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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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Governments urged to design cities for people, not for machines


posted on 12/02/2015

Cities of the future will be compact, diverse and walkable communities much like the compact neighbourhood concepts of the medieval period, said Professor Kent L. Larson, Director of City Science, MIT, an expert on new urban housing and vehicles. Speaking at a session on the final day of the third Government Summit in Dubai yesterday, Prof. Larson said the past holds the secret to the future, and urged governments to design cities for people, and not for machines.
Emphasising best utility of space and resources, Prof. Larson identified density, proximity and diversity as three key factors to create an innovative society that enjoys a good quality of life.
He said 93 per cent of patented inventions take place in metro areas that provide density, proximity and diversity. New urban spaces based on this concept will pave the way for innovation and create cities that are smart, green and sustainable, he said.
Describing his concept of the new urban system, Prof. Larson suggested that high density should not be seen as a challenge but as an opportunity for cities to become innovation centres. "Done badly, density leads to traffic jams, crimes, pollution and a host of other problems. But done well, density creates better economic growth, security and innovation," he said.
Likewise, proximity to workplace as well as diverse districts that include everything necessary within a walking distance, are critical to creating urban innovation, he added.
Cities of the future will also encourage shared use of autonomous vehicles in compact districts as an alternative to private automobiles. "The future is in moving from an ownership society to shared modes," Prof. Larson said.
Autonomous city cars, shared e-bikes and e-scooters, and foldable cars will ensure efficient use of space on city roads. "With availability of enough data on people and their lifestyle, it would be possible to classify them and accordingly provide a mobility system that suits their requirements," he said. "Shared vehicles connected to mass transit offer the real power to the future. They will help get rid of traffic jams, traffic signals and turn lanes," he added.
Prof. Larson said the cities of the future will also be self-sustained communities producing nutritious food with minimal consumption of water and energy. Unlike most modern farming techniques that often lead to highly contaminated produce; the new approach in city farming uses the principles of hydroponics and aeroponics to produce food that uses 90 per cent less water and 60 per cent less fertiliser than traditional methods. Such farm products taste better, have no contaminants or pesticides, Prof. Larson said.
Highlighting hyper-efficient places of living and work as another hallmark of the cities of the future, Prof. Larson new concepts in home and office designs will make living and working spaces three times more efficient than prevailing designs.
Organised under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments', the Government Summit in Dubai was held from February 9 to 11, 2015, to discuss the future of government services in the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395276407637.html

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Manal bint Mohammed: Investing in future of our country is a strategic choice


posted on 12/02/2015

Wife of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment, affirmed yesterday that the UAE succeeded in moving to the forefront of innovative countries that provide enabling platforms for talent to grow and flourish, utilising this conducive environment to enhance the performance of its government sector.
She noted that the large turnout of participants at the 3rd Government Summit 2015, which wrapped up its sessions yesterday, is a testament to the UAE's position as a pioneer in developing government systems and best practices through introducing innovative and unconventional methods. This success has gained the country trust of the international community to host global dialogue aimed at developing futuristic quality standards government services.
Sheikha Manal pointed out that the UAE opted to invest in shaping the future instead of waiting for the future to come to its doorsteps as a strategic call in light of the vision of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and keen follow up by Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
She emphasised that as the UAE is moving forward with ambitious development projects to achieve this goal, women are involved as partners in shaping the future, while realising their full potential and benefiting from leadership's ongoing support.
Sheikha Manal added that "the government's persistence for women to reach leading positions at all levels is a source of inspiration to all of us to unleash creativity and positive energy, expanding our potentials and develop our capabilities in the pursuit of achieving strategic successes. Meanwhile, women will be required to carry on their essential role to nurture future generations as well as shoulder responsibilities at work place to fulfil their duty in serving their country." Sheikha Manal's statement came while taking part at the government summit which started in Dubai last Monday under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, and during her visit with her children to the Future Museum, which showcases future concepts for government services in education, healthcare and smart-city planning. The museum also features a laboratory for research, design and innovation, particularly for government entities.
She was briefed on the exhibits featuring the next generation of future governments.
Concluding her visit, Sheikha Manal expressed her deepest appreciation for novel thoughts and their contribution in serving humanity. She wished all the best in their endeavours to seek the best living condition for human. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276409654.html

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Abdullah bin Zayed emphasises UAE's success story


