency and integrity, aimed at realising the leadership's aspirations for efficient government functioning and an adequate climate for the development process.
The ADAA will work with the judicial, security and other competent authorities to formulate policies for investigating violations related to the abuse of public funds and of public office, conflict of interest, profiteering from government contracts and fraud.
The Executive Council approved payment of housing loans to 1,200 beneficiaries at a total value of AED2.4 billion. The Council assigned the Abu Dhabi Housing Authority to issue the loans and to notify the beneficiaries immediately.
The average housing loan in Abu Dhabi is AED2 million, which is repaid in equal interest-free monthly instalments. The citizen gets a 25 percent exemption from the total loan value on the completion of the house. A one-time write off at specific percentage is granted on early settlement of loans.
The Council also sanctioned distribution of 263 houses to citizens in Al Farah area and 736 residential land plots in Al Wathba.
The Council approved the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Human Resources Authority (ADHRA) and merging of the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council into the new entity.
The decision to establish ADHRA is aimed at consolidating the manpower development structure in Abu Dhabi in a way that would enable fulfilling current and future needs of the human resources sectors.
The Council reviewed the annual performance report of the Government of Abu Dhabi for 2014 which covers key sectors, including government affairs, security, justice and safety, apart from social development, economic development, infrastructure and environment.
The report highlights Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), current and future projects, achievements and challenges.
Sheikh Mohamed was briefed on the project to set up social centres in several areas of the emirate under the Musataha contract system and as an outcome of the Public-Private Partnership.
He also viewed a model of Al Maqta Canal Walk, launched by the Department of Municipal Affairs during the Cityscape 2015 exhibition.
The project, valued at AED500 million, will be built on a 130,000-square metre area and is expected to be completed in 2017. The mixed-use waterfront development will house a business centre, health and sports facilities, an open-air theatre, recreational areas and associated service facilities.
Sheikh Mohamed also approved implementation of the Brand of Abu Dhabi on the licence plates of vehicles.
The Brand of Abu Dhabi was launched in 2007 to promote the Emirate's vision for the future and respects the culture, heritage and traditions of its past. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395280291436.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid: We want the best life, most dignified living standards, best education, the best healthcare services for our people


posted on 30/04/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on Wednesday emphasised that the achievements made under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan through hundreds of federal and local working teams have established an exceptional regional and international stature for the UAE, provided Emiratis with living standards that are a source of pride for all of us, and laid a solid foundation for the coming generations.
"All are required to double their efforts to preserve these gains and ensure these will be developed and sustained," said H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid during a meeting with H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, to review a detailed report on the progress made so far by more than 200 federal and local public entities and private sector organisations as part of efforts to implement annual targets to be achieved by 2021.
Sheikh Mohammed explained that the UAE National Agenda is the country's reference point and benchmark for real progress in all sectors, namely education, healthcare, economy, housing, police, environment, infrastructure, government services and global indices.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said, "The implementation of the National Agenda is going as scheduled, towards 2021. There are a large number of indices and goals which we can achieve before 2021, God willing. We have confidence in all the working teams at the federal and local levels. We thank them, and wish that all of them work with equal enthusiasm in the coming period."
"We want the best life, most dignified living standards, best education, the best healthcare services for our people. We have six years to fulfil our ambition and the vision that we drew up.
"We are following the performance indices for education, healthcare, Emiratisation, housing and economy. We noticed that a number of bodies lag behind. Today we gave directives to publish the results of national indices in a clear and transparent way because all are required to deliver according to these indices and also because all benefit from them."
The UAE National Agenda includes a set of national indicators and targets that should be achieved towards the UAE Vision 2021.
These indicators are long-term, measure performance outcomes in each of the national priorities, and generally compare the UAE against global benchmarks. The national indicators are periodically monitored by Government leadership to ensure their targets are achieved by 2021.
The progress report on the UAE National Agenda reviewed by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid at his office at the Cabinet reveals the following results for 2014:
- Percentage of Emirati children in preschools rose to 88%. The target is 95% by 2021.
- Percentage of students with high skills in Arabic, according to national tests - UAE NAP. Females beat males. Private schools applying the Ministry of Education curriculum beat public schools.
- Prevalence of obesity amongst children (12-17 years old) went down to 13%. Lowest rate in Umm Al Qaiwain. Target is to take rate down to 12%.
- Healthcare Quality Index. UAE remained the best performing among Arab countries.
- National Identity Index. Performance rate went up from 82% to 91% in 2014. 25 initiatives are in place to achieve 100%.
- Happiness Index. UAE remained the happiest Arab country, and third happiest globally.
- Sense of security. 92% in 2014.
- Road Traffic Death Rate per 100 thousand population went down 24% in the four past years.
- Reliability of Police Services. From 12th place in 2013 to 7th place globally in 2014.
- Global Competitiveness Index. Now in 12th place globally up from 24th place in 2012.
- Percentage of UAE Nationals in the workforce. 275,000 Emiratis in 2014. Target is 460,000 by 2021.
- Global Innovation Index. Remarkable progress. UAE is first Arab country on this indicator.
- Percentage of Emiratis in the private sector is 22%. The target is 50% by 2021. Female account for 52%.
- Air Quality Index. Quality improved by 20% in one year. Environmental initiatives are in place to increase improvement.
- Time to obtain a loan/house from the Government for UAE nationals decreased from 10 years in the previous years to four years. Target is two years by 2021.
- Share of "Knowledge Workers" in the labour force is 22% now. Target is 40% by 2021.
- Networked Readiness Index (Telecommunication & IT sectors): From 20th place globally in the past four years to 23th place. UAE is now the first Arab country on this indicator and is ahead of advanced countries such as Belgium, Ireland and France.
- Quality of air transport infrastructure. From 3rd place to 2nd place globally. Target is the first spot globally.
- Quality of port infrastructure. From 5th place to 3rd place globally.
- Quality of overall infrastructure (such as transportation, electricity and telephone lines). Progress from 8th spot to 3rd spot globally. Target is the first spot globally. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279928390.html

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UAE Ministerial Council for Services discusses recommendations to boost Emiratisation in thirty years


posted on 27/04/2015

The UAE Ministerial Council for Services, chaired by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, discussed recommendations of a study on the strategic planning of national workforce in the UAE.
The project includes designing a database of six million persons working in the UAE, which contributed into forecasting job opportunities in the coming thirty years as well as developing and evaluating current national policies and increasing the participation of nationals in the labour market across the country.
The project comes in line with directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to develop a strategic framework to increase national participation in labour market as set out in the UAE Vision 2021 and follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
The Ministry of Presidential Affairs conceptualised and implemented the project in collaboration with a number of federal and local government entities in the country. The project is one of the strategic components of the ‘Absher' initiative.
Meanwhile, the Ministerial Council addressed other issues on the agenda. It reviewed a number of federal laws and regulations such as amending some items in the federal law on regulating Commercial Agencies where family-owned businesses will be joint-stock companies. Others laws included using technologies in health sector.
On the other hand, the Council also addressed issues related to government affairs by reviewing a number of recommendations submitted by the Federal National Council on matters related to Cooperatives as well as other matters pertaining to housing policies and employment visa.
The Ministerial Council also reviewed a number of reports such as the closing statement of the Emirates Telecommunications Corporations for the year 2014. http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279767174.html

