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Mohammed bin Rashid visits Asharq Al Awsat headquarters in London

posted on 01/09/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum acknowledged the strong and close bilateral relations between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and emphasised the UAE's appreciation for Saudi Arabia's role in establishing stability and security in the region. He affirmed the importance of Saudi Arabia's role under the wise leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed expressed his firm belief that Saudi Arabia will play a pivotal role in leading the region to peace and stability.
His Highness's comments came during his visit to the headquarters of Asharq Al Awsat newspaper in London. The visit reflects His Highness's steadfast support for Arab media and his keenness to maintain constructive communication with Arab media leaders.
Editor in Chief of Asharq Al Awsat Salman Aldossary and senior executives received His Highness at the newspaper's headquarters. As one of the Arab world's most influential leaders and a global patron of media and journalism, the newspaper's management and staff welcomed His Highness's visit.
His Highness toured the newspaper's offices and was briefed by its Editor in Chief on work processes, strategies and editorial policies that help the newspaper to maintain the highest professional standards. Salman Aldossary also briefed His Highness on the daily work in the newspaper's London office and its global network in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
His Highness also met the newspaper's Assistant Editors-in-Chief Aidroos Abdulaziz and Zaid bin Kami, and conversed with the newspaper's journalists and editors. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed expressed his appreciation for the excellence shown by the newspaper, which has enabled Asharq Al Awsat to gain a leading position among the region's news media outlets. He also commended the balanced editorial policy and the constant growth and development of the newspaper.
The Asharq Al Awsat team thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for his generous gesture and praised his efforts in supporting Arab media by developing the world's largest media city in Dubai.
Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al Awsat Salman Aldossary described His Highness Sheikh Mohammed's visit as "historic" considering it a clear example of His Highness's patronage of media and journalists.
The newspaper's editorial team presented a copy of Asharq Al Awsat's first edition to His Highness. During the visit, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by Director General of Dubai Protocol Department Khalifa Saeed Suleiman and Director of Dubai Office in London Abdulla Al Mansouri. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid and Mohamed bin Zayed visit Martyr Saif Al Falasi house

posted on 01/08/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, yesterday visited the house of martyr, Saif Yousuf Ahmed Belhol Al Falasi, who died while performing his national duty as part of the involvement by the Armed Forces in Operation Restoring Hope, being carried out by the Arab coalition to back the people and the legitimate government of Yemen.
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai was accompanying them.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed met with the family of the martyr and expressed their heartfelt condolences and solace to his family who was martyred while supporting right, legitimacy and peace.
While visiting the residence of the deceased in Al Warqaa Area, Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Mohamed bin Zayed emphasised that Staff Sergeant Saif Al Falasi was a role model who sacrificed himself and led the way for other Emirati youths to follow his legacy to defend the sovereignty, and independence and protect national and cultural gains of the homeland as well as the principles of justice and peace.
They also pointed to the acts of heroism by a number of members of the Armed Forces in various regions and countries which had witnessed security and political unrest as part of the UN forces to bring justice, peace and stability in other fraternal and friendly countries.
They also wished that sons of the deceased would be brought up on patriotism under the umbrella of a family which is renowned by its national belonging and sacrificed its son for the sake of the homeland in response to the call of duty and right.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed expressed their support to the family of the deceased and his sons and their preparedness to give attention and care to his sons.
Addressing the mother of the martyr, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Mohamed bin Zayed said, "Mother, all the UAE youths are Saif as they were brought up, taught and had grown up while adopting and following the legacy late Sheikh Zayed and in an Islamic and Arab country which denounces violence, terrorism, injustice, aggression on our gains, national sovereignty, rights and supports all actions and international and legitimate resolutions for peace and truth.
The family of the martyr expressed their pride at the martyrdom of Saif who was responsible for his family as he was responsible for his family. The family also expressed that they would always be loyal to their country which gives attention to all UAE citizens as well as provides a dignified life for them.
They also expressed their happiness at the visit of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid, noting that the visit was the highest medal from the wise leadership for martyr Saif Al Falasi.
H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Advisor, Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Lt. General Misbah bin Rashid AI Fattan, Director of the Office of the Vice-President, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director-General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai, Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court and others were also present on the occasion. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid launches ‘The Leader of the 21st Century’ model for UAE Government Leaders Programme