posted on 11/02/2015

The UAE's progress and its opening up to the world is something it owes to its Islamic and Arab identity, UAE's Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan affirmed yesterday while addressing the 3rd Government Summit in Dubai.
In the presence of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Abdullah said, 'Though the UAE is small in size but it has a far-reaching impact on the scientific progress. A desert in the past, the UAE is today a lush green land of bounties, high-rise buildings, renaissance and modernity.' Speaking at the plenary session on the second day of the Government Summit entitled, '#WeTheUAE,' the foreign minister said many countries around the world had kept asking questions about the secret behind the resounding success and dynamic leadership the UAE displayed in a short span of time and how the UAE defied the negative impressions and stereotyped thoughts about countries in the region prevalent then.
'Many people across the world are looking for the recipe of success that the young state has achieved in just 43 years, something that should have taken a long time. How seven individual emirates united together under a common determination and transformed in a record time into an attractive destination for creative minds and talents from different countries of the world?" Serving a message to those who think that the identity of the UAE's Muslim people and existence of the State amidst an atmosphere of turbulence pose challenges to the UAE, Sheikh Abdullah said, 'The State had been and will remain the land of opportunities and the UAE people with their Islamic identity will always be a messenger of peace and a source of stories of success and inspiration.' The UAE leadership, he stressed, was strongly committed to make the UAE an oases of security and stability, and had promoted the concept of a society where equality and justice prevail.
Commending the UAE's wise leadership, Sheikh Abdullah said it had succeeded in bringing about welfare to the members of the community, making the UAE a nation of happiness for both citizens and expatriate residents.
According to him, the human being is the source of civilisation and the most valuable wealth, adding that the UAE's success story is about the Emirati human being, citing words of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan: 'Man is the essence of every civilisational process and is pivotal to every process of progress ...the human being is the building block in nation building.' Giving an example of the ambition and determination of the UAE citizen, Sheikh Abdullah spoke about a young Emirati girl (Rawda Al Boum) and showed a video clip of a university female student who dreamt to be an ambassador to the UAE at the United Nations. The ambitious girl, he indicated, didn't even wait to complete her study and engaged in field work and took the initiative by conducting during her vacations a series of humanitarian relief missions to Malawi and Cambodia though there was no diplomatic representation for the UAE there.
The UAE Muslim girl, he continued, had provided assistance to the needy and poor people and participated in the building of orphanages.
'Rawda is an example of the spirit of the generous UAE people, who defy barriers and burdens and transform challenges into opportunities for initiative and achievement,' he said.
Speaking about education, Foreign Minister, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said, 'Nations achieve progress and development by science and knowledge, and we, in the UAE, started the learning process after the establishment of the Union in 1971. At that time, half of the male and a third of female citizens knew how to read and write. Today, 90 per cent of men and women are well educated. The progress of education was connected with the increase in the number of educational institutions and universities which stood at 1,200 at all levels of education and serving all ages.' On the healthcare sector, HH noted that the government, since the inception of the UAE State, had been keen to provide healthcare as a right to each citizen and expatriate resident. Observers of the UAE, he added, would notice the significant development in the medical sector, which boasts today of more than 2,200 health and medical facilities including hospitals and healthcare centres fitted with the most advanced equipment and manned with best consultants and specialists taking care of the health and well-being of the UAE citizen, being an integral part of the national assets.
Turning to the other half of the society, Sheikh Abdullah underlined that the UAE's civilised march would not have been complete if it had not been for the central role of the Emirati woman as a major partner in the development of the nation since the inception of the Union as well as in the present and future of national development.
Two years after the birth of the Union, he indicated, the first society for development of women was established under the chairmanship of ‘Mother of the Nation', HH Sheikh Fatima bint Mubarak.
Since then, he went on to say, the UAE woman had landmark achievements to her credit, affirming that women's empowerment is not just a slogan which the government boasted off or a word which officials repeated. It is rather a tangible truth through accomplishments that carry the hallmarks of UAE women in various fields including politics, aviation, museums, sports and etc.
On the cultural openness and diversity, HH said, 'We decided, when we began building a modern, progressive State, to attract the best minds and skilful competencies to share the task of building and renaissance. And at a time when the Arab region was suffering from a brain drain, the UAE had been at the forefront of a process of attracting and embracing the best minds from across the world, thus promoting a new concept which Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum called the 'reverse brain drain.' 'Since the establishment of the State to date, the UAE's population has doubled 30-fold and our nation is still an open destination to more innovators and achievers from all over the world,' Sheikh Abdullah added.
He emphasised that policy was a natural progression of the openness and internal harmony which was clearly evident in foreign policy.
He noted that affection, respect and a common will for success and prosperity had solidified the UAE Union and its global standing as a magnet for all nationalities.
The nature of peace and love of the Emirati people, he stressed, had enabled the UAE to establish friendly and diplomatic ties with more than 187 countries.
'Those who come to the UAE to live and work will enrich their experiences through interaction with the UAE people and vice versa. Additionally, the UAE people will benefit from their experiences,' he said.
Through its diplomatic relations with different countries of the world, HH said the UAE has built an integrated system for a promising future, adding that the UAE foreign policy is based on positivity, building bridges of co-operation between the UAE people and other peoples.
This policy, he said, had consolidated the UAE's ability to attract the best minds from all over the world as evident by the high-profile huge audience of world leaders attending the Government Summit.
On the leading role of diplomatic missions abroad, the Foreign Minister said, 'I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the UAE has built strong diplomatic ties with many countries of the world based on mutual respect. Today, we have 105 diplomatic missions abroad playing key roles in strengthening ties of co-operation and co-ordination between us and our friends and fellow beings, as well as building vibrant economic, political and cultural ties. The nation's diplomats are presenting the UAE's success story to the world,' he added.
Sheikh Abdullah's speech highlighted a huge national economic boom since the inception of the Union to date, citing that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) doubled 236 times. The surge in the GDP is attributed to strenuous work in terms of human resources development, honing skills and setting up of state-of-the-art infrastructure, as well as the strategic geographic location between East and West that contributed effectively to strengthening of economic ties and partnerships with all countries worldwide.
"The attractive environment, which we have established through modern infrastructure, was supported by laws, regulations and stimulating open economic policies that elevated the status of the UAE as an economic global hub," Sheikh Abdullah said, adding, "For example, the open space policy comes as an extension to our openness to the world. The UAE's sky has translated into the world's busiest aircraft network, and the UAE has become a global logistics centre for land, sea and air transport. It has linked various countries worldwide, becoming a gateway for regional and international trade." He noted that the UAE has become a global centre for 25 percent of world's major 500 companies, and main investment hotspot for foreign capital, which will continue flowing within the next five years in the light of huge projects in the sectors of tourism, industry, transport and renewable energy.
The UAE Foreign Minister said the UAE is among the advanced countries when it comes to enacting economic laws and regulations that protect investors in competitive and transparent environment, characterised with lack of corruption and availability of necessary facilitations to exercise any trade activity.
Sheikh Abdullah quoted His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as saying, "What will the leadership do when it sees the last barrel of oil being shipped abroad? The answer was then we will celebrate the investment in our youth." He underlined that the UAE will also celebrate its investments in the diversified national economy and its success in building sustainable knowledge economy, adding that oil today constitutes less than one third of the UAE's GDP, contrary to the early years of the Union when oil constituted greater part of the GDP.
Regarding the tourism sector, Sheikh Abdullah said, "As you know, the UAE is rich with excellent monuments and hosts throughout the year various international marketing, sports and cultural events." He added, "If we take the tourism sector as an example of the progress achieved by the UAE, we will see that the contribution of this sector today to the GDP has reached 8.1 percent. This sector witnessed a very significant leap during the last 10 years, boosting the country's position on the world tourism map and making it one of the world's most tourist hotspot destinations in terms of popularity and excellence." Sheikh Abdullah said the growth in non-oil sectors was a result of hard work and successful policies adopted by the UAE government to develop different sectors, among others, the industrial sector, which drives the economic success of the UAE, noting that the industrial sector contributes 15 percent to the GDP.
"Our national industries export its products with pride to all countries of the world, and our government is constantly striving to overcome obstacles to the growth. Today we have a group of major industrial cities in the region and the world, which are characterised with a potential to make tremendous contribution to the empowerment of all national and foreign investors to upgrade industries in various disciplines and fields," he said.
He commended the UAE's endeavour for a competitive and sustainable knowledge-based economy, praising the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the declaration of the UAE Cabinet to make 2015 as the year of innovation, stressing that this announcement was followed by the move of all federal institutions to review the general government policies in order to create a conducive environment for innovation to make the UAE reach top spots in the global Innovation Index.
Index: Sheikh Abdullah said that the UAE is making great efforts to become an advanced scientific and knowledge society, citing the establishment of the Emirates Space Agency, which represents a quantum leap in the region in the field of astronomy, which has been a monopoly of the major developed countries.
He added that the establishment of this great edifice will contribute to supporting advanced scientific research in the field of space, which will help in the development of many vital economic sectors such as telecommunications, information technology, aviation and others.
On future energy sector policies, Sheikh Abdullah underscored that the UAE did not confine itself to investment in the traditional energy sectors, but decided following the directives of the leadership to invest in future energy projects. Following those instructions, he continued, the UAE entered aggressively into the field of renewable energy. "When we started our investments in renewable and alternative energy, many people questioned the feasibility of those investments. Our answer was simple and clear: we are building a future as we are doing for our present. Today, all these questions have vanished in thin air with the appearance of Masdar City and the Peaceful Nuclear Plant in Barakah, besides huge solar energy projects such as Shams 1 and The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.
About foreign investments, he said that the UAE government did not ignore thinking and planning for future generations to secure a bright future for them, noting that the UAE has a dedicated investment policy for the present and also for the future. He added that the UAE was one of the first countries to establish a sovereign fund to invest surplus oil and non-oil revenues.
Sheikh Abdullah pointed out that the UAE's foreign investments "are an essential part of the diversification of income sources and contribute at the same time to the development of our human resources and to polish national skills through the work of Emiratis in many companies and factories around the world." He stressed that the UAE does not only import skills, but also export them. He referred to the national companies that have started to export competent citizens to work in various countries of the world, citing the fields of aviation and real estate projects, ports management and investments. "These contributions highlight the UAE's development impact worldwide," he said.
Regarding the international development aid provided by the UAE to different countries worldwide, Sheikh Abdullah said, "With growth and stability in the UAE and provision of prosperity for its people and residents on its territory, we had to express our sense of belonging to all humanity. In an interconnected world, we cannot live in isolation from what is happening around us. And our duty as Muslims and Arabs requires us to pay attention to the developing countries and support them, irrespective of affiliation, religion and identity." He added that given its contributions in various fields, the UAE earned the global leadership status as the world's largest donor country regarding Official Development Assistance (ODA) in proportion to its Gross National Income (GNI). The UAE's development aid has increased four-fold this year compared to 2012.
On the UAE's effort to restore international peace and security, the UAE Foreign Minister said, "As long as our message to the world is love and peace, we believe in realising security, stability, sustainable development and welfare. We are among the vanguards calling for stability in Egypt, whose security represents a cornerstone of the Arab world security." "We cannot keep our fingers crossed about achieving stability and development in Egypt, thanks to its support to all Arab countries." He added, "The UAE also exerts efforts to achieve peace in Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Kosovo. Even in our nuclear programme, we have adopted the highest safety and security, and operational transparency and non-proliferation standards. These standards are deemed the golden standards for all aspiring countries to implement a peaceful nuclear programme." Sheikh Abdullah concluded by saying, "It's hard to narrate the UAE's success story in a few minutes. This story has been written through challenging perceptions and stereotypes about countries of the region, and through our peaceful Union, diplomacy and the wisdom of our founding fathers." "Today, we are building for all who live on our land present and future security and peace. The UAE's success story is a success story for all. The State would not have reached this milestone without its loyal sons and daughters and guests from all over the world," he added.
UAE Air Force launches air strikes on Daesh targets
Abu Dhabi, 10th February, 2015 (WAM) -- Squadron of UAE Air Force F-16, stationed on an air base in Jordan, this morning launched a series of airstrikes on targets of the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organisation, the General Command of the UAE Armed Forces announced today.
It affirmed that the UAE jet fighters had struck their targets and returned safely to their base. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276333105.html