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UAE emphasis on strategic foresight engenders citizens’ trust: Forbes


posted on 27/04/2015

Trust is generally one of the world's scarcest commodities, according to global PR firm Edelman's 2015 annual "Trust Barometer", which says that given the state of the world today, perhaps it's no surprise that governments the world over are seen as largely untrustworthy, with governments, corporations, NGOs and institutions of all kinds being held in lower repute today than at any time in the 13 years Edelman has been probing who, and what, commands the trust of citizens and consumers.
So, according to Paul Laudicina, Forbes contributor, in an article published this weekend, what might come as a surprise is which governments are bucking this trend, and by wide margins. The report reveals that the country most trusted by its citizens is the United Arab Emirates.
In an article entitled, "Where ‘trusted government' is not an oxymoron", published on forbes.com, Laudicina describes the UAE as an oasis of stability, modernity, diversity and tolerance, comparing it in size, population, and growth trajectory, to Singapore, which also has a government that ranks among the most trusted.
As a frequent visitor to the UAE, Laudicina, the author of numerous articles and books and a speaker on economic issues, says that he has had a bird's eye opportunity over the years to observe the UAE's dramatic transformation. So its ranking at the top of the Edelman trust league table is no surprise to him.
"What is it about the UAE and Singaporean governments and their leaders that engender trust among their people?" he asks.
"In my view, it's all about authentic vision and consistent execution. True, small jurisdictions with tight, authoritative leadership structures can be more decisive and nimble, and the UAE's oil wealth hasn't hurt, but the UAE is in an admittedly troubled neighborhood, and Singapore never had any natural resources. The answers lie elsewhere."
He explains that while the United States struggles with gridlock politics, citizens react by turning away from government as a problem-solving tool. Similar reactions in other politically disjointed economies make understanding the UAE and Singapore strategies all the more important as case studies for restoring trust in other countries as well.
He says that one doesn't need to go back too far in history to see how far the countries have come, how fast, and how many problems they've had to overcome. As recently as the 1950s, feuding among the Gulf state's tribes and the drop off in the important pearl trading industry damaged citizens' morale and deprived them of a valuable source of income. "To say the region lacked a cohesive narrative vision – a clear compelling national direction – is an understatement."
Describing the run-up to the forging of the nation in 1971, Laudicina talks about the transformation beginning in earnest with the serious production of Gulf oil in the late 1960s. "Rather than just living well off its oil wealth," he says, "The UAE began, and has continued, to plan for an ambitious post-oil future. Beginning in the 1970s, the Emirates embarked on a reform agenda to remake the country through investments in development and financial transformation, including tourism and logistics infrastructure."
He continues, "Thanks to the country's emphasis on long-term planning, Dubai today has become a major financial centre in the region and one of the world's largest trade hubs. The UAE's clear, compelling vision statement "we want to be among the best countries in the world by 2021", the Golden Jubilee year of the Union is built on tangible pillars of success. Behind this ambitious mission, the country's leadership has delivered in areas of critical importance to its citizens, investing in smart technologies, transforming K-12 education, encouraging the growth of high-value added sectors through dedicated economic zones, and making investments into healthcare infrastructure, to name just a few of its recent achievements."
Laudicina's comparison of the UAE with Singapore shows how the countries have charted a similar course since the 1960s, although from opposite sides of the spectrum. Where the UAE was busy planning for an ambitious post-oil future, Singapore, in 1965, was an island city-state without any natural resources of its own and ranked among the poorest countries in the world. It faced the scars left by the remnants of strife between Malays and ethnic Chinese, and beyond the will of its people, had few clear competitive advantages. Most threatening to the fledgling country's security was its reliance on Malaysia for fresh water. In just a few decades, the country was able to capitalise on its diversity and overcome its water issues by investing heavily in sustainable water technology from diverse sources. Lee Kuan Yew, the recently-deceased founding Prime Minister, envisioned a future for Singapore as an economic powerhouse, and focused on setting up the strong institutional foundations necessary for this success, including a world-class educational system, strong rule of law, and a business-friendly market environment. He backed up his vision with credentials, leading Singapore to boast an average annual growth rate of 6.8% from 1976 through 2014.
"At the core of both countries' success, is visionary leadership carried out with determination," Laudicina says, "But lofty vision, even with committed intention, will not breed success unless it is executed well as Thomas Edison once said, "Vision without execution is hallucination." And what the leaders of the UAE and Singapore have done exceedingly well has been to recognise their countries' competitive advantages and create measurable, targeted plans albeit ambitious ones centred on these advantages. In the UAE, this has meant using natural resources as the bedrock for GDP growth, and moving to diversify the economy from there. For Singapore, this meant the creation of a highly skilled workforce, which today makes it one of the most competitive brain-powered economies in the world. Both governments consistently take the risks necessary to convert ideas into action."
The forbes.com article concludes with the assertion that both the UAE's and Singapore's emphasis on strategic foresight has allowed these countries to envision a future that reaches beyond the conventional and established norm, and, equally as important, their leaderships' ability to translate this message for their audiences has naturally engendered citizens' trust.
"Behind such clear, compelling visions supported by credible and tangible execution - and success - trust must naturally follow." – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279731430.html

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UAE participates in Afro-Asian conference in Jakarta


posted on 25/04/2015

JAKARTA: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) took part in the Asia – Africa Conference which concluded yesterday and was attended by 29 heads of state and prime ministers, as well as representatives from 87 Asian and African countries and international organisations.
Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy headed the UAE delegation to the conference, held under the theme "Strengthening South-South Cooperation to Promote World Peace and Prosperity".
In his speech before the summit, Tariq Ahmed al Haidan, Assistant Foreign Minister for International Organisations Affairs, said that the UAE believed in the principles on which the Bandung Conference was held in 1955.
He added that the UAE's foreign policy is based on the UN charter and on building relations with all countries of the world on the basis of respect for the sovereignty of nations, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, supporting their rights, justice and legitimacy and contributing to global peace and stability.
He referred to the UAE's developmental and humanitarian aid which exceeded 1.3 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product totalling US$5.8 billion in 2013 and US$5 billion in 2014.
Al Haidan said that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is considered an important region for Asian – African solidarity and for the future of peace and development.
He urged Asian and African countries to demonstrate their solidarity with the Palestinian cause and support the Palestinian National Authority's efforts to secure membership in international bodies leading up to the Palestinian people's goal of establishing an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Highlighting the issue of terrorism and violent extremism, Al Haidan also said that the international community should take decisive measures to counter terrorist groups at the security, political, social, cultural and ideological levels. He emphasised that combatting terrorism and violent extremism should become one of the key pillars for an Afro-Asian strategic partnership.
He noted that the UAE hosts the counter-terrorism centre (Hedaya) and is a member of the Global Counter-terrorism Forum. - Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395279688992.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid issues law on Community Development Authority in Dubai