posted on 31/07/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has launched ‘The Leader of the 21st Century' model for UAE Government Leaders Programme, designed by the UAE government to achieve a quantum leap in capacity building.
The programme will strengthen the competencies and leadership skills at the federal government level with a view to building effective networking among government leaders and strengthen relations with the private sector.
‘The Leader of the 21st Century' model aims to take the leadership skills of officials at the federal government to the next level by strengthening the skills of the most promising young leaders. They will be provided extensive leadership training to hone their expertise and prepare them to evolve as distinguished leaders at the national, regional and global levels.
Sheikh Mohammed said, "The Leader of the 21st Century model which we have launched today marks a new phase in building distinct national capacities based on innovation and knowledge as we pursue efforts to serve our people and strengthen the position of our nation at the global level."
"I believe in modernisation and development across technological, scientific, economic fields as well as other areas. This is imperative to keep pace with and anticipate rapid global changes, and to ensure that we continue to be at the forefront of the global economy.
"I believe in the youth of the nation and their abilities. They are our renewable wealth, and building their skills is a fundamental priority of our nation. We must prepare our youth for the future and give them the tools that will enable them to proceed ahead in the march of success as well as build on them to create a better future for our citizens.
"The Leader of the 21st Century is extraordinary... keeping up and staying ahead of the rapid changes around, and developing effective and smart solutions to face the challenges. The Leader of the 21st Century is flexible and creative, and supports innovation and creativity as well as encourages the team to embrace the new experiences apart from finding innovative solutions to overcome the challenges."
‘The Leader of the 21st Century' model was launched in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai, Ohood Al Roumi, Director General of the Prime Minister Office, Najla Al Awar, Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet; and Abdullah bin Touq, Executive Director of Excellence and Leadership in the Prime Minister Office, and the team of the UAE Government Leaders programme.
‘The Leader of the 21st Century' model has been inspired by the leadership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has set an example to the world in government leadership. A clear vision and an ambitious approach to build a smart future government led by innovation and excellence are at the heart of the model.
The UAE Government Leaders Programme aims to attract talents from both public and private sectors and provide best training opportunities for developing leadership skills through launching of ‘The Leader of the 21st Century' model. In turn, this will also help to build an effective network among all the participants.
With the new model, the UAE government seeks to strengthen the global position of the UAE by preparing and empowering government leaders to achieve the goals of ‘UAE Vision 2021'. It focuses on strengthening relationships between the public and private sectors and accessing global best partnerships by taking into account the needs of the UAE. It also establishes a network that connects elite government leaders in the country.
‘The Leader of the 21st Century' model also supports the UAE National Agenda and UAE Vision 2021 by offering the best training programme for future leaders, instilling in them the required leadership skills for the twenty-first century. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid: Improving government performance a continuous process

posted on 30/07/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has stated that the process of improving government performance requires sustained efforts and daily assessment in line with the National Agenda and strategic plans of the government to achieve UAE Vision 2021.
Sheikh Mohammed made this remark while reviewing the results of the performance indicators of 45 federal government entities, including ministries and federal authorities, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Ohood Al Roumi, Director General of the Prime Minister Office, Najla Al Awar, Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet and Mariam Al Hammadi, Executive Director of Government Performance Sector in the Prime Minister Office.
He said, "The performance evaluation is a consistent approach of the UAE government aimed at raising government work efficiency to meet people's expectations and provide them happiness. We have long-term strategic plans to advance the work of government. We believe that in order to achieve the best results that match our ambitious aims to achieve top ranks at the global level, we must keep evaluating and updating our action plans and prioritising them on a regular basis."
Sheikh Mohammed underscored that the performance evaluation is designed to help government entities raise their efficiency levels and improve the quality of services, noting that advanced level of performance has been achieved by entities in more than one level.
He was briefed on the results of the performance indicators of federal government entities and the implementation of a periodic follow-up programme, which covers the performance of the employees. Emphasis was placed on the performance levels achieved in the ministries of education, health and social affairs in view of their status as vital service entities.
The government is evaluating more than 3,000 indicators on the Federal Government Performance Management System ‘Adaa 2.0', an effective mechanism to manage institutional performance and accurately monitor the execution of strategic and operational plans across federal government entities.
In addition to the level of excellence of services provided, the system can monitor the competitiveness level of all ministries and federal agencies on a daily basis. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


In the midst of a turbulent region, this country is a beacon of hope

posted on 27/07/2015

In a speech given last week in the UK, Lord David Alton argued that the issue of religious freedom be "given greater political and diplomatic priority, to insist on the importance of religious literacy as a competence, to discuss the crossover between freedom of religion and belief and a nation's prosperity and stability and to reflect on the suffering of those denied this foundational freedom”.
He referred to current examples of appalling abuses of religious freedom, several of which were in Middle Eastern countries.
This region is characterised in much of the western media as a hotbed of religious persecution and violence, although the UAE stands out for the opposite reason. Christians and people of other faiths can worship here without fear of intimidation. So, what makes this country different?
The answer does not seem to be due to any distinctive beliefs (though the UAE is proudly and authentically Islamic). Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for instance, subscribe to the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence, whereas Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah are historically Wahhabi.
A part of the answer must lie in the encounters between the founding leaders of the UAE and the extraordinary pioneers who came to live in the Trucial States before the discovery of oil.
Perhaps the best known example is the late Sheikh Zayed inviting Dr Pat Kennedy to start a hospital in Al Ain.
Although Dr Kennedy wore his Christian faith on his sleeve, Sheikh Zayed was not troubled by this. Indeed, Dr Kennedy's faith was often a topic of conversation between the two men. Others who worked there also inspired a deep respect and affection including Gertrude Dyke, who is remembered as "Dr Latifa” by Emiratis.
Less known is the Sarah Hosman Hospital in Sharjah, which opened in 1951.
Dr Hosman would go and visit the tribes in the desert on medical tours riding on a mule. Her story was even more inspiring when one discovers she had a wooden leg. Many members of the present day ruling family of Sharjah were born in her hospital.
Again, she had a vibrant Christian faith in which she and her staff openly shared their religious convictions with the local patients, a privilege that rarely seemed to cause offence.
An equally formidable and inspiring Christian pioneer is Wilhelmina van de Weg who also earned the respect and affection of the local people in Fujairah for serving the people selflessly through the maternity clinic.
The shared attributes of all these pioneer Christian workers were a deep understanding of the local people, fluency in Arabic and a heart to serve with equity all sectors of Arab society – and to do so without seeking personal financial gain.
They were also all overt in the expression of their Christian faith.
The significance of these workers is that they gave the visionary founding sheikhs of the UAE a concrete example of the mutual benefits of interfaith tolerance. This mutual benefit is not a small matter. For example, one benefit in allowing Christians to establish the Oasis hospital in Al Ain was the plummeting of the infant mortality rate from more than 50 per cent to 1 per cent.
Schools also benefited. Some of the earliest and most effective providers of mass education in this country include the Roman Catholic Church, with teachers coming from monastic orders and the religious sisterhoods.
The huge Gems organisation traces its roots to the educational vision of the Varkey family, who are devout members of the Marthoma Church from South India.
In return, the open mindedness and hospitality of the Emirati people has benefited those of other faiths.
They have created a calm environment in a turbulent global economy, in which people from all over the world can find a spiritual refuge, as well as economic security.
More importantly, expatriates encounter an Islam that is confident, secure and embraces diversity of faiths and peoples in an atmosphere of acceptance.
All this was highlighted in the new anti-discrimination law passed last week. This is unique in the Islamic world.
The UAE continues a proud and distinctive commitment to religious freedom and tolerance. It is a tradition that can be firmly traced back to the vision and values of the country's founding fathers.
Reverend Canon Andrew Thompson MBE is senior Anglican chaplain of St Andrew's Church in Abu Dhabi and author of Christianity in the UAE and Jesus of Arabia. – The National -