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Mohammed bin Rashid forms the "UAE Gender Balance Council"


posted on 11/02/2015

Dubai, 11th February, 2015 (WAM): UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has announced the forming of the "UAE Gender Balance Council", a federal entity chaired by President of Dubai Women Establishment Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Wife of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The new body aims to boost UAE's efforts to evolve and enhance women's role as key partners in building the future of the nation.
Sheikh Mohammed declared the forming of the council while visiting "Toward Gender Balance in Governments", a plenary session chaired by Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed during the second day of the Government Summit in Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid expressed his pride that the UAE is hosting this inductive dialogue on one of the most important issues concerning woman and contributes in granting her equal rights as equal partner.
Sheikh Mohammed said: "I am happy to be part of this discussion. We, in the United Arab Emirates, are keen to enable woman and put her in the right position. What we had discussed in this session will not end here. Therefore, I declare the forming of the "UAE Gender Balance Council" chaired by Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed." Expressing her profound appreciation for his unlimited support, Sheikha Manal said that Sheikh Mohammed has always been a strong defender of women's rights, believed in her capabilities and viewed her as original element in UAE's formula for development. Sheikh Manal bin Mohammed thanked Sheikh Mohammed for his directives to form the council and expressed gratitude for his precious trust put in her to chair a specialized centre endeavouring to achieve more equity between genders and carrying the legacy of the Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a man that set example for empowering women and unleashing her potentials.
Sheikh Manal said the success of the Emirati women is the reap of Sheikh Zayed's sow and the fruit of the efforts of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
President of Dubai Women Establishment asserted that the work will commence immediately to draft and articulate the new council's frameworks, processes and strategies towards achieving the aspiring vision of our leadership.
While chairing "Toward Gender Balance in Governments" plenary session, Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed lauded UAE's leadership for the care and support provided for women in various aspects of life. She said that equity between genders is a key element for societies' success and prosperity and a prerequisite to achieve happiness, security and stability of its members.
Addressing a host of regional and international senior officials, Sheikha Manal said that the UAE has gone far in empowering women, quoting His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum: "We have moved beyond the phase of empowering women. Indeed, we are empowering society through women". Sheikh Manal Said: "The impact of a significant female presence in leadership roles has wide-ranging benefits on the economy, on governance, and on society at large. The UAE has always worked to dismantle barriers that create tension between the genders. We have a great opportunity to uncover new paths that we may walk on together".
Sheikh Manal also lauded the endless efforts of HH Sheikh Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union and of the Family Development Foundation. She said that our greatest teacher and pioneer is the Mother of our Nation, wife of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak. She worked alongside her husband and helped him shoulder the heavy responsibilities of building our nation.
"Toward Gender Balance in Governments" discussed number of important issues through three discussion panels. The session highlighted the significant role of Emirati women in developing the country and leadership's approach in empowering women and engaging her in all aspects, including UAE's international competitiveness. The session further discussed the balance between home and work, the overwhelming social and cultural patterns and the legislations related to achieving balance between genders. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276338717.html

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Women have a bigger role to play on the political front: Sheikha Bodour


posted on 11/02/2015

Woman power was on show at the session titled ‘Arab Women: From Vision to Leadership' at The Government Summit. The need for education for women was stressed by Queen Rania of Jordan in her video address.
Shortly after the session began, almost on cue with what was being discussed — leadership supporting women — His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, walked in, with the timing of his arrival drawing loud applause from the crowd.
The panellists at the session included Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation.
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and CEO of Kalimat Group, said women should have a bigger role to play on the political front. "There should be diversity in decision making.”
For each woman in Saudi Arabia working in Social Development, there are 38 in the US, said businesswoman and philanthropist Princess Ameera Al Taweel of Saudi Arabia. Princess Ameera narrated the story of a friend of hers back in Saudi Arabia who fought a custody battle in court and won, and was also granted alimony.
She said she doesn't like the word ‘behind' in the context of the aphorism ‘behind every successful man...'; she spoke of equality, and how women and men need to be ‘next' to each other, not left behind.
She expressed hope that Saudi Arabia would go forward in this respect under the rule of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia. She spoke of the need to develop the Muslim women society, and questioned the condescension that Saudi women often receive. "We have less than one per cent of women in power,” she said quoting a Mckinsey study. "We should aim to make that two per cent next year.”
Ghada Fathi Ismail Wali, Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity, said it's not just about education numbers going up, but also about the quality and content of education women receive.
Sheikha Bodour said obstacles such as society, legislation and women themselves, need to be ironed out. She spoke of how legislation is needed to "help women, help mothers”. There issue of maternity leave as a law needs to be resolved because it isn't fair for women to have to choose between children and their careers.
Ghada said women are asking for their rights in the workplace not because they are women, but because it is an issue of competence and equality. All the panellists agreed that leadership needs to be inculcated at a young age. Education starts at home, they concurred.
There was also talk of emotional intelligence (EQ). And interestingly, women on the panel agreed it wasn't women who were solely equipped in this respect, men too could be wired with an adequate reserve of EQ. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationgeneral/2015/February/nationgeneral_February117.xml§ion=nationgeneral

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Dubai Government primed for further innovation, says global expert


posted on 11/02/2015

Traditional governments should look to the UAE and adopt a more scientific approach to innovation, observed a global leading expert on the subject, Larry Keeley, President and co-founder of Doblin, on the second day of The Government Summit, held in Dubai.
Contrary to common thinking, which states that innovation only occurs through brainstorming and creativity, Keeley, who had studied innovation extensively for nearly 35 years, instead believes that discipline is the key and the process of idea generation is most successful when the approach is scientific. Additionally, any great innovation today needs to move beyond simple products and transcend our day-to-day lives With the UAE having entered its ‘Year of Innovation', Keeley's formula for successful innovation can be employed in both the private and public sectors to deliver tangible results. Most positively for the UAE, Keeley's research shows that governments that have a clear objective of what they want to achieve through innovation are 20 times more likely to achieve it.
Larry Keeley, President and co-founder of Doblin, said: "Thoughtful, strategic governments, such as the UAE, can spur economic growth and provide solutions to critical issues such as climate change, food access and public safety. People have never been as hungry for fresh ideas and products which they can harness and use in their daily lives. The UAE Government, over the last decade, has perhaps been more successful in creating such an environment than any other nation in the world." "Governments can foster innovation at different levels to create internationally prominent and newsworthy initiatives that transform daily life. Every well-run government has a framework to engender innovation, whether through building public/private partnerships or engaging universities and investors to create accelerators. Innovation is systemic and leading to see it this way can benefit the full spectrum of society. It is obvious that the UAE Government, through creating a Year of Innovation, understands the role it can have in supporting breakthroughs that can change society for the better." The author of Ten Types of Innovation, a well-reviewed book which takes a deep look at the discipline of innovation, Keeley has worked with scores of the world's largest companies to build their signature innovation competences, and with start-up firms trying to change some essential segments of the world. BusinessWeek named Keeley one of seven Innovation Gurus changing the field, and specifically cited Doblin for having many of the most sophisticated tools for delivering innovation effectiveness.
The Government Summit is being held from February 9 to 11, 2015, in Dubai. In total, there will be 50 sessions, more than 100 speakers and 3,000 participants from 87 countries to discuss the future of education, health services and smart cities. The third edition of The Government Summit, which is the biggest event of its kind in the world, the theme for 2015 is ‘Shaping Future Governments'. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276336845.html