posted on 20/04/2015

In his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued Law No. (8) of 2015 on Dubai's Community Development Authority.
The new Law aims to enhance the quality of life in the emirate of Dubai, organising and reinforcing community development, empowering vulnerable groups including senior citizens, people with special needs, underprivileged, juveniles and delinquent, and help them reach higher levels of self-dependency.
The Law also contributes to providing social services for the targeted segments and boost innovation and development capabilities in the social service sector and overseeing fulfilment of social services goals in Dubai.
According to the new law, responsibilities of Dubai's Community Development Authority are to include: drafting policies and strategic plans for social services, most particularly those related to social development, private sector's social responsibilities, human rights, and national identity in addition to proposing legislations for social development and social services.
The Law also authorised the Community Development Authority to organise, regulate and control the licensing and registration process of non-governmental organisations other than the organisations established pursuant to special legislations or falls under the responsibility of the federal government. Furthermore, the Community Development Authority is responsible for organising and regulating the licensing process for providers of social services, social workers and organising voluntary work for individuals and groups.
Additionally, Dubai's Community Development Authority is mandated to establish and manage a special system and database for social services in Dubai, set up plans and programmes required to ensure high quality of social services and human right and submit such plans and programmes to Dubai's Executive Council for approval.
The Law also authorised the Community Development Authority to draft and implement plans to develop and empower youth.
Law No (8) of 2015 substitute Law No (12) of 2008 on Dubai's Community Development Authority and annuls any other law or legislation that contradicts any of its articles. This Law is valid from the date of issuance and will be published in the Official Gazette. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279455605.html

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Sheikh Zayed Book Award names Mohammed bin Rashid Cultural Personality of the Year


posted on 16/04/2015

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award committee has announced that Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has been named as the Cultural Personality of the Award's ninth session, 2014/2015. The award honours prominent figures for their distinguished contributions to the advancement of Arab culture, and for works that call for tolerance and promote peaceful coexistence.
The announcement was made yesterday during a press conference at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Jumaa Al Qubaisi, Member of the Board of Trustees, Executive Director of the National Library.
Following the declaration of His Highness as winner of the award, Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, President of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Tourism and the award's Board of Trustees, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, award's Secretary-General, and the members of the Board extended their warmest congratulations and sincerest regards to Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on winning this year's award, which honours prominent figures, for his distinguished contributions to Arab culture.
Bin Tamim explained that the decision came as a tribute to His Highness being one of the most prominent agents of change in all walks of cultural development, with achievements ever expanding far and wide all over the world, fostering Arab culture, whether in creative work, intellectual endeavour, or promotion of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. His Highness's work, Bin Tamim added, brings hope and optimism to creative individuals in all fields, exemplifying the very essence of the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in whose name the award is given. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279295041.html

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Dubai Smart Government launches UAE Government's first LinkedIn company page in Arabic


posted on 16/04/2015

Dubai Smart Government has become the first UAE Government body to launch an official company page in Arabic on LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network on the internet with more than 347 million members across the world.
Ahmad bin Humaidan, Director General of the Dubai Smart Government, said, "This step is in support of the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to nurture a strong national identity and adapt our communications to embrace the national language of our country. As the first UAE Government authority to launch a LinkedIn company page in Arabic, we are proud to embrace our heritage and culture, which we feel is our responsibility as a representative of Dubai's smart future."
Bin Humaidan added, "Despite the fact that Arabic is spoken by around half a billion people and is an official language of the United Nations, there is a lack of Arabic-language content available on the internet. As native speakers, we are all responsible for building up a strong presence of Arabic content online, and should take it upon ourselves to be responsible for developing more websites, platforms and pages that speak our language."
Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn Talent Solutions, MENA, said, "With LinkedIn now in Arabic, our 14 million members from the MENA region and the millions of Arabic speakers globally can grow their professional networks, access quality content, and pursue economic opportunity in the comfort of their own language. We are proud that the Dubai Smart Government chose to make this shift to Arabic on our platform, which will enable them to strengthen their talent sourcing from among our global database of members, and simultaneously position the Dubai Government as the regional pioneer in all things 'Smart'."
Dubai Smart Government's Arabic LinkedIn page will help to solidify communications between departments, companies, and individuals. Additionally, the page will serve as a solid resource for job seekers, while allowing Dubai Smart Government to access a wide base of Arabic-speaking professionals to fill role requirements. The LinkedIn company page will also list services that are provided by Dubai Smart Government, as well as detailing the work environment and providing a listing of available job opportunities. Arabic users will automatically login to the Arabic LinkedIn page, while English users can change their personal settings for English preference. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395279325311.html

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ECSSR's 20th Annual Conference launches to discuss Middle East, shifting roles, interests and alliances