Mohammed bin Rashid is a pioneer extraordinaire: paper

posted on 27/07/2015

In an editorial published yesterday morning, an English-language daily has said that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, is a pioneer extraordinaire who doesn't just make promises, but he acts on his goals too.
"He has many distinguished achievements to his credit. He is the man behind building iconic landmarks such as the Burj Al Arab and the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa. He introduced the revolutionary driverless Dubai Metro. He is the proponent of annual fiestas for Dubai residents and tourists alike such as the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises. He launched fun icy entertainment spots in the middle of hot desert terrain such as Ski Dubai. He has also been stoking, from time to time, intellectual debates at conferences graced by some of the world's leading politicians, thinkers and motivational speakers," said the Sharjah-based newspaper, The Gulf Today.
The one purpose for this, explained the editorial, is to make Dubai a stellar and ground-breaking city on the global map.
"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed steered Dubai towards making it not just an economic and industrial hub in the Middle East, but also helped make it an oasis of stability, peace and security. His guidance morphed the landscape of the desert, with high-rises made of glass and chrome, along with other fascinating traits.
"Under his stewardship, Dubai has enhanced the leisure and lifestyle quotient for not just Westerners but other expatriates too. Even Hollywood has made a beeline for this glitzy cosmopolis, finding it an ideal location to shoot its movies and for its stars to relax in ultra-modern luxury," it said.
The editorial noted that perhaps nowhere is Dubai's spectacular progress more evident than in the field of aviation.
"Dubai International Airport was the world's busiest for international passenger traffic last year, stealing the thunder from London's Heathrow Airport.
"Full-year passenger numbers for the Dubai International totalled 70.4 million," it said.
The editorial added, "Terminal 3 airport is as swanky as swanky can get, with its state-of-the-art trappings and self-check-in counters."
It went on to say that these developments were further highlighted following the recent announcement by Sheikh Mohammed that Dubai is going to build the largest airport in the world.
"The Ruler of Dubai tweeted on Friday that Dubai was going to affect the biggest deal in history by buying planes worth US$100 billion.
"When officials briefed him on plans to enlarge Dubai airport, he told them he did not want an airport for Dubai but wanted Dubai to be the airport of the world," said the paper, before adding that "The Cassandras may be dismissive of the logic behind this humongous figure, but Sheikh Mohammed's followers have immense faith in him."
The theme, "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" for Expo 2020 Dubai appropriately fits the rapid developments of Dubai World Central (DWC) in elevating the emirate's standing as an aviation and logistics hub and a centre of commerce, added the editorial.
"The aerotropolis provides a critical backdrop to Dubai's bid for the World Expo 2020, and around 30 million travellers are estimated to pass through the passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport by 2023," it said.
In April, while honouring Sheikh Mohammed on his selection as the Cultural Personality of the Year for the 9th edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, the paper quoted President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the occasion as saying, "Honouring of Sheikh Mohammed is an honour for the founding fathers of the country, since he is the best person who carried on their legacy and completed their march wisely."
In conclusion the editorial said that the word ‘impossible' does not exist in the dictionary of Sheikh Mohammed's life. As President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa remarked on the leader, "He also led the march of progress and development with ambition, hope and determination with the will that does not know what is impossible."
It added, "When it comes to success and vision, Sheikh Mohammed is truly a trailblazer." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