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OECD commends UAE for staying ahead of the curve with innovative approach to government services


posted on 11/02/2015

Even as the world is witnessing an erosion of trust in governments, the UAE has been able to stay ahead of the curve by adapting an innovative approach to government functioning, noted Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), while giving the main address on the second day of the three-day Government Summit in Dubai.
"The OECD countries are witnessing only 40 per cent trust in governments. Governments must need to change their functioning as they face challenges in creating inclusive citizens. In order to achieve this purpose, it is critical to take steps to restore trust in public entities," Kiviniemi said.
Explaining the process, Kiviniemi said trust can be restored by creating greater openness with the adoption of innovation in the functioning and implementation of government policies.
"Technology has therefore become an enabler for the government. The UAE has been successful in this domain with a strategic approach at all levels to achieve cohesive implementation of policies," according to her.
Kiviniemi said citizen engagement with open data and social media is driving considerable change in the way governments function. "Governments need to integrate digital strategies in their functioning to create new interaction as the UAE has shown," she said.
The deployment of innovation in government functioning requires a strong leadership which will help create citizen driven governments. Such governments will adopt innovative approaches such as making use of existing unexploited resources to provide best services to people, she added.
Organised under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments', the Government Summit in Dubai is being held from February 9 to 11, 2015, to discuss the future of government services in the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276335813.html

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Dubai pushes ahead with its quest to become one of smartest cities in the world: Experts informed Government Summit


posted on 11/02/2015

"A personal dashboard that plans the day ahead for you by evaluating all your preferences and making real-time recommendations could soon be a reality," as Dubai pushes ahead with its quest to become one of the smartest cities in the world, according to experts addressing the third Government Summit.
The session on ‘Smarter People, Smarter Cities and Smarter Communities,' led by CNN's Richard Quest questioned the notions of a ‘smart city' and whether the UAE will find its place among the world's Top 5 happiest nations in the next five years.
The answer from the participants – Ahmed bin Byat Chairman of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du) and Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori, Director General of Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC) – was a unanimous ‘yes,' highlighting governmental confidence in achieving the ‘Smart' vision of the nation.
Bin Byat said that Dubai's approach to achieving the smart city vision is led by the needs of the people, underlining a ‘bottom up' model where people tell the government what they seek in smart service delivery. He said that the government, the private sector and the people are working together to achieve the ‘Smart Dubai' vision.
Defining a ‘smart city,' Bin Byat said that Dubai's perspective of being smart is to place emphasis on sustainability and the environment, and in placing the human element at the heart of it all. "We have the fundamentals for a smart city in our technology adoption, smartphone penetration and broadband connectivity. And what we are working on is to promote innovation within this ecosystem; Dubai's smart city is not merely about automation, it is about connecting people to their needs." Al Mansoori added that the smart city vision is led by a focus on smart information, analysis of data to understand customer preferences and serving customers the way they want to under the umbrella of cyber-security. "We are smart today in connecting entities and gaining feedback from customers." Bin Byat said that merely launching smart apps is not what makes a smart city. "A smart city will also take into consideration the feelings of the people." Al Mansoori demonstrated this further with ADSIC's Cyberguard initiative that enables users to report concerns and today has over 70,000 users daily.
According to Bin Byat, a smart city offers a single window approach, adding that it is important to ‘plan better and execute' than ‘execute more and correct later.' He said that Dubai's smart city initiative enables it to conduct business efficiently, foster innovation and serve as a magnet for talent and foreign direct investment.
Prior to the discussion, Richard Quest presented compelling examples of how smart initiatives are being leveraged by countries world-wide to promote governmental efficiency and people's welfare. He said that a holistic approach to smart city management will soon be a reality in Dubai as the city prepares to host the World Expo 2020.
The Government Summit is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In total, there are 50 sessions, more than 100 speakers and 3,000 participants from 87 countries discussing the future of education, health services and smart cities. The third edition of the Summit, which is the biggest event of its kind in the world, is held under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments'. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276335562.html

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The UAE is one of the champions and leading countries in investing in renewable sources of energy, says Ban Ki-moon


posted on 11/02/2015

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that the UN is trying to mobilise political, business, community and civil society leaders in an effort to do more for addressing climate change.
"We have to have all hands on deck. It's not only government or business leaders, or civil society leaders, but also individual citizens, as every citizen can play a very important part in addressing climate change," said Ban Ki-moon.
Speaking to Emirates News Agency, WAM, yesterday, on the side-lines of the Government Summit in Dubai, about the UAE's efforts in dealing with the issue, the Secretary-General said, "The UAE has been playing a very important role. We are very much grateful. First of all in regards to national policies, the UAE is one of the champion and leading countries in investing in renewable sources of energy, particularly through solar power." Mr Ban said that the Abu Dhabi Ascent conference, which was held last year in support of climate change, was an important conference which created momentum where government ministers, business, finance and civil society leaders, joined and showed their solidarity and discussed initiatives and partnerships to tackle climate change.
Another example of the UAE's proactive involvement in the issue, he said, is the UAE's support in providing clean energy in African developing countries and Small Islands Developing States, SIDS, through the lighthouse initiative, connecting them with clean and efficient energy.
The UN Secretary-General said that 2015 is a year for global action, calling it, "One of the most crucially important years for humanity." "First of all, we meet the deadline of millennium development goals, and member states are working very hard to shape the post-2015 development agenda with a set of sustainable development goals. They have initially identified 17 goals which include poverty eradication and moving towards a climate friendly world," he said.
Mr Ban noted that one of the most major steps this year will be the signing of the climate change agreement in Paris in December. "These are our priorities," he explained.
He said that meeting all these priorities will require having a means and plans of implementation that will be hashed out during the third International Conference on Financing for Development to be held later this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
"The member states will gather in Addis Ababa in July to discuss the mechanisms, financial and technological support to help implement sustainable development goals and climate change agreement with the UN.
"The UN is also trying to form a string partnership with the governments in community and civil society. Those are the priorities for 2015. Our goal is to make the world better for all where nobody will be left behind," he concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276329225.html

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Apple's Steve Jobs would have admired the success story of UAE's Dubai, says Apple co-founder


posted on 11/02/2015

The growth and expansion of Dubai has been a modern success story which Steve Jobs would have admired and been proud to have contributed to, Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, told a distinguished audience on the second day of The Third Government Summit, taking place in Dubai between 9-11 February.
During a well-attended session hosted by CNN's Richard Quest, Wozniak provided unique insight into the foundation of one of the world's largest and most influential companies, Apple. Explaining how Steve Jobs and he had partnered in a garage to develop Apple's original products, Wozniak described in colourful detail how having a clear and ambitious vision of what they wanted to achieve was crucial in developing the iconic brand.
Commenting on the contemporary world, Steve Wozniak encouraged the Government of Dubai to continue its focus on developing its young people, particularly higher education students and recent graduates. Speaking from his personal experience, and citing other successful global businesses, such as Facebook and Google, he alluded to the common theme of young people demonstrating the initiative, determination, innovation and foresight to create and grow such disruptive companies.
Wozniak said, "Life is changing so much because of technology and it no surprise that many of the world's most successful businesses have been started by young people. In Dubai, as in the rest of the world, students and recent graduates should continue to be valued and provided with encouragement, investment and support so that they can achieve their dreams. With Government providing such an environment, it can encourage young talent to flourish, which can then feedback into society exponentially." "Although this is my first time in Dubai, I have been very impressed with how quickly the Emirate has grown and expanded in such a short time, as I know Steve Jobs would have been. It makes me proud to think that through the development of the first generation of personal computing, Apple has a significant role to play in this. As technology continues to evolve, a number of governments are engaging with it and using it positively. This is certainly the case in Dubai where innovation is currently top of the agenda." A Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist for the past three decades, Wozniak built the first Apple computer, alongside Steve Jobs, back in 1976. As such, he is credited with inventing the personal computer and heralding a new age of technology.
For his achievements at Apple Computer, Wozniak was awarded the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States in 1985, the highest honour bestowed on America's leading innovators. In 2000, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment for "single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement in education.
After leaving Apple in 1985, Wozniak was involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, focusing primarily on computer capabilities in schools and stressing hands-on learning and encouraging creativity for students. He is also the author of The New York Times best- selling autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon.
The Government Summit concludes on 11 February, 2015. In total, there are 50 sessions, more than 100 speakers and 3,000 participants from 87 countries discussing the future of education, health services and smart cities. The third edition of The Government Summit, which is the biggest event of its kind in the world, is held under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments'. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276359082.html