posted on 01/04/2015

Under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and President of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), the ECSSR yesterday inaugurated its 20th Annual Conference entitled, "The Middle East: Shifting Roles, Interests and Alliances," in the presence of Fouad Siniora, former Prime Minister of Lebanese Republic and a plethora of intellectuals, academics, researchers, and a number of members of the diplomatic corps and the media. The two day conference will be held at the ECSSR complex in Abu Dhabi.
The proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference opened with welcoming remarks from Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, through which he conveyed greetings of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the participants at the conference and his wishes for success.
Fouad Siniora, former Lebanese Prime Minister, delivered one of the keynote addresses in which he lauded the model represented by the UAE as an Arab unification experiment since its establishment at the hands of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
"This experiment is a success story based on the fact that unity is strength. The UAE is a good example to be followed in the Arab world, where unity turns weakness into strength. The UAE is also a good example of diversity and acceptance, in addition to being open to the modern world, whilst retaining the national character and a tradition of independent decision making," Siniora added "Today, the Arab region is experiencing a period of uncertainty, especially with the growing role of non-state actors. A unified Arab strategy is required to confront the many challenges facing the region, including the uncertainty of whether the current political boundaries will remain; the growth of extremist organisations such as Da'esh; the ambiguity of the future of the Arab-Israeli peace process; and the future of economic and social conditions in the Arab region.
The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 has been a serious threat to the Arab region, removed Iraq from its historic role in the regional security system, and demolished the Iraqi state that existed since 1920. When the US withdrew from Iraq, the latter fell under Iranian hegemony, forcing it to suffer from a sectarian war and the growing influence of the forces of extremism and terrorism.
Iranian control over Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, weakening these Arab regimes, cannot be ignored, as it seeks to export its revolution to the Arab region, and further, for its continuous pursuit to destabilise the region by way of supporting sectarian militias in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.
There are many non- Arab actors exerting influence in the region. Israel continues to occupy Arab lands, preventing the establishment of an Arab state; Iran has a heavy hand in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen; Turkey seeks to play a growing regional role; the United States, which has contributed to strengthening the role of Iran and destabilisation of the region through the execution of its policies; Russia, which supports the Assad regime, and perhaps communication with it may help stabilise the region; and finally, militant and terrorist movements. However, Operation Decisive Storm is a good example of Arab moderation forces working together to restore regional stability.
Arab moderate forces should raise the level of their response to these existing threats through three main fronts. Firstly, by revisiting the Palestinian issue, which is the prime source of all problems in the region and should be resolved on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative. Secondly, activation of joint Arab political, security and economic action is urgently required. This will not be possible without restoring the leading role of Egypt in the Arab world by alleviating the burdens of the domestic economic and security shocks it now suffers. There should be a restructuring of the Arab League in a manner that boosts its regional role. Operation Decisive Storm and the joint Arab action in Yemen represent a practical application and action of this kind should continue in the future. There are also a number of economic challenges which should not be overshadowed, including population increase, the deterioration of economic conditions and high unemployment rate among the youth, which in turn constitutes the greatest challenge. We need to create 50 million new jobs in the near future in order to absorb new labour market entrants. Thirdly, we must confront extremist and terrorist groups and reform the content of religious discourse by reforming our own religious institutions.
The work of Arab moderate forces on these three fronts should be accompanied by work with external powers and an enhancement of cooperation with them on the basis of common interests and non-interference in Arab affairs. The world has an interest in the stability of the Arab region and it also has a responsibility to achieve this by helping to rid the region of the situation of despair and provide strong support to moderate forces in Syria in their fight against the criminal regime," Siniora further said.
Ambassador Mohammad al-Orabi, former foreign minister of Egypt, delivered a speech in which he praised the civilisational model represented by the UAE in all fields and the forward-looking scientific research role played by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR). He described the ECSSR as a prestigious Centre which is considered today as one of the best think tanks in the world for its objectivity, research activity, publications and events. He expressed his appreciation for the sponsor of this important intellectual conference, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and for Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi.
Ambassador Mohammad al-Orabi, former Egyptian foreign minister, noted that his presence among the conference participants coincided with grave events threatening Arab nations, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf. Several forces have joined efforts to undermine the modern Arab state, and "we have to confront this threat with joint Arab action," he urged. The recent Arab Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh is the best example of joint action for which we aspire for. Joint action has changed from the realm of a wish to action with the formation of a joint Arab force.
He noted that there are numerous challenges facing the Arab world today including the failure to reach a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict; the growing nuclear capabilities of Iran and Israel; low rates of development in Arab countries, where societies are largely composed of young people; the spread of extremist and terrorist groups and organisations such as Daesh (ISIL); sectarian and ethnic conflicts which contribute to fuelling the intervention of regional and international powers; the clear rise of the role of non-state actors, driven by a desire to fragment the Arab nation-state; the internationalisation of Arab problems which has seen the files of major Arab issues transfer to non-Arab hands, as is the case in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq; and the role played by some non-Arab regional actors in an attempt to fill the strategic vacuum.
"Daesh seeks to undermine the integrity of brotherly Iraq, and Egypt calls on the present governmental team in Baghdad to proceed towards restoring Iraq's links with its neighbouring countries as well as renewing the concept of the nation state in order to prevent the consolidation of the concept of division of a sectarian, ethnic or geographical nature."
"Yemen suffers today from disintegration that threatens the country and all Arab security and Egypt has declared its participation in the positive Arab effort to achieve stability in Yemen, to ensure and maintain the integrity of Arab national security against external interventions that spread chaos and instability.
The Syrian crisis is still at a standstill after four years. It has slipped, as a result of political and security errors, into a spiral of violence and chaos, the cost of which is being paid by the Syrian people. Egypt, however, is dedicating its efforts to finding a solution to the Syrian crisis, with emphasis on complete independence from any external influences. Therefore, a conference for Syrian national forces will be held in Egypt this spring which will hopefully lead to a political solution that will protect Syria and its people from war.
Libya is one of the most pressing challenges facing the region. The situation has become more dangerous and threatening as terrorist and jihadi organisations have exploited the instability to expand and acquire more influence. As a result, the region is now facing a cross-border terrorist threat."
Ambassador al-Orabi added that Egypt is regaining its position at the heart of the Arab world and it is fully determined to address the challenges the Arab region is facing.
The first panel, entitled "The Current Political and Strategic Landscape in the Middle East," chaired by Salem Mohamed Humaid, Director-General, Al Mezmaah Studies and Research Centre, began with Paul Salem, Vice President, Middle East Institute, United States, presenting a paper, entitled, "Arab Change States and Regional Powers: Shifting Interests and Alliances," in which he explained that the Arab world has been swept by a storm of changes since the uprisings of 2011. This has led to profound political change in some countries and civil war in others. It has also enabled the rise of a radical terrorist proto-state in the heart of the Levant. Meanwhile, these fast moving developments have impacted the role of regional players such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, Qatar and Egypt, and altered the position of the region among global powers.
Salem examined the interconnections between developments in these states and the changing policies and fortunes of key regional players. He also examined the competing and converging interests of regional powers; the impact of their policies in key parts of the Middle East; and the way forward in terms of building regional security and stability.
Raghida Dergham, New York Bureau Chief, Al Hayat newspaper, and Executive Chairman of the Beirut Institute in the Lebanese Republic, presented her paper, entitled, "The Current Situation in the Arab States in Change."
She noted that Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Tunisia have all experienced significant changes in recent years as a result of the so-called "Arab Spring." This has affected inter-state relations in the region as well as relations with external and non-Arab regional powers; Iran and Turkey in particular are benefiting from the changes taking place in the Arab arena. The fall-out from the changes brought about by the so-called "Arab Spring" has also affected relations between Arab change states and major non-regional powers. This, in turn, is reflected in the policies of these states towards the Arab region. At the forefront of these powers is the United States of America, the policy objectives of which have ranged between continuity and change. Dergham also noted that the changes taking place in the Arab states have had a significant impact on regional balances in general. As a result, Iran has been able to take advantage of the situation by attempting to expand and strengthen its influence in the region, particularly in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, and this will have significant consequences for existing and future regional alliances.
Richard Barrett CMG OBE, Senior Vice President of The Soufan Group, presented his paper, entitled, "The International Coalition Against Terrorism: Opportunities and Challenges," in which he pointed out that the past 13 years have witnessed a continuous campaign against terrorism, and yet we face more widespread disruption from armed non-State actors today than we did in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in the United States in 2001. In most parts of the world, the actual threat from terrorism to political stability, national identity and social cohesion is minimal, but in others, terrorist groups have developed into insurgencies and even proto-states. Even where terrorism is not, in fact, a significant threat, it can dominate the political and social agenda, challenging the concepts of a multi-cultural society, posing questions about the role of religion in government, and throwing doubt on the continued viability of national borders.
Mr Barrett added that terrorism, therefore, has created a new world disorder without allowing time for a considered international response to the challenges it poses, challenges so serious that even states which pride themselves on their observance of universal values have pursued policies at odds with their international commitments. Emotion has often trumped analysis in policy-making and changed the nature of political leadership.
Barrett concluded by saying international consensus centres around opposition to terrorism without any agreed definition of what terrorism is. This has led to broad agreements on policy and operational responses that are marked only by a common lack of impact. Old tools have proved inadequate to meet the terrorist threat, but the world has been slow to develop and adopt new ones. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278740415.html