MoF launches UAE FATCA guidance notes and registration form on its website

posted on 16/07/2015

As part of the 2014 agreement signed between the UAE and USA to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, FATCA, in the UAE, the Ministry of Finance, MoF, has announced that UAE FATCA guidance notes, along with a registration form for entities to access the FATCA reporting portal, are now available on the Ministry's website.
The guidance notes provide a detailed explanation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and the terms and conditions for relevant financial institutions identified in the agreement and operating in the UAE banking, insurance and financial services sectors. The document also includes guidelines for submitting financial reports according to FATCA standards, the UAE's framework and legislation, as well as updates on the laws issued by the US Treasury Department.
All relevant financial institutions and entities identified within the agreement are required to register on the portal using the registration form included in the guidance notes, which will be provided by their licensed authorities, including the UAE Central Bank, Securities and Commodities Authority, Insurance Authority, and Dubai International Financial Centre.
Entities that are not licensed by these authorities can register via the Ministry's website on a designated webpage for FATCA. Financial institutions are required to submit information about financial accounts held by US persons or by foreign companies with one or more US shareholders that own more than 10 percent of the company to the Ministry by July 30th, 2015.
Following registration, financial institutions need to provide the following documentation: a copy of their work permit, data for any subsidiaries and audited financial reports for 2014. They must also include copies of US citizens' passports, visas and Emirates IDs to their compliance officer.
Younis Haji Al Khoori, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, said, "The launch of the UAE FATCA guidance notes and registration form is in line with the Cabinet's decision to select FATCA's first implementation model, and its directive to assign the Ministry as the point of contact for UAE financial institutions which are compliant with the agreement terms and IRS standards."
He added, "The guidance notes provide a reference for financial institutions and serve as an implementation platform for the terms of FATCA. The guidance notes have been launched after the Ministry successfully linked federal and financial institutions to the IRS's private electronic system."
The Ministry has advised financial institutions to seek professional consultation from specialised tax agencies to clarify any queries about the law's requirements. The Ministry is set to submit its primary report for 2014 by September 30th, 2015. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sultan Al Jaber: UAE's Diplomacy promotes the country's stature internationally

posted on 14/07/2015

Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, EDA, has stressed that EDA's establishment embodies the directives of UAE's wise leadership and its conviction that the foreign policy is an integral part, which contributes to shaping the future and strengthening the position of the UAE in the international arena.
He pointed out that the EDA is working on outlining new standards based on accurate reading of reality and scientific extrapolation to meet the aspirations of the UAE diplomacy to continue the achievements in terms of foreign policy and international relations.
Al Jaber told the Arabic-language local daily, Al Khaleej, in an interview published yesterday that the academy seeks to promote the UAE's diplomacy based on comprehensive scientific models, including scientific research, academic studies and executive training to provide decision-makers with the tools and standards that help achieve effective impact on the State's present and future.
Sultan commended the role of Emirati youth, adding that "they are becoming more aware of the issues and needs of their homeland," expecting that the academy will attract many national qualifications capable of achieving excellence in the field of diplomatic work.
Speaking about the role of the EDA in the development of the UAE's foreign policy, Al Jaber said that United Arab Emirates success lies in the long-term vision of the country's wise leadership that always directs for integration between the successes of the present and exploration of new future horizons.
He added that the EDA is mandated to support the State's foreign policy and strengthen international and diplomatic relations as well as international cooperation through applying international best practices to qualify, train and strengthen competence of the diplomatic and consular corps, as well as all those working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and EDA's students from ministries and other institutions.
Al Jaber continued, "In order to achieve this goal, EDA's effort focused on providing a sound scientific basis and regulating the organisational, administrative and operational structures to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and tangible results."
About whether the role of the Academy will be limited to the academic aspect, training and rehabilitation of cadres, Al Jaber affirmed that the rehabilitation and training is only one aspect of many tasks to be undertaken by the EDA that will provide several mechanisms to support the decision-making process and promote the UAE diplomatic relations at various levels.
Al Jaber pointed out that through this approach the academy will work to provide academic studies, researches and work papers associated with many of relevant issues.
He added that the main reason behind the establishment of the Academy is to play a central and essential role in building national cadres specialised in diplomatic sciences, advanced scientific research and executive training to enable the country to consolidate its positive and fruitful relations with all world countries.
About the teaching staff at the Academy, Al Jaber explained that the academy has adopted a scientific approach in accordance with international academic standards, and made sure that to recruit a selection of academics, researchers, local and international diplomats, who are capable to provide the national cadres with experiences that will qualify them to be future diplomats.
Al Jaber said that the academy will be keen to attract local and visiting international lecturers who have significant experience in the diplomatic and the academic fields, adding that the academy will also work to build partnerships with its counterparts from international academic institutions to exchange experiences and work on continuous development to upgrade the scientific performance of the Academy.
He noted that young Emiratis, women and men, are characterised today more than ever before with great consciousness of the national issues and have more understanding of the requirements of the State to continue progress as well as the distinct position that the country seeks to, thanks to the transparent relationship between the UAE leadership and citizens in general, especially young people who have the special care and attention.
Dr. Sultan noted that the Academy will address global and regional issues from an objective perspective by building a comprehensive knowledge base in the field of international relations and diplomacy as well as providing technical and advisory support to other government bodies. The Academy also seeks to involve local, regional and global institutions in its various activities.
About the academic year, he said, it would commence in September with at least 50 students, adding that the Academy receives applications from those interested in different aspects of foreign policy and international relations, including politics, international security, business, trade or international scientific and cultural issues. It also receives those interested in collective work and seek to support others, and citizens who like to travel around the world and ready to work under challenges and ready to adapt to various cultures as well as those with capacities in innovative and analytic thinking.
Dr. Sultan added that the Academy will present to decision and policy makers depth analyses on important issues at the regional and international levels, adding that the analyses include a number of themes covering the economy, energy and international security and the post-conflict diplomacy and sustainable development and multilateral diplomacy.
Referring to Prince Saud Al Faisal, who passed away last week, he said the deceased had a special fingerprints on Saudi Arabia diplomacy in particular and the Arab diplomacy in general. Dr. Al Jaber said that the departure of Prince Saud Al Faisal was a big loss for the Arab diplomacy. He was a pioneer, whose wisdom and moderation helped tackled various issues.
He added that, "Although the Arab diplomacy had lost a great symbol, but our consolation is that the cumulative expertise of the late Prince Saud and the lessons learned from his long career will be a key reference for future diplomats to achieve more accomplishments for the Arab diplomacy in regional and international forums." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE ranks first in the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index in MENA Region