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Mohamed bin Zayed delivers keynote speech of Government Summit 2015


posted on 10/02/2015

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has delivered the keynote speech of the 3rd edition of Government Summit 2015.
The summit is being held under the title, "Shaping Future Governments".
Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, heads of international governments and organisations, a number of Sheikhs, officials, experts and representatives of more than 97 countries attended the event.
Sheikh Mohamed began his speech by thanking Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid who he described as "my brother, my friend and my mentor." He also extended condolences to the people of Saudi Arabia on the death of The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
"The late King Abdullah was loved by the UAE people. He had strong fraternal relations with the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan." He also praised King Salman bin Abdul Aziz as an excellent ruler and wished him success and the Saudi people further progress and prosperity.
On the future governments, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said every successful government treats its citizens as a national asset. He added that the state-building doesn't only depend on governments, but also on every citizen and resident on this blessed land.
He quoted as 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." Sheikh Mohamed highlighted Sheikh Zayed's efforts and his keenness to harness available resources for serving citizens and showed a picture of the late leader with companions while looking for water sources and digging wells and water canals.
He also paid tributes to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who "continues to lead in the footsteps of our father Zayed, (and) he always directs us to develop human resources." He referred to Sheikh Khalifa's vision in establishing the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) in the mid-seventies and how it evolved to become the second largest fund of its kind in the world.
Sheikh Mohamed also paid tribute to national personalities who played vital roles in the federation and in establishing ADIA, including Ahmed Khalifa Al Suwaidi and Mohammed Al Habroush.
He underlined the importance of education in shaping the future and underlined the challenges in the education sector that need to be addressed through a clear vision for the next 25 years and a strategy for building future capabilities.
Sheikh Mohamed also referred to the UAE's pioneering industrial development and shined light on the experiment of Strata which manufactures aircraft parts for Boeing and Airbus and in which, Emirati women account for 83 percent of the labour force.
"I salute the Emirati women for their key role in community building. It is important that all energies of the community be it of men or women, are invested properly. They should be supported, encouraged, empowered and given the opportunity to assume their national responsibilities," he said.
Sheikh Mohammed congratulated Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on the Dubai International Airport becoming the world's busiest airport, handling 70 million passengers annually.
On the current drop in oil prices and its impact on the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said, "Thanks to the leadership's vision and its diversified economy, the UAE had avoided fluctuations in oil prices and is pressing ahead with its comprehensive development under all circumstances." Sheikh Mohamed noted that the achievements made by the UAE need to be protected in the light of challenges and crises sweeping the region.
"Since its inception, the UAE has been sending a message to the others that this region can still be a source of benevolence, peace and love for the whole world." Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed also spoke about the UAE's contribution in humanitarian fields, not only through the government, but also by its citizens, residents and businessmen.
Sheikh Mohamed said the UAE citizens and the country's national unity were the most prime assets. He recalled a question asked by a journalist to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as to why he cared so much for his citizens, even to the point of over-indulging. Sheikh Zayed asked the journalist back: "Do you care for your children?" When the journalist said, "Of course, I do," Sheikh Zayed responded, "So do I. They are all my children. I do not over-indulge but I also do not deprive them." He said the western-educated Emiratis are normally obsessed with figures.
"Figures are important in our life but they are not important as our history and our roots, from which we draw the wisdom and value." Demonstrating the love of Emiratis for their country, Sheikh Mohamed recalled the time when volunteering was opened during the Kuwait crisis in the early nineties.
"Citizens in huge numbers, including old men, lined up to join military service. This shows how sons of Sheikh Zayed are capable of shouldering their responsibilities, and on this, I pray to Allah the Almighty to save Kuwait, its people and its Amir His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah." When the need arose for vehicles, he continued, Abdullah Al Masood, a businessman who owns a car dealership, said he was ready to provide any number of vehicles required.
"Speaking about Emirati businessmen, they gracefully financed projects in Egypt with amounts ranging between Dh5 million to 25 million." Another shining example highlighted by Sheikh Mohamed was that of the Emirati youth who were exempt from compulsory military services due to their status, either for being the only child of their families or for medical reasons.
"They insisted to join their peers for nine months of service. Those who were exempted for medical reasons, refused to avail of sick leaves and opted to stay in their units," he said.
The third Government Summit is being held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments,' and hosts more than 100 guest speakers from outside the UAE. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395276302230.html

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The UAE is one of the strongest partners to UN, says Ban Ki-moon


posted on 10/02/2015

The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, yesterday said that the UAE has demonstrated its strong commitment to the UN through its humanitarian and peace keeping missions in the region.
Speaking to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, on the sidelines of the Government Summit in Dubai, the Secretary-General said, "The United Arab Emirates is one of the strongest partner countries, and an essential member of the United Nations. The UAE may be a small country but it has a big heart." Ban Ki-moon also expressed his appreciation for UAE's efforts in terms of regional peace and security, saying that as a GCC member, the UAE has been playing a very crucial role in responding to the region's pressing issues. "The UAE has been playing a very important role in Yemen and Afghanistan. It has also been helping the UN a lot with its community peace missions in Somalia, other parts of Africa and the Middle East," he said.
He commended the UAE's substantial humanitarian aid efforts, and spoke about his visit to the International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai, which is strategically located near Al Maktoum International Airport. It is a large-scale logistical hub for humanitarian aid response, where millions of aid supplies are acquired, stored in warehouses, and prepared for quick dispatch and delivery to crisis-stricken areas in places like Syria, Iraq, and Africa.
"During my visit to the International Humanitarian City a couple of years ago, I was very much impressed. They were providing and sending necessary humanitarian aid to Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere at a very short notice. All these demonstrate how best the UAE contributes to UN's work," he added.
"When it comes to the development, the United Arab Emirates is, I think, ranked number one country in the world in providing official development assistance in terms of its GDP proportion. The development aid constitutes 1.45 % of the UAE's GDP. We are very much grateful," he said.
Speaking about the Government Summit 2015, Mr Ban said it is "very timely" in terms of enhancing good governance. "We need accountable governments and honest leaders." "This is what the people really want, that leaders of their countries are people-centred, care about their people, transparent, effective and accountable. I really highly commend this initiative," he added.
The Secretary-General went on to say that the UAE is a role model country and hoped that many countries in the world will emulate what the UAE has been doing and continuing to do. "The UAE has been really supportive of Syrian refugees, the people in Gaza, and elsewhere. Their warm and very generous support really saved lives and helped a lot of people," he said.
Speaking about the challenges that the world and the region face from religious fundamentalism and violent extremism, the Secretary-General expressed his concerns, and said that more collaborative effort must be made to combat intolerance and the responsibility lies in the hands of both leaders and individuals.
"I am extremely concerned about the spread of hatred and violence discourse throughout the world, citing the brutal crimes being committed by ISIL (Daesh). It is totally unacceptable," he stressed.
"The United Nations and the international community should be united and show their solidarity to defeat terrorism and violent extremism. The international community has been taking some collective actions through military means, but at the same time, we should look at the root causes of these issues and why these young people have been influenced by all the hatred rhetoric being spread by ISIL (Daesh)," he added.
Mr Ban noted that it is imperative to think about how to address and enhance tolerance and mutual understanding of other people's beliefs, faiths and traditions. One way of doing this, he said, "is for government leaderships to pay more attention to the aspirations of their people, particularly the youth." "Young people should not be marginalised and all groups of people should be included in society. It is very important not to leave anybody behind or anybody isolated or discriminated against as these people may easily fall into traps of this kind of extremism," he explained.
"While through the UN, we are trying to provide capacity building for those people who are suffering from terrorist attacks through our UN global strategy against terrorism and counter-terrorism centre. At the same time, we are reaching out to member states to help them enhance the levels of tolerance and mutual respect through initiatives such as Saudi Arabia's interfaith dialogue," he added.
The UN Secretary-General went on to explain, "We need to educate people so that they will have a better understanding of values of humanity and respect for the faith, beliefs and traditions of others, from a young age," he said. "That is very important," he stressed.
Mr Ban said that people should be given decent socio-economic opportunities by their schools and communities, which, he said, would require a wise investment in education, and responsible leadership from the community, educational, political and particularly religious leaders. "In the Arab world, the imams play a very important role and that is why we are reaching out to those leaderships," he concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276282296.html
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276289320.html