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Government services go smart at Dubai expo


posted on 31/03/2015

The latest smart government services and projects are on show at the Dubai Government Achievements Exhibition (DGAE) until Monday.
The exhibition showcases how technology has been transforming the delivery of services over recent years. Many, if not most, services are now available on mobile devices through smart apps.
The push towards smart services is reducing paperwork and waiting lines at traditional service counters — all part of the overarching strategy to transform Dubai into a Smart City, where services are accessible from anywhere at any time.
At DGAE, being held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre for the third time, government departments are promoting their "success stories”, which mostly revolve around technological innovations.
Gulf News combed through the show to highlight some projects at the cutting edge of service delivery.
Dubai Smart Government: New online search engine
Dubai Smart Government (DSG) is demonstrating Search Dubai, a new online search engine that only shows results from Dubai government websites.
"It's like Google, customised for Dubai government services. You will only see results related to our [government] services and websites, everything else will be kept out,” said Wasim Al Ayoubi, senior e-services integration specialist, smart services department, DSG.
He explained that, for instance, a query for "bills” will return the web page of departments such as utility and communication where users can see or pay bills. A similar process will work for "fines”.
What's more, Al Ayoubi added, users don't need to sign in separately for different government websites if they first sign in to Search Dubai using the DSG My ID log in. The option does away with the need to separately register for different websites or remember multiple usernames and passwords.
Dubai Municipality: Fast 3D drone surveys of topography
Dubai Municipality is displaying its new unmanned survey drone that takes thousands of aerial pictures along with capturing topographical and spatial data, which is processed to render one composite 3D image of the survey area.
The image shows elevations, such as hills, and depressions on the surface, which is used to determine what areas need to be "filled” or "cut” to make them level, as part of projects to be built on the land.
The system allows surveyors to cover a wide area, of up to one kilometre square per sortie, reducing the time and effort needed for the same task by humans. The specialised imaging service can be marketed to real estate developers and consultants, allowing the scanning of rugged areas too difficult to reach or cover by officials.
Dubai Police: Radar for special needs parking violations
Dubai Police is displaying their new means of catching traffic violators.
A radar, modelled after the Burj Khalifa, is designed to prevent able-bodied motorists from parking in spaces designated for those with special needs.
"The radar was built by the Police's Traffic Technologies Department,” Major Hussain Ahmad Bin Galaita, Director of the Radar Department at Dubai Police, said. "The radar features two cameras which can take both pictures and video. One camera is aimed at the licence plate of the vehicle while the other identifies the passengers. A steep fine of Dh1,000 and four black points are given to those who illegally park in the special-needs designated zone or fraudulently use the special needs sticker.”
The Burj Tower radar, which uses laser technology to catch speed offenders, was also displayed. It keeps track of offenders on both sides of the road and is capable of detecting various traffic offences, including failure to keep a safe distance.
"We also have another radar which is designated to catch those who unlawfully use the hard shoulder,” Bin Galaita said. "This radar was also designed by Dubai Police.”
Dubai Customs: Smart scans of travellers' baggage
Dubai Customs unveiled an array of innovative projects at the exhibition on Monday. Among them was the Smart Customs Inspection System, which inspects travellers' luggage at airports. The Bags Smart Inspection System has been invented by Dubai Customs and aims to improve the customs experience for air travellers, ensuring smooth and seamless airport procedures.
"The integrated multi-function system is capable of recognising its operator, identifying a passenger's risk level, recommending the safety level for manual inspection referral, and timing the inspection process,” Inspections Manager Ahmad Shehdad said.
"Once the inspection is complete, the system asks for the traveller's feedback and measures their levels of satisfaction and happiness. That way we know how to further develop the system.”
An Advanced Container Scanning System was also displayed at the Dubai Customs stand. The device is the latest world-class integrated system for container X-ray screening and is capable of scanning the contents of 150 containers per hour moving at 8 to 15 km/h — that is one truck every 24 seconds.
Obaid Al Mansouri, duty manager of the Dubai Customs office at the Hatta border, said Dubai Customs had also developed a quad bike to help expedite truck movement.
"The quad bike relieves truck drivers from the trouble from personally going to our offices to clear the entry point. It comes equipped with a laptop but will soon be fitted with a scanner and printer. A number of tedious procedures were eliminated by the simple introduction of this quad bike. Our officers visit the vehicles themselves and finish the inspection process on the spot. As the Hatta road is narrow and subject to bottlenecks, the quad bike quickens the whole inspection process and saves us a lot of time.” – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/government/government-services-go-smart-at-dubai-expo-1.1481672

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Mohammed bin Rashid: Reason behind high government performance is that state treats public institutions as competing private bodies


posted on 19/03/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has stressed that the main reason behind the UAE's high government performance was the fact that the state treat its institutions as private, not government, bodies that compete with the private sector, embrace its mind-set and best practices and have their achievements assessed by the criteria of this sector.
In his article in the recent issue of Wamadhat (Flashes) Magazine, a publication of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, MBRF, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid says "We even went further and started to measure customer satisfaction and rate our services centres using the internationally-recognised hotel star rating systems. The experiences proved to be successful where the performance of our institutions improved and we were able to achieve our goals."
The new issue of the magazine also highlights the 2015 edition of Government Summit held in Dubai last month under the theme "Shaping Future Governments."
The magazine highlights the keynote speech of the summit in which His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, commended the vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and spoke about future governments, the harnessing of resources to serve man, as well as the importance of education and the excellent infrastructure in the UAE.
The magazine also highlights the speech delivered by H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, during the summit in which he spoke about positive citizenship which constitutes the foundation of success for future government and cohesion and growth of their peoples.
In another section, the new issue of the magazine highlights plans announced recently by MBRF to bring Nobel Museum's travelling exhibition to Dubai. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278156772.html