posted on 12/07/2015

For the second consecutive year, the United Arab Emirates took top place in the Middle east and North Africa for the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index.. The UAE has achieved 0.67 (min 0, max 1), while Denmark came first in the global ranking with 0.87.
The UAE succeeded in acquiring the top position on the list thanks to its prestigious record in the competitiveness indices, most importantly adherence to the order and security factor, by which crime is effectively controlled, civil conflict, is effectively limited and people do not resort to violence to redress personal grievances. In this category, the UAE scored 0.91, followed by absence of governmental corruption 0.82, and effective criminal justice 0.77. The Index' factor 8 evaluates the Criminal Justice system, which measures the correctional system's effectiveness in reducing criminal behaviour. Other factors include constraints on government powers; regulatory enforcement; open government; civil justice; and fundamental rights.
The report shows that the UAE has attained significant results towards its vision of distinguished police performance. Based on the answers drawn from household and expert respondents, police officers respect due process and fundamental rights of suspects. According to the report, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea share the same vision with the UAE in this regard.
Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, expressed his confidence in the UAE police bodies' ability in achieving additional positive results on all global competitiveness indices. "These achievements are possible thanks to the accumulated expertise and skills of the UAE people, and the sound planning under the leadership of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and his ongoing commitment to keep the police institution at the forefront of the most effective and efficient institutions internationally. .
For his part, Abdullah Nasser Lootah, Secretary General of the Emirates Competitiveness Council (ECC), noted that the annual results of the International Justice Project‘s report are a new addition to the landmark achievements made by the UAE and will further reinforce its good reputation locally, regionally and internationally. The Index's results also strengthen the UAE's status as a leading trade, finance, investment and tourism hub, thanks to the UAE's distinguished record in rule of law, justice, safety, and security and other unique features.
It is worth mentioning that the World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, non-profit, international multidisciplinary organisation, which periodically releases the annual "Rule of Law Index". The Index provides original, impartial data to measure how the rule of law is experienced in practical, everyday situations by ordinary people around the world. Performance is assessed using several indicators across eight categories, each of which is scored and ranked globally against regional and income peers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE government sets in motion preparations for 4th Strategic Plan 2017-2021

posted on 12/07/2015

More than 100 employees, including strategic managers and senior officials representing various federal government entities, took part in a workshop organised by the UAE government to involve federal government entities in the preparations for the upcoming Strategic Plan 2017-2021, which is aimed at achieving the National Agenda and the ambitious goals of the UAE Vision 2021.
On the occasion, Ohood Al Roumi, Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office, highlighted the importance of the workshop titled ‘Guidelines for the 4th Strategic Plan 2017-2021' in supporting government entities in the preparations for the 4th Strategic Plan, especially since the latest Strategic Plan constituted the last phase of the UAE Vision 2021.
"Shaping the future is a key priority for the government in the next stage of the Strategic Plan. This requires more training on the tools and efforts to strengthen government innovation, successful planning, and increased performance efficiency. It is important to support coordinated efforts and team work to ensure the achievement of our national goal to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world," Al Roumi said.
Al Roumi said the new Strategic Plan requires greater efforts and enhanced government performance, especially in terms of strategic planning as well as financial and functional efficiency. These can be achieved by increasing the focus on quality projects and working on innovative ideas to serve people better and enhance the leading competitive status of the UAE.
The 4th Strategic Plan represents an important step towards achieving the UAE Vision 2021. The previous phases of the Plan witnessed the launch of the National Agenda and the launch of the fourth generation of Government Excellence System.
The Prime Minister's Office team reviewed the timetable for the development and delivery modules for the 4th Strategic Plan 2017-2021. Each of the previous plans was for three years, but the government has decided to expand the latest plan to five years until 2021, as the targets of the National Agenda have been set before the stakeholders.
The team addressed a number of important issues of focus with regard to the development of strategic plans. These represent the principles and methodologies which contribute to enhancing government performance and efficiency, and include 7 Star Services, Government Innovation, Shaping the Future, Focus on Results, and Financial Efficiency. Federal and local government entities, the private sector, citizens and the society as a whole have been urged to work together to achievement these objectives.
The team said that federal government entities will rely on previous initiatives to develop the 4th Strategic Plan 2017-2021, which include the UAE Vision 2021, the National Agenda, Government Excellence System, Smart Government Initiative, and the National Innovation Strategy.
The previous plans included the launch of a number of important initiatives that have contributed to the promotion of the UAE in strategic planning sector in the region and the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid attends first meeting for UAE Gender Balance Council, approves Gender Balance Index