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UN Secretary General highlights Public-Private Partnerships as blueprint for success


posted on 10/02/2015

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, presented a Main Address at the third Government Summit in Dubai, calling for increased government transparency and cooperation between the public sector and private enterprises to drive economic growth and societal change.
"This is a time of turmoil, and various recent phenomena undermine the possibility of long-term peace. The UN is taking the lead in forging a global response, which will see capable governments and the UN coming together to foster peace and a sustainable future," he said.
He called upon governments to assure human rights and dignity, and address the marginalisation that often drives radicalism. "It is the duty of leaders to listen to the voices of their people – their aspirations, hopes and fears, particularly from women." "Governments need to ensure transparency. Those who engage with citizens and residents will emerge stronger, while corrupt and abusive systems and red-tape will lead to hopelessness and instability," he added.
Ban Ki-moon stressed that economic and societal stability requires trusted institutions. "Efficiency in government is about more than just functioning well – the processes, systems, and plans should truly serve the common good." "I commend the UAE Government and leadership on their vision for the Government Summit, their success in pursuing modernisation while retaining their heritage and culture, and for declaring 2015 as the year of Innovation. I believe this will drive the strategic cooperation of the government and private enterprise.
"The private sector has proven that they can serve the public interest with creativity and innovation. Our governments and leadership now need to explore incentives for sustainable business practices, which is something that the UN can work with governments on," he said.
"The most respected governments are those that ensure equal rule or law and justice for all, and those that fight corruption. It is shown that people actually respect governments that punish corruption. The government also needs to ensure the same openness when receiving feedback and criticism from citizens, which will create an efficient cooperation climate." "This communication can actually create an environment wherein citizens are involved with their governments in co-designing solutions. On the back of innovative Information Technology networks and solutions, a society where the government and its businesses come together can be a showcase for sustainable growth, collaborative governance, and economic success," he concluded.
The Government Summit is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In total, there will be 50 sessions, more than 100 speakers and 3,000 participants from 87 countries to discuss the future of education, health services and smart cities. The third edition of the Summit, which is the biggest event of its kind in the world, is held under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments'. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395276287369.html

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Dubai set to become centre of the world by year 2100, predicts expert at Government Summit


posted on 10/02/2015

Dubai, 10th February, 2015 (WAM): Based on analysis of emerging trends in population growth, by the year 2100 Dubai is set to become the centre of the world, a position held by London until now, said Dr. Hans Rosling, Co-Founder of Gapminder, at the Government Summit in Dubai yesterday. Dr. Rosling was speaking on the topic, ‘The Big Data Revolution: Transforming Raw Data into Future Insights, on the starting day of the three-day Summit.
Out of the current 7 billion people in the world today, 1 billion live in the Americas, 1 billion in Africa, 1 billion in Europe and 4 billion in Asia, Dr. Rosling said. Analysing UN data on population, Dr. Rosling estimated that by 2050 Europe's population will take severe hit in the absence of new births. At the same time, Asia would experience 25 per cent growth in population while in Africa the growth would be 100 per cent.
"By year 2100, America would have less than 10 per cent of the world's population while 80 per cent of the population would be in Africa and Asia. The surge in population growth in Africa and Asia would make Dubai the centre of the world by 2100," Dr. Rosling predicted.
Providing further insights based on available data, Dr. Rosling said the world is moving towards and healthier children.
"While in the 1800s a couple had on the average eight children of which only four survived as a result of harsh living conditions, by 1900s out of six children four survived. However, the new balance in 2012 shows every couple having only two children with both the children surviving," Dr. Rosling said.
The world over, in all countries, two-child families has become the norm. "Families and governments are today keen on supporting the young population with education and better facilities. The emerging market of the world is the young couple in any country with their ambitions and dreams. These young couples are the driving force behind the changes in the world," Dr. Rosling said.
Dr. Rosling commended the UAE for making rapid strides in reducing infant mortality and moving to the forefront of development in a short period of time. "The UAE has modernised the country to achieve the latest developments in every field while at the same time keeping its traditions and values alive," Dr. Rosling said.
Organised under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments', the Government Summit in Dubai is being held from February 9 to 11, 2015, to discuss the future of government services in the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276308146.html

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Saif bin Zayed: Positive patriotism will drive future governments


posted on 10/02/2015

The most serious danger of modern terrorism is its ability to use and harness today's technologies to incite hatred in one another and the violent exclusionist ideology conducive to building a confused generation and families opposing the idea of the nation and public good, H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, warned on Sunday.
He stressed that in future a successful and effective government will be one that is responsive to this menace and is able to tackle its root causes by promoting positive patriotism.
'What concerns world opinion most today are terrorism and low oil prices, for the danger they pose to international peace and stability,' Sheikh Saif told the plenary session of the 3rd Government Summit in Dubai, organised under the theme Shaping Future Governments .
He emphasised that this threat does not represent a crisis for the UAE, but it is a challenge it can address thanks to the effective, scientific policy adopted by the UAE government under the wise leadership, which has worked to diversify sources of national income by reducing dependence on oil revenues.
The UAE leadership, he noted, had instilled in the people the spirit of tolerance, openness and moderation.
Sheikh Saif escorted to the podium an elite of UAE innovative students and conscripts of the national military service as a symbol of true citizenship based on excellence and innovation.
As he reviewed an old photo of a group of young UAE men celebrating their humble life, he said, 'The spirit of positive patriotism, optimism and hope for a promising future had long been a dream of the UAE people and leaders, who defied the harsh life and scarcity of resources in the past to continue building their nation.' Positive patriotism, he said, means reacting positively and serves as a key to the success of future governments and as a factor that unites people and helps in development.
'Citizenship is more than merely belonging to the nation and proving it with identity documents. Rather it is a practice of loyalty and service to the nation's higher interests in a strong and continuous way and in different circumstances and times as part of a common destiny.' Outlining major challenges facing future governments, Sheikh Saif said they were the same rapidly changing, increasingly complicated and dangerous challenges because of their connection to advanced sciences, human knowledge and development.
However, he noted, terrorism and low oil prices have emerged as the most two pressing challenges that comprise international stability. Terrorism, old and new, has the same sources and motives based on extremism, fanaticism, hatred and ignorance.
He explained that old terrorism used traditional weapons to inflict direct material destruction, while the new terrorism targets minds, family and the society through an arsenal of advanced technologies that are more lethal, such as the internet and social media. Terrorists and criminals have abused these technologies to vent their ideological poison among the youngsters and other segments in the community to raise an intellectually distorted generation and build families based on extremism and hatred, a family that cannot contribute something positive and whose prime goal is to undermine the security and stability of the society.
The UAE leaders, he recalled, had been very conscious of these challenges even before these emerged. He screened a film showing the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, warning a group of students from the UAE University about foreign poisonous intellectual trends. Sheikh Zayed, he noted, had sensed these challenges very early and recognised the importance of direct interaction and dialogue as well as good counselling in order to enhance the spirit of positive patriotism among the youths, makers of the nation's future.
'Confronting terrorist ideology is a collective and common responsibility, starting from the family through dissemination of anti-terror thought process and preaching true positive values in our local society, based on tolerance and moderation.
Sheikh Saif urged the international community to put in place up-to-date frameworks to deal with terrorism that transcend criminal laws and procedures to deep, preventive remedies of the sources and drivers of terrorism, hold financiers, propagandists and political sponsors of terrorism accountable for their acts which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, especially amidst the steady increase in terror crimes which increased by 60 percent between 2013 and 2014.
Citing media reports indicating that DAESH had sold large quantities of oil on a daily basis, Sheikh Saif called for punishing those buyers because they contributed to financing DAESH's terrorist operations.
Media, he affirmed, has a tremendous role in spreading a culture of positive patriotism in the society and contributing significantly in the fight against terrorism and exposing its false tactics and tools.
Addressing the low oil prices challenge, Sheikh Saif said the UAE economy's dependence on oil revenues had dropped remarkably from 90 to 30 percent today and the government was planning to reduce that percentage to five percent by 2021.
'Positive patriotism has a vital role in addressing the low oil price challenge. It is a common challenge that requires collective responsibility ...A family is expected to raise the level of education of its children and preserve the nation's gains and add to its material and moral achievements. A government employee is also expected to innovate, produce and work as one team,' he added.
He stressed the importance of taking inspiration from the UAE's exceptional leadership, wisdom, determination and perseverance to deliver success and from the noble values of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
'Security, quality services and stability are the natural, inevitable results of positive patriotism,' Sheikh Saif concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Opening session of the third Government Summit underlines innovation as driving force of economic competitiveness