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UAE joins states supporting Austrian Pledge to ban nuclear weapons


posted on 11/03/2015

VIENNA: The UAE has joined the group of states that support The Austrian Pledge to ban nuclear weapons.
The Republic of Austria unveiled the blueprint when it hosted and chaired the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, held in December 2014. The conference saw a massive attendance by representatives of 158 states, delegates of international organisations and civil society organisations.
In its capacity as the host country, Austria regards it her responsibility and consequently pledges to present fact-based discussions, findings and compelling evidence of the Vienna Conference, which builds upon the previous conferences, to all relevant fora, as they should be at the centre of all deliberations, obligations and commitments with regard to nuclear disarmament.
The Austrian Pledge calls on all state parties to the NPT to renew their commitment to the urgent and full implementation of existing obligations and to this end, to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
Driven by "the imperative of human security for all and to promote the protection of civilians against risks stemming from nuclear weapons," Austria promised to disseminate the evidence and findings from the Vienna Conference and "cooperate with all relevant stakeholders, states, international organisations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements, parliamentarians and civil society to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in the light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks."
Recognising the complexity of and inter-relationship between these consequences on health, environment, infrastructure, food security, climate, development, social cohesion and the global economy that are systemic and potentially irreversible, and mindful that no national or international response capacity exists that would adequately respond to the human suffering and humanitarian harm that would result from a nuclear weapon explosion in a populated area, and that such capacity most likely will never exist, the Austrian Pledge calls on all states parties to renew their commitment to the urgent and full implementation of existing obligations towards elimination of nuclear weapons.
Commenting on the UAE's accession to The Austria Pledge, Hamad Alkaabi, the UAE's Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said, 'The UAE move stems out of the fact that the Pledge's objectives are consistent with the UAE's nuclear policies on supporting the non-proliferation mechanism on one hand and nuclear disarmament on the other.' "It also fits well into the general framework of the UAE's peaceful nuclear policy, particularly since the UAE has participated in the three previous Conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.' 'The UAE has always been at the forefront of countries advocating a world free of nuclear weapons and backing efforts for nuclear disarmament,' he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277752703.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid launches fourth generation of government excellence programme


posted on 08/03/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum has launched the fourth generation of the government excellence system, the first of its kind in the world, and focuses on results and was designed to upgrade government performance efficiency.
The fourth generation of the government excellence system aims to upgrade the system of government work on innovative basis and standards based on the excellence in government services in three main areas: achievement of the vision, innovation and empowerment to attain the highest satisfaction rates and people's satisfaction.
Commenting on the launch of the programme, Sheikh Mohammed said, "Today we launched the fourth generation of the government excellence system, a new phase which represents the excellence we aspire in the government work and draw a proactive approach to future governments to serve our people and country. It is also complements the path of excellence that we started 20 years ago when we launched the Dubai Quality Award." "We have come a long way of successful excellence. Our country has been ranked among the top positions in the global competitiveness indexes. Today we want to build on this success to move ahead to a new stage whose title is excellence," he added.
In the race toward the top position, he continued, "We look forward to excellence as a challenge rather than an achievement. Achievement is what we attain for future of our people; while the march of excellence continues and does not stop at any limits or borders." The event was attended by Maktoum bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs.
Sheikh Mohammad also reviewed some stages of the government excellence process which began in 1994, with the "Dubai Quality Award".
The fourth generation of government excellence system include a number of characteristics that makes it unique. It ensures the achievement of quality and unprecedented added value to government bodies, which applied it. The system observes differences and privacy in the nature of work of institutions, and focusses on results achieved by the parties in accordance with the tasks assigned to them to achieve the national agenda. It motivates the institutions to look for future and keep pace with latest developments.
It also focuses on ensuring a competitive advantage for the State and the institution that implements it through advanced levels of achievement in the global competitiveness indexes and sustainable long-term results.
The fourth generation of government excellence system has been endorsed as a basis for assessing the government institutions involved in the Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Excellence in Government Performance, with the aim to gauge maturity level reached by those authorities in the journey towards leadership, and identifying areas of improvement as well as opportunities to help them achieve ambitious goals. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority issues the Accountability Report 2015