posted on 07/07/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has affirmed that the UAE will spare no effort to create a supportive environment for women to fulfil their roles as key partners in building the future of the nation.
"Emirati women have proved their competence in all fields and we are proud of every achievement they made, and thus, we are committed to support them till they achieve the highest degrees of excellence and accomplish further achievements in line with our ambitious development vision" said His Highness.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid wished all the success for members of UAE Gender Balance Council in pursuing their objectives. Sheikh Mohammed described the formation of the Gender Balance Council as a new step toward empowering UAE women.
He also affirmed that the Council's objectives complement the valued contributions of the Mother of the Nation, H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, GWU, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation, FDF, and Head of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.
Affirming its role in enhancing work environment by giving women equal opportunities in the public sector, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid approved the Council's launching of the Gender Balance Index for the government sector.
Sheikh Mohammed's statement came while attending part of the UAE Gender Balance Council's first meeting, chaired by President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and President of Dubai Women Establishment, H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, wife of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, attended the meeting.
During the meeting, Sheikha Manal announced the launch of Gender Balance Index in government entities.
President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and President of Dubai Women Establishment, H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has issued a resolution appointing Mona Al Marri as Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council.
The meeting was also attended by members of the UAE Gender Balance Council including Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, Mona Al Marri; Director-General of UAE General Women's Union, Noura Al Suweidi; Undersecretary of Foreign Ministry for Legal Affairs, Dr. Abdul Rahim Yousef Al Awadhi; Assistant Undersecretary of Foreign Ministry for Government Coordination Nasser Al Hamili of Ministry of Presidential Affairs; Undersecretary for Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade and Industry, Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh; Assistant Undersecretary for Ministry of Labour for Policies and Strategies, Dr. Omer Abdul Rahman Al Nuaimi; Secretary-General of Emirates Competitiveness Council, Abdullah Nasser Lootah; Director-General of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources, Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Awar; Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Reem Al Falasi, and Director-General of Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation at Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, Huda Al Hashimi.
Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum started the UAE Gender Balance Council's first meeting by welcoming Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, extending her heartfelt gratitude to His Highness for offering a great care for women around the country and for the continuous support for all initiatives and projects that aim at empowering women and granting them the necessary tools and means to actively serve their community and country. Sheikha Manal stressed on the fact that the Council is keen on monitoring its entrusted tasks in accordance with the aspirations of our wise leadership and in support to UAE's overall development at all levels.
"The Gender Balance Index in government entities aims at measuring the performance of these entities in achieving balance through a series of indices which include developing policies in support of women, applying these policies optimally, ensuring equal opportunities between men and women in leadership positions and decision-making positions as well as launching initiatives that will provide excellent services in the workplace, such as, creating women's committees that serve women," stressed Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed.
Sheikha Manal commissioned the UAE Gender Balance Council to cooperate with different stakeholders at the federal level, to work on the project and present a full concept during the Council's next meeting.
Fruitful Results During the meeting, Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed reviewed the overall objectives and strategy outline for the next phase of the council, along with the steps taken to activate the Council's role, in cooperation with competent entities in the UAE based on clear frameworks that ensure concrete and effective results in the shortest possible time frames. Sheikha Manal also confirmed that the Council acts as a federal entity intended to bridge the gap between genders, achieve the desired balance between them and offer both men and women equal opportunities. The Council's first index is efficiency, excellence and innovation, which contributes to achieving one of the Council's main objectives including upgrading the UAE's competitiveness level in the field of gender balance on the international level.
Sheikha Manal stressed the importance of developing federal and local strategies to deal with gender and social balance, examining existing legislations and studying the possibility of enhancing them, which will achieve the desired balance, especially that these legislations were passed several decades ago and might not fit our country's large development ambitions.
Moreover, Sheikha Manal noted that the UAE is keen to empower women and therefore the country provided equal educational opportunities and better access to health and social services. The UAE also issued legislations to preserve women's rights. Sheikha Manal affirmed that the UAE takes pride in Emirati women's achievements and is committed to provide the support they require in order for them to continue play their important role as mothers raising the new generation beside their role in the community.
"Current legislations, policies and programmes must be revised or updated, and new legislations and programmes must be developed to achieve gender balance in the workplace, as we currently need to develop legislations and policies that suit the major changes in the state, and fulfil our ambition to turn the UAE into a model in gender balance. This path will guarantee a proper and collective participation of men and women during the ambitious developmental journey which requires combining all efforts. In addition, the implementation of decisions and laws in gender balance must undergo a follow-up process, as some of them are not applied or are inaccurately applied in a way that diminishes the achievement of desired goals," Sheikha Manal she added.
Multiple Fields and Great Expectations Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed pointed out the multiplicity of the fields overseen by the Council and the pressing need to focus on sectors that are showing poor performance in international competitiveness reports, taking into consideration the fact that some reports issued by international bodies often lack accuracy.
As for the Council's focus fields, Sheikha Manal assured that the UAE Gender Balance Council will work on several areas while stressing on political participation and will strive to increase women's participation rate in the National Council, as well as achieve equal rates for their participation in diplomatic corps.
She mentioned that the leadership and decision-making entity will be concretely implemented to raise women's participation in boards of directors within public and private sectors, in cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Economy and all stakeholders so as to activate the women's representation, determine the reasons that prevent the increase in representation rates and identify the best ways to raise their participation.
President of the Council also noted the importance of adopting work-life balance initiatives through creating nurseries in workplaces and collaborating with the representative of the Ministry of Social Affairs to protest against the deactivation of decisions related to women in federal entities. The Council will also review the situation and maternity laws and work for their optimal application at the state level, as well as follow up on their implementation by governmental and private entities.
She revealed that the efforts of the UAE Gender Balance Council within the economic body will include working on increasing the participation of women in the private and entrepreneurship sectors, especially after Emirati women proved their ability to achieve excellence in various economic and business fields.
International Competitiveness For his part, Secretary General of the Emirates Competitiveness Council His Excellence Abdulla Nasser Lootah presented an overview on the UAE status in international competitiveness reports, where he highlighted the positions scored by the UAE in this regard and the aspects that require improvement. The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave an overview on women, their role in the Emirati society and the elements that the Council needs to focus on during the next phase as part of the efforts to reduce any gap between genders.
Following this, a presentation on the UAE Gender Balance Council and its objectives was shown. These objectives include reducing the gap between genders in all UAE sectors, promoting the UAE's status in international competitiveness reports in terms of gender gap and striving to achieve gender balance in decision-making centres. Moreover, innovative initiatives and projects were presented, aiming at achieving gender balance and turning the UAE into a model in gender balance and gender equality legislations.
Council's Specialisations Members of the UAE Gender Balance Council include Director of the General Women's Union, Noura Al Suwaidi; Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Reem Abdullah Al Falasi; Chairperson of Dubai Women Establishment, Mona Al Marri; and Secretary-General of the Emirates Competitiveness Council, Abdulla Nasser Lootah, in addition to representatives from the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Cabinet Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Economy, Social Affairs, Labour, and the Federal Authority for Human Resources.
Council's specialisations include reviewing current legislations, policies and programmes, suggesting or updating new legislations and programmes in order to achieve gender balance in the workplace, and activating laws, regulations, decisions and related international agreements on gender balance, to avoid discrimination against women.
The Council specialises in reviewing and following international competitiveness reports, working on establishing programmes, plans and policies to reduce the gender gap in the workplace, collaborating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to represent the United Arab Emirates in international forums, suggesting cooperation agreements and joint programmes, as well as proposing gender balance indices, presenting them to the Cabinet for approval and seeking to promote their application in the state in collaboration with federal and local authorities, in order to achieve the Council's objectives.
In addition, the Council seeks to establish a database related to gender balance in the workplace and submit periodic reports to the Cabinet to indicate the progress made and identify the projects and needs requested by the Council to achieve its objectives. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