posted on 10/02/2015

The third Government Summit, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, marked its opening by underlining the role of innovation in driving the economic competitiveness of nations and enhancing the quality of life of people.
Addressing the gathering of heads of states, high-ranking government officials, technology experts and educationalists from around the world, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Government Summit, said: "The Government Summit reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum that innovation is today's imperative in ensuring the progress of humanity and in building stable, progressive and creative communities." "The Summit serves as a global platform to address the challenges of the future and build an environment that fosters the well-being of individuals and stability of nations. The experts address tough questions such as how we can change our educational system to enable students to access jobs that do not exist today, and ways to prepare for a future when current jobs become obsolete with technology advancement. They also explore the challenges faced by governments in a fast-changing world to ensure the sustained happiness and welfare of citizens," said Al Gergawi.
In his keynote address, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said that the UAE is today among the first countries globally to take the lead in educating its people on the impact of the technology revolution through initiatives such as The Government Summit.
He identified the "3 Es" –educate, engage and empower- that are important to strengthen a culture of innovation by governments, adding that innovation is the way forward to boost economic competitiveness.
Schwab said "governments must prepare its people the changes brought by the new wave of technology revolution – and what the UAE does in this regard is extraordinary. Alongside, it is important to build the skills of the people by changing our education systems. Virtual education will play a big role and an area where UAE could be one of the first adopters." He said that engaging the private sector is the second key driver, and that partnerships between governments, businesses and the civil society will help shape a new innovation ecosystem. The third driver is empowering communities, particularly women, and making them a part of the change process.
Calling for a future that will be defined by true pioneers and pace-setters in innovation, Schwab said one of the fundamental enablers to promote innovation by governments is to restore the current trust deficit that political and business leaders face. "Leaders must respond to the needs of the people who have lost their trust in the leadership through honesty, morality and responsibility," he noted.
He commended the UAE leadership for setting a model in this regard, adding that clear and visionary leadership has enabled the country to enhance its global competitiveness ranking from 27 four years ago to the 12th position now.
Mr Schwab said that meritocracy must assume significance in today's post-crisis world. "The economic future over the next few years will be characterised by low growth, rather than high growth, with even emerging economies going through a mid-life crisis. The future challenges can be met only by governments, working in close cooperation with businesses. Governments need to treat private business as a true partner." In addition to the breakdown in trust and the challenges of the post-crisis world, Mr Schwab said the third defining factor that influences the future of governments is the new technological revolution.
"The revolution is not changing what and how we use technology, but changing us and our lives. Just look at the impact of the internet on the notion of privacy. The new generation has completely different notion of privacy from us, the older generation." He said that unlike the scientific revolutions of the past that arrived in waves, ‘today's tech revolution is a tsunami and disruptive. This calls for system innovation, in today's era of ‘talentism,' where humanity's capability for imagination and innovation builds a new ecosystem." "In this, governments have an essential role to play – though innovation has tended to come from private business, governments have to be catalysts, driving the innovation in this ecosystem. Robots, drones and AI will be critical in the future and again I congratulate the UAE for its work with drones – it is very impressive and pioneering," said Mr Schwab.
From its earlier focus on knowledge accumulation and competition, South Korea is shifting to a new educational system that places emphasis on "character education," to prepare its youth to be true citizens of the future, said Hwang Woo-yea, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education.
Addressing the Summit opening, he said that the country is now introducing "traditional values, courtesy and respect as a key part of the educational curriculum" to prepare a new generation that recognises the importance of compassion and cooperation.
Hwang Woo-yea said that South Korea leads the world in the allocation of funds for R&D and today invests over US$2 billion annually to promote entrepreneurial education in universities, which has contributed to a surge in the number of start-up ventures in the country.
Highlighting the role of education in achieving the transformational growth of the country, he said that the driving forces in this are the timely reforms by the government, strategic approaches for the educational sector, parental passion in providing high quality education for their children and creating a cadre of highly qualified teachers.
Hwang Woo-yea said that the priority of the government has been to create a highly talented pool of professionals to meet the demands of the economy. He said that the respect that South Koreans place for teachers has in turn encouraged a number of high achievers to choose teaching as a career, further strengthening the country's educational sector.
He said that for 2015, the country's strategy is to foster creative talent through several path-breaking steps including an ‘exam-free semester' for middle school students to encourage them to take part in opportunities to explore their career options and utilise their talent. The country is also adopting its STEAM model that covers Science, Technology, English, Arts and Mathematics, to ensure the convergence of science and art to enhance the creativity of students.
The third Government Summit is held under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments' and hosts more than 100 guest speakers from outside the UAE. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395276286977.html

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Dubai Government Achievements Exhibition from March 30 to April 1,


posted on 10/02/2015

Under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Dubai Government Excellence Programme, DGEP, and the Secretariat-General of the Dubai Executive Council will be organising the ‘Government of Dubai's Achievements' exhibition under the theme, "Local Government and Global Achievements" from March 30th to April 1st, at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The exhibition, the first of its kind in the world, brings into focus the achievements, initiatives, projects and special services of government departments and institutions in Dubai. Held in conjunction with the 5th Annual Investment Meeting, AIM, an international event that promotes Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, as the ideal option for attracting investors to various sectors of the economy in the world.
This year's edition will see the participation of more than 30 entities. It will focus on reviewing the achievements of Government of Dubai and their counterparts from around the region in different fields, including economy, security, development, innovation, smart transformation, sustainability and related sectors.
Commenting on the preparations, Abdullah Al Shibani, Secretary-General of the Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of Dubai Government Excellence Programme, said, "This exhibition is in response to the directive of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to provide an ideal platform showcasing the achievements of Dubai's local and the UAE's federal government departments, as well as those from the GCC region, with the goal of boosting the position of GCC states at the global level." "Through this exhibition, we aim to highlight the role of the Government of Dubai in creating a happier society. We are proud to say that the exhibition is a major platform showcasing Dubai's achievements for the local and international community, strengthening partnerships between government agencies, and creating new opportunities to share expertise and best practices," added Al Shibani The exhibition is in sync with the goals of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2021 and preparations for Expo 2020, as collaboration between local authorities in developing its services, improving infrastructure and promoting sustainable development holds the key to achieving success.
Dr. Ahmed Al Nuseirat, Coordinator-General, Dubai Government Excellence Programme, noted that the Government of Dubai is proactive and follows global standards in its systems, work programmes and creative initiatives, which will be highlighted in the exhibition, for the benefit of citizens and residents as well as AIM delegates. It is also a big opportunity for traders to browse services and practices of Dubai government departments. Dr. Nuseirat revealed that some departments will provide services to customers without fees during the exhibition period.
"This exhibition is part of the UAE Vision 2021, in which all participants seek to review their progress in enabling development through better financial and human resources that would hone the skills of government employees and develop their leadership qualities, leading to smart systems in all operating and service sectors," added Dr. Al Nuseirat.
Hazza Khalfan Al Nuaimi, Senior Manager of Excellence Initiatives at DGEP, said, "The message of this unique exhibition is to exchange experiences and review achievements in various fields, which will help improve the overall performance of any government entity. The exhibition will put on display the achievements of selected government agencies in Dubai and the region." According to Al Nuaimi, Government performance in Dubai can serve as a role model not only at the regional level, but also internationally.
The previous edition was held under the patronage, and with the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Dubai local government departments are taking part in this annual event to raise awareness about new services, initiatives and programmes, with the aim of delivering the message to the world that Dubai is a city of accomplishments.
Considering that the third edition of Government of Dubai Achievement Exhibition occurs in conjunction with the 5th Annual Investment Meeting 2015, organisers of the exhibition are expecting visits from international delegations to review the achievements of the Dubai authorities, particularly in innovation and excellence and smart transformation, which has become a distinguished theme in the emirate.
The previous edition of the show attracted government officials from the region and the world as well as decision makers, experts, businessmen and investors from more than 120 countries, in addition to media representatives from the region and the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276270326.html