posted on 01/03/2015

The Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority (ADAA), an independent body mandated to oversee transparency and accountability across Abu Dhabi Government, issued its "Accountability Report 2015".
Riyad Al Mubarak, Chairman of ADAA stated in the report foreword: "It gives me a great pleasure to bring to you the Accountability Report 2015, the 7th issue of the annual report of the Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority (ADAA), that affirms our commitment to the highest standards of transparency and accountability, the standards that have become a way of life under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates.
This issue of the annual report arrives at a time when the Government Summit - Shaping Future Governments - has just been concluded. During the Summit, we learned about the ambitious vision of the future of the Government and what has been accomplished in all areas of government sectors.
One can't mention the Summit without stopping at the keynote speech of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. A speech that cited the history, witnessed the present and shaped the future His Highness said every successful government treats its citizens as a national asset. He added that state-building doesn't only depend on governments, but also on every citizen and resident of this blessed land. He quoted a saying by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan that: The new generation should be aware of the suffering of its ancestors. This awareness will provide them with drive, firmness and solidity in order to complete the epic of construction and development initiated by our fathers and ancestors.
We at ADAA, under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and the support of H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, are proud that we have developed and sponsored the Auditor Development Program designed with the objective of contributing to the training and development of Emirati auditors and assisting them acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to advance and excel in their careers. Since the inception of the Program, more than fifty UAE nationals have joined." In conclusion of the foreword, the Chairman of ADAA extended his thanks to everyone who has contributed to the achievements of ADAA including public entities and ADAA employees, praying to the Almighty Allah to grant everyone success in serving our generous Country.
The Report explained in the first part the strategic pillars of the overall strategy, objectives, mandate, outputs and outcomes expected from ADAA. The second part of the Report is a detailed explanation of ADAA work methodologies that are used to produce its ten outputs under ADAA three output groups: Audit & Financial Examination Group; Performance & Risk Assurance Group; and Supporting Accountability Group. The third part of the Report summaries ADAA 2014 achievements including summary of all reports issued, in addition to a highlight of 2015 plan. The Report is concluded in the fourth part providing the 2014 audited financial statements of ADAA.
The Report said that ADAA issued 824 reports during the past five years across its two groups, the Financial Audit & Examination Group and the Performance & Risk Assurance Group, of which 162 reports were issued in 2014 (82 Financial Audit & Examination reports and 80 Performance & Risk Assurance reports).
The Report added that ADAA - under the Financial Audit & Examination Group - has audited the consolidated financial statements of Abu Dhabi Government and conducted 73 Financial Examinations of the audited financial statements at Subject Entities that resulted in 1,128 comments related to the quality of audit work. These included 131 comments related to the "Statutory Auditor Appointment Rules - SAAR" issued according to Law No. (14) of 2008 establishing ADAA. This is in addition to 5 Financial Management Assessment reports that were issued under this Group.
The Report also showed that ADAA - under the Performance & Risk Assurance Group - issued 52 reports on Internal Audit Assessment that resulted in providing 1,407 recommendations with the objective of improving the internal audit work quality at Subject Entities due to their impact on developing performance, enhancing the control environment and reinforcing the governance structure at Subject Entities.
The Report added that ADAA issued 22 Procurement Review reports resulted in 1,072 observations and issued a number of reports related to government services and outputs reviews that included the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, the program for the construction of the nuclear power plants, the public housing program, the construction of public housing, the program for Al Ain roads and the Government performance management framework. The Report disclosed all significant recommendations presented in these reports.
The Report indicated - under the Supporting Accountability Group - that ADAA continued to encourage Subject Entities to recognise the importance of developing documented and approved regulations at each Subject Entity relating to complaints on financial violations as well as appointing a compliance officer within the internal audit function at every entity to assume the responsibility of receiving complaints, logging and examining them and making recommendations to the competent authority within the entity. The compliance officer should also notify ADAA immediately upon discovering any violation and send a copy of the investigation documents once completed supported by the investigation records and actions taken as mandated by Law No. (14) of 2008.
The Report declared that ADAA received 15 complaints during last year that were generally related to abuse of power and conflict of interest, violation of procurement laws, regulations and procedures, negligence in managing public money and breaching code of conduct.
The Report illustrates two cases related to complaints received by ADAA. The first case relates to an accounting supervisor working for a government department who, taking advantage of his position, was embezzling sums of money from petty cash, which was under his custody. The scheme involved pulling out the original invoice from its reimbursement attachments after being paid and claiming it for reimbursement for a second time and taking the cash for himself. Accordingly, the case was referred to the public prosecutor's office which began investigation and presented the case to the competent court. The court issued its decision against the defendant to return the embezzled sum of money and fined him an additional equal amount along with imprisonment for five years and deportation from the Country.
The second case concerned an employee in one of the government company's overseas offices who embezzled a sum of money and concealed the incident by posting false periodic journal entries in the entity's accounting system. The entity conducted an investigation and concluded the termination of the official's employment and referred him to the competent authorities.
Showing ADAA initiatives to achieve one of its outcome to have more qualified Emirati auditors, the Report stated that ADAA developed specialised training programs with the objective of contributing to the training and development of Emirati auditors and assisting them acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to advance and excel in their careers. As one of these programs, ADAA developed the "Auditor Development Program" which was designed to give young Emirati graduates the opportunity to develop their careers and move from entry level Assistant Auditor to a Chief Auditor over a period of 7 years. During 2014, 13 Emirati graduates were recruited into the program bringing the total number of graduates to 59 since its inception. The program includes on-the-job training, secondments to the big 4 audit firms as well as simultaneously offering professional certifications in the accounting and audit profession such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). To help facilitate this development, ADAA has hired a full time lecturer to provide preparation courses in these subjects which has already proven beneficial with the Emirati graduates obtaining a number of passes in various examinations.
The Report stated other ADAA initiatives to encourage Emiratisation within the audit profession where ADAA, thru its Statuary Auditor Appointment Rules (SAAR), obliged statutory auditors of Subject Entities to ensure that the audit team includes at least one UAE National. The Report mentioned in this regards that during September 2014, ADAA issued the second edition of SAAR. According to the second edition of SAAR, Subject Entities shall appoint statutory auditors through circulating requests for audit services proposals to at least four statutory auditors. Statutory auditors may be reappointed for additional periods, up to a maximum of three consecutive years, subject to an annual evaluation by the Subject Entity on the quality of audit services provided and the competence of the audit team while taking into consideration comments raised by ADAA in its reports. Statutory auditors cannot be retained for a period exceeding four consecutive years, and Subject Entities can only appoint the same statutory auditor or the audit engagement partner after a cool off period of four years from the date of the last audit services provided by either of them.
The Report has covered a number of ADAA international achievements and activities during 2014 including the appointment of the Chairman of ADAA as a member of the High-Level Advisory Council, established by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), alongside Mr David Walker, former chair of the Government Accountability Office in the United States of America and a former presidential candidate, and Mr Chegl Larson, an advisor for the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development and the former Auditor General of Sweden. The Council leads the "Accountability. Now." initiative launched recently by IFAC in order to encourage governments in developed and developing countries on the application of the highest transparency and accountability standards and promote awareness of the need to strengthen public sector management and public money reports due to the importance of financial management in the public sector in achieving the target of global growth and improve living standards and raise public confidence.
The Report also pointed out ADAA participation in the World Congress of Accountants in Rome, Italy where ADAA shared Abu Dhabi experience in the public audit and accounting profession with approximately 4,000 professionals from more than 100 countries. The Congress is the largest global gathering of the accounting profession and is held every four years. In addition, the Report highlighted that His Excellency the Chairman of ADAA, along with 28 scientists, academic experts and practitioners, participated in a panel discussion at the Blavatnik School of Government - University of Oxford, which was hosted to discuss the direct and indirect effects of monetary policies and regulations in advanced economies on emerging and developing economies.
The Report said that, during 2014, ADAA Training Centre was approved as a registered sponsor on the National Registry of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Sponsors of the United States of America, showing ADAA's commitment to the delivery of high quality continuing professional education in compliance with the Statement of Standards for CPE Programs jointly published by the AICPA and NASBA as well as the program requirements of the National Registry of CPE Sponsors.
ADAA has announced that the "Accountability Report 2015" will be available on Saturday, the 7th of March 2015 on its website: www.adaa.abudhabi.ae - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395277230072.html

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3.7 million follow Hamdan bin Mohammed on social media


posted on 24/02/2015

Dubai, 24th February, 2015 (WAM): The followers of Crown Prince of Dubai HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on social media platforms has exceeded 3.7 million.
This global popularity reflects HH's position as an icon for young Arab leaders that attracts massive attention locally, regionally and internationally; moreover, it reflects Sheikh Hamdan's enthusiasm to utilise social media as a vehicle of direct and interactive communication with public following the step stones of his father His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed's followers on Instagram exceeded 1.6 million followers, on Facebook over 1.1 million followers and on Twitter more than one million followers.
On his pages, Sheikh Hamdan adopts a simple and spontaneous style that reflects the love and loyalty he carries for the country, its leadership and its people. He also uses the various social media platforms to deliver messages and increase awareness about several issues related to people's life and the social and humanitarian campaigns inside and outside the UAE.
Sheikh Hamdan inaugurated his official account on Twitter in March 2010, attracting over 235,000 followers in few days. His Facebook official page was also officially launched in the same year and his page on Instagram was launched in March 2012. To extend his communication domain, Sheikh Hamdan posts and tweets in both Arabic and English.
The content in Sheikh Hamdan's social media pages is diverse, covering wide spectrum of his initiatives and activities. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276993030.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid directs preparation for Government Summit 2016