DoF- Abu Dhabi wins 2015 Adam Smith award for ‘Best in Class Treasury Solution in the Middle East’

posted on 05/07/2015

The Department of Finance (DoF) – Abu Dhabi has received an Adam Smith award in the ‘Best in Class Treasury Solution in the Middle East' category; during the eighth "Adam Smith" award presentation ceremony.
The awards are organised annually by Treasury Today, a magazine which specialises in financial affairs and capital markets.
DoF – Abu Dhabi received the award for its implementation of a Treasury Single Account (TSA), which plays a key role in improving transparency and enhancing the efficiency of government financial operations. The Adam Smith Awards programme is recognised as one of the ultimate international benchmarks for achievements in corporate treasury. The awards are presented to financial institutions to celebrate their innovation, creativity and excellence in the corporate treasury sector. The awards ceremony was attended by over 200 treasury officials and financial experts from 23 countries across the world.
Commenting on this award-win, Hamad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi, Chairman of DoF- Abu Dhabi stressed the Department's commitment to fulfilling the vision of the UAE's wise leadership to develop the financial management system under decentralisation, standardise financial policies and accounting systems, as well as implement best practices for the TSA. The TSA plays an important role in strengthening the ability of government entities to manage their budgets efficiently, ensuring accountability and control over public spending.
Al Suwaidi said: "DoF- Abu Dhabi seeks to implement an effective and efficient financial management system by working in accordance with a unified government vision, as well developing the Emirate's financial infrastructure and framework. This helps to enhance the government's financial operations, raise transparency levels and also enables the Department to plan according to accurate data in order to support sustainable development and economic prosperity within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi."
He continued: "TSA improves the efficiency of managing costs, expenses and receipts, and facilitates a standardised financial reporting framework as well as a level of autonomy for government entities. This in turn enhances DoF's role in the process of developing financial policies."
Salah Mohamed Al Weswasi, Executive Director of Policy and Financial Systems Sector at DoF- Abu Dhabi said: "Developing a TSA will result in adopting a zero-based balanced system for all financial transactions. The required balance for payments and cash by government entities which fund their operational and capital operations from the general budget of the Abu Dhabi Government will be transferred on a daily basis to their secondary accounts from DoF's central account. This will ensure that payments are timely and surpluses are collected, monitored and managed effectively."
The panel of judges of the Adam Smith Awards base their assessment on a number of elements when selecting winners from financial institutions located in Europe, North and South America, Africa and the Middle East. The assessment includes evaluating the systems and programmes in place for the optimal use of resources and highest return on investment, in addition to the approved framework for the structure and organisation of the treasury department. The judges also assess these institutions' ability to enhance the speed and efficiency of their financial operations based on the latest IT systems as well as solutions which are specifically customised to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and quality in financial operations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sharjah Ruler wins Germany's Grand Order of Merit with Star

posted on 03/07/2015

President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, has awarded Germany's Grand Order of Merit with Star (Das Grosse Verdienstkreuz mit Stern) to H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
Germany's Ambassador to the UAE, Dr. Eckhard Wilhelm Lubkemeier, on behalf of President Gauck, presented the honour to H.H. Sheikh Sultan in a ceremony at Al Badea' Palace in Sharjah.
In a speech at the ceremony, H.H. Sheikh bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, thanked the president and people of Germany for the honour, and stressed that the long-standing historic relations between the UAE and Germany will always be strong and constructive.
He also reiterated his support for several human domains like culture, trade and tourism.
The German ambassador said the honour is in recognition of H.H. Sheikh Sultan's cultural, social and humanitarian efforts that contributed to the ever-increasing relations between the two countries, in the cultural, trade and tourism spheres in particular.
Ambassador Lubkemeier described the Ruler of Sharjah as a dear friend of Germany and noted that all German Muslims and non-Muslims coexist in harmony in their country.
Former Lord Mayor of Wolfsburg City, Professor Rolf Schnellecke, congratulated H.H. Sheikh Sultan on receiving the prestigious German honour. He noted that Sheikh Sultan had established the Islamic Cultural Centre in the German city.
H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah; H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council; Juma Mubarak Al Jenaibi, Ambassador of the UAE to Germany; Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health; sheikhs and senior officials attended the ceremony. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