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Amal Al Qubaisi: Mohamed bin Zayed's participation in Government Summit is valuable opportunity for decision makers


posted on 09/02/2015

The participation of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, in the third Government Summit will give the other participants a valuable opportunity to listen to one of the most prominent decision makers as he led a unique plan to enable the emirate of Abu Dhabi to play a significant role in shaping the future, said Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), First Deputy Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC) and Member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
In a statement Sunday, Al Qubaisi said that as Chairman of Abu Dhabi Education Council, H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed is leading a pioneering plan to develop education and enable Abu Dhabi to become a knowledge-based economy.
H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed will deliver the keynote speech of the Government Summit which is being organised under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments.' The summit will bring together than 100 speakers from outside the UAE, including representatives of 87 governments as well as speakers from international universities and organisations.
"His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed put education first as he believes that it is the key to shape the future. When speaking on future challenges, it is necessary to learn about the visions he will present. That is because he is an inspiring leader who represents wisdom, long experience, insight and authentic Arab attitudes, and who is keenly interested in interacting with citizens across the UAE as part of his open-doors policy through which he was able to turn the potentials of the society into achievements that stunned the world." Al Qubaisi further stressed that the UAE was able to achieve its current notable stature in all spheres, thanks to the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the follow up by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates.
Al Qubaisi noted that trust levels in government, business, media and NGOs in the UAE are the highest in the world, according to the recent 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer which reveals a strong correlation between a country's trust level and its willingness to accept innovation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276222299.html

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Government Summit partners with Oxford Analytica to launch report on ‘networked government’


posted on 09/02/2015

In partnership with the Government Summit, Oxford Analytica, an international consulting firm, has launched a report that examines the concept of networked government, which places users at the centre of service delivery.
The report also identifies the characteristics of today's top performers in networked government, and explores the future direction and challenges in its successful implementation.
The summit focuses on innovation as a foundation of the development and modernisation, and it plays important role in improving the effectiveness of government performance, to achieve the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in defining the summit as the prominent global platform in government development, and towards achieving the goals of UAE's Vision 2021.
The launch of the report comes in line with the Summit's agenda and objectives to discuss the next generation of future governments, and the world's most important variables in government development. The report explores the possibilities of leveraging technology and innovation to improve the lives of people and strengthen the effectiveness of the government's performance.
Networked government, which marks the next phase of e-government transition, encompasses the complete electronic integration and personalisation of services between government and other stakeholders.
To achieve the effective implementation of networked government, the report underlined the importance of enhancing the ability to collect and publicly share multiple forms of data across different channels, including email, SMS, website sites and social media.
As networked government evolves, the emphasis on a virtual, non-physical interaction between a government and its stakeholder will serve to further understand user needs and, ultimately, transform the effective formulation of policies, the report added.
The report states that as technology developed, so did the capabilities of governments to interact with multiple stakeholders. The concept of e-government has already gone through four distinct phases. The first is Information - where governments electronically display information in the public domain and share information between departments. The second is Interaction - where governments and other stakeholders electronically interact directly with one another. The third is Transaction - whereby entire interactions and services are executed remotely including application for passport, renewing visa voting and filing tax forms. However, security remains a major obstacle in electronic service delivery and transactional services tend to be limited to Internet-enabled laptops and desktops. The final phase is Transformation marked by complete electronic integration and personalisation of services between government and other stakeholders. Now, there is a single point of contact for all government services and transactions to be completed across multiple platforms.
Finland is one of the leading countries in enhancing citizen participation and public sector engagement through user experience testing and design. Over 80% Finnish citizens use online services to interact with the public sector. This adoption rate represents, in many respects, 'full-spectrum' citizen-centrism and is rooted in a strong tradition of open, participatory government. The concept of citizen-centric policy design is found throughout the Finnish Constitution, the Local Government Act and other legislations as far back as the early post-war period. Additionally, Finnish citizens are typically very receptive to change and modernisation, making innovation in governance more readily adopted by the public.
The report, however, said the variance in physical access to the internet and the wide differences in the levels of citizen capabilities, often described as the "digital divide", pose the potential risk of creating fragmented, inequitable delivery of future government services. It therefore identified three critical factors for the successful implementation and operation of networked government solutions: Access to technology and the ability to understand how to use it; Participation, which involves nurturing engaged citizenry and continuous interaction with providers; and Service delivery in the correct format, delivered via appropriate platforms.
In Singapore, the aftermath of the global financial crisis and subsequent recession encouraged the government to rethink its networked government strategy. The government is now determined that procuring advanced technology would help reduce redundancy across departments (and alleviate fiscal pressures), improve responsiveness and spur private-sector innovation.
On the back of its high-speed broadband network, the government has invested in cloud technology to unify its ICT environment and empower agencies to design and develop applications centrally and remotely. Additionally, through a central authority responsible for enterprise architecture, the government increasingly uses the cloud to integrate processes across agencies and interact with the public in ways that save time and money.
The Oxford Analytica report said the implementation and delivery of networked government will also depend on the levels of policy initiative, infrastructure investment and stakeholder engagement. It said leading networked governments are likely to be those that have personalised and improved usability of online service interaction and delivery, and integrated government services into private technological platforms. Such governments would also have assimilated multiple service channels into a seamless flow of information; and enabled multi-channel feedback and service delivery to ensure universal access and participation, it added.
The report made a number of organisational policy recommendations such as holding government staff accountable for user ratings as part of the annual review process, appointing a Chief Technology Officer or Chief Information Officer for overseeing networked government solutions as well as identifying global best practices and benchmarking service delivery metrics.
It also made technological policy recommendations such as ensuring the use of polling and evidenced-base policymaking when designing, implementing and operating public services, acquiring the internal capabilities necessary to analyse user data, and developing service tools that promote active participation in policy design. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276212527.html

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UN Secretary-General: Government Summit 2015 brings together influential policymakers and partners from around the world


posted on 08/02/2015

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has underlined the importance of the third edition of the Government Summit, which will be hosted by the UAE between 9-11 February, and described the event as a valuable gathering that brings together influential policymakers and partners from around the world working from different perspectives to reach the same shared goal of improving government.
In an statement, Ki-moon said, "I am delighted to take part in this important Government Summit 2015 hosted by the United Arab Emirates. I am deeply grateful to the people and leaders of the UAE, particularly President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum." "This valuable gathering brings together influential policymakers and partners from around the world working from different perspectives to reach the same shared goal of improving government." Ki-moon hailed the UAE's keen interest in hosting this annual international event which is attended by thousands of government officials, decision makers and policymakers from around the world.
"I count on this Summit to advance progress in fostering governments that uphold the values of peace, development and human rights while serving the common good," Ki-moon said.
Ki-moon will be one of the keynote speakers on the first day of the Government Summit 2015 which will be held under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, under the theme, "Shaping Future Governments." The UN Secretary-General added that the United Nations has three milestone events this year: the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July; the Special Summit on Sustainable Development in New York in September, and the Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.
The success of their outcomes, Ki-moon added, will depend on accountable and transparent governments that engage people in decisions affecting them.
– Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395276157559.html

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