posted on 13/02/2015

The Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has directed the Government Summit to begin working with various world governments and international organisations to help develop innovative solutions for common service-related challenges facing governments.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has also directed the start of preparations for the summit's fourth session, which will be held between February 8th-10th, 2016, and for it to include a broader and larger vision, creating a specialised global event for the development of innovative solutions in government services that keeps up with the rapid scientific developments.
This year, the Government Summit has achieved great success with the participation of 93 governments, international organisations, 4,000 participants and 100 speakers. The summit also featured the distribution of awards to local, regional and global smart and innovative government services.
The Ruler of Dubai said that the summit's significance will be proven in the coming years, when quality government services are being provided globally, in collaboration with international partners like the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, and Chairman of the Summit Organising Committee, said that next year's summit will include two exhibitions and international awards. The first, titled, "Museum of the future", will showcase government services on a global level, and the second will exhibit the latest innovations, in addition to three international awards. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276456814.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid: This is the summit of innovation


posted on 12/02/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on Wednesday described the Third Government Summit, which concluded yesterday, as "the summit of innovation, prosperity and unrelenting determination." "This summit has been exceptional. My brother, friend and mate, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed delivered a speech at the summit in which he talked about the past hardships, present challenges and the bright future. With his positive spirit, he is leading us to the future. This reminds us of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan," said H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid at the conclusion of the Summit.
He added, "Mohamed, go ahead to the future and the people of the UAE follow you." H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid also thanked all the participants at the Summit which was organised for three days under the theme "Shaping Future Governments".
As part of the Summit, an awarding ceremony was organised for the winners of the second edition of the Best m-Government Service Award. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276414221.html

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DEWA highlights efforts to make Dubai happiest city on earth


posted on 12/02/2015

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has participated in a plenary session entitled UAE Smart Cities Outlook, at the Government Summit 2015, which is being held under the patronage and in the presence of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Al Tayer highlighted DEWA's efforts to achieve the Smart Dubai initiative, launched by Sheikh Mohammed to make Dubai the happiest city on earth, and which provides the most efficient and seamless experience, and is the safest place for residents and visitors.
Falah Al Ahbabi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, and Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, also participated in the plenary session.
"According to the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, a smart city is a city that makes people happy, makes their lives easier, and improves living standards. It is efficient in using its resources and provides seamless and integrated services. A smart city is a place for creative and empowered people who live in a cohesive society, works within a sustainable and competitive economic system, and adopts global standards using the latest technologies and creative innovations. His Highness launched the Smart Dubai initiative to make Dubai the happiest city on earth. Technological creativity and innovation is a key enabler that ensures a stimulating and creative environment for the optimal use of available resources in smart cities. It creates a social communications system, and an efficient and an easy-to-use infrastructure for services, such as transportation, communications, electricity, water, and educational services," said Al Tayer.
"One of the main foundations for the transition into smart cities is to develop a leadership vision, turn it into a plan, and measure its progress. Other elements include safety, seamlessness, awareness, and the impact to create a happy life for the people. The success of smart transition requires a stimulating and efficient environment that attracts investments, has efficient connections, and integrated urban planning, creative people," he said.
When asked about why technology is not always the only solution to transform cities into smart ones, the lessons learned in selecting and adopting IT infrastructure at the city level, and what its impact on the standards of living of citizens and residents are, Al Tayer replied, "Technology is a key element for transforming cities into smart ones. Used effectively and efficiently, technological innovation promotes a happy lifestyle for citizens and residents. It makes the smart city the favourite place to live and work. A smart city attracts investments, becomes a tourist attraction, and becomes a global role model.
He noted that DEWA has been building sustainable systems that adopt technological innovation to improve the efficiency of its electricity and water infrastructure according to the highest international standards, which helps create an advanced competitive economy. For example, "we have managed to increase efficiency of energy generation by 22% between 2006 and 2014, using the latest technologies and adopting technological innovations. DEWA has surpassed leading European and American companies by reducing losses in power transmission and distribution networks to 3.4%, compared to 6-7% in Europe and the USA. Water network losses decreased to 9%, compared to 15% in North America, achieving leading global results in reducing water losses. DEWA's results are among the best internationally for customer minutes lost per year. DEWA's figures reached 4.9 minutes in 2014, compared to 15 minutes recorded by leading utilities in the European Union."
"Besides technology, people who are creative and empowered are the cornerstone of the transformation into a smart city. Other factors include governance, sustainable environmental awareness, and providing seamless information within integrated and interconnected smart applications that reach the people anytime, anywhere. For example, our plan for Dubai in terms of smart grids will be both integrated and unique," he said.
"DEWA has developed the smart grid strategy: a key component of a smart city. We have developed plans and programmes for demand side management, energy efficiency and operational improvement under the smart grid strategy. These programmes include advanced metering infrastructure, asset management, demand-side management, distribution automation, information technology infrastructure, substation automation, system integration, telecommunications, and efficiency, reliability, and availability of energy supplies," he added.
"One of the most important factors for the success of smart cities is the seamlessness and availability of round-the-clock integrated and connected services that meet daily living requirements. In 2009, DEWA started its smart transformation", Al Tayer noted.
He added that it was the first government plan to achieve a 100% smart transformation, less than a year after the Smart Dubai initiative was announced. Adoption of smart services was 60% last year. DEWA's smart app, which was launched in 2010, provides over 150 services and features that makes life easier for everyone, including people with special needs by enabling them to complete their transactions anytime, anywhere.
Al Tayer said future cities are different from traditional cities in their indicators, performance, and efficiency. Smart cities will undoubtedly contribute to enhancing the economic competitiveness of the country. Availability and seamlessness of services contribute to efficiency of service delivery and doing business. This has a positive impact on improving living standards and attracting investments and capital, establishing Dubai's position as a global hub for trade, finance, tourism and green economy, enhancing its competitiveness and pushing forward development.
He underlined that diversifying the energy mix and ensuring its sustainability is one of the key foundations in the transition towards a smart and sustainable city. This includes renewable energy sources and implementing energy side management programmes in smart cities, which contribute to a diversified and sustainable economy in the smart city. The energy demand side programme is set to reduce energy demand by 30% by 2030. The present value of costs for these strategic projects will be approximately Dh 30 billion, while present value of savings will be about Dh 82 billion, a net present value of Dh 52 billion, achieving positive economic returns.
"The UAE, represented by DEWA, moved from 10th position in 2011, to 7th in 2013 and then jumped to 4th position globally and 1st in the Middle East and North Africa in 2014 and 2015 in getting electricity, according to the World Bank's Doing Business Report. Now, we aim to reach the first place globally," said Al Tayer.
Discussing his plans for the city of the future and how this has progressed, Al Tayer said, "We have a vision for the future city, and a clear commitment to the directives of our leadership. We have made clear progress and we intend to make Dubai the smartest city in the world within 3 years. The city of the future is smart, integrated, connected and uses its resources sustainably, enjoys sustainable economic growth, its inhabitants are educated, cultured, healthy, and live in an inclusive and cohesive society. It is proactive and creative in meeting the needs of individuals and society, which in total, makes people happier, is a sustainable city that efficiently uses its resources, provides seamless integrated services, is safe to live in, and is a unique experience for living and business." – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276407106.html

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