RAK Ruler: Visionary, leadership is behind UAE development model

posted on 19/06/2015

The UAE set a global model for inclusive, sustainable development and remained an oasis of safety, security and political, economic and social stability, thanks to the visionary leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras al-Khaimah.
The UAE, Sheikh Saud noted, had maintained top rankings in international development indexes and earned the respect and appreciation of the international community for its leading role in political, humanitarian and economic fields.
'No doubt, the UAE's successful development experiment, presented to the world as a role model, was inspired and guided by a strong willed leadership which firmly believes in a bright present and a promising future,' H.H. the Ruler of Ras al-Khaimah said during an expansive meeting he hosted at Khuzam Palace yesterday with heads and chairmen of federal and local government departments on the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
He emphasised that the stability and renaissance the UAE is witnessing in all walks of life was the culmination of the far-sighted vision of the prudent leadership for building the present, shaping the future and cementing the foundations of the federal state on the solid principles set out by the founding fathers.
'President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed has mobilised and devoted all the State resources to serve his citizens and achieve prosperity and happiness for the UAE people, thus following the approach of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, preserving national gains and achievements and defining features of a promising future of the modern state which adheres to Arab identity and national values,' H.H. said, citing the President's Initiatives through which vital projects were implemented to fulfil the aspirations of the UAE citizens across the country for basic housing, health and services infrastructures and for improving living standards of citizens.
The Ruler of Ras al-Khaimah also commended the efforts made by the Federal Government, chaired by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make the UAE people one of the most happiest in the world and its continuous achievements to develop the government sector and its role in adopting a national strategy for human development and transition towards the smart government in its quest to deliver the UAE Vision 2021.
During the meeting, Sheikh Saud also valued the patriotic and historic stances of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, which, he indicated, were an embodiment of the vision of the leader of the development drive, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, and an extension of the wisdom of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan.
He added that Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed had made relentless efforts to empower the UAE citizens to contribute towards the on-going national development through his commitment to upgrading education and improving the learning outcomes and encouraging creative initiatives.
Thanks to H.H.'s ceaseless efforts, Sheikh Saud noted, the UAE has come to occupy a prominent standing at regional and international levels, and has also become a safe investment, tourist and economic destination, and maintained, through its wise and moderate policies, a spectacular presence at the Arab and international scenes. The UAE, he continued, has maintained principled positions in supporting Arab causes and extending bridges of communication with other countries, thus winning the respect of the world and praise of international organisations.
The Ruler of Ras al-Khaimah also lauded the efforts made by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, in implementing instructions of His Highness the President and His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi regarding the President's Initiatives for social welfare on par with the international best standards.
Sheikh Saud also spoke about the importance of improving the government performance, maintaining the spirit of teamwork, coordination and communication to advance efforts aimed at development of the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah. He urged them to simplify and streamline procedures by introducing best practices in the government work, away from centralism and bureaucracy.
He also called for fostering creative national professionals and talents and grooming the second and third rung leaders in the higher management to take up leadership role in future.
On their part, the chairmen of the federal and local departments said Sheikh Saud's instructions provided a road map which would guide them to achieve H.H.'s vision in improving government work and performance, consistent with the federal government strategy. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid: citizens happiness and welfare on top of our priority

posted on 08/06/2015

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has asserted that all UAE's strategies, plans and projects position citizen's welfare as a top priority.
Sheikh Mohammed affirmed that the government is utilising all possible capabilities and resources to satisfy needs of the community and achieve people's happiness.
Sheikh Mohammed stressed that providing quality and efficient services "is at the heart of the government's strategies and developmental projects for all service sectors, including education, health services and housing."
He stated that he closely follows up the customer satisfaction surveys on government's services, which constitute the first criteria in performance assessment. He directed that best international practices to be followed to further enhance services and achieve people's happiness and welfare.
Sheikh Mohammed's comments came during his visit to the premises of the Mohammed bin Rashid Housing Establishment (MRHE).
He 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 Director General of Dubai Protocol Department Khalifa Saeed Suleiman.
Chairman of the Board of MRHE Mohamed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, CEO of MRHE Sami Abdullah Gargash and MRHE Board's members and senior officials received Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid upon his arrival.
Starting his inspection tour, Sheikh Mohammed visited the reception area and customer service area where he was briefed on services offered to the establishment clients. He directed MRHE's officials to speed up work process and enhance work efficiency by utilising latest technologies.
Sheikh Mohammed chaired a meeting with MRHE's Board members and senior executives, where he was briefed on the establishment's services that include finished houses, maintenance grants, lands, housing loans services, constructed houses loans, maintenance loans and other services. The briefing also included summary for MRHE's projects and plans.
He was also briefed on the construction loans projects from 2007 to 2014. The total paid amounts for the construction loans registered Dh 2.9 billion while the maintenance and addition loans reached Dh 46.5 million. He also was briefed on MRHE's initiatives for maintenance of housing complexes over ten years of age and refurbishing houses damaged due to contingencies.
During the meeting, MRHE's officials illustrated research findings for the engineering projects from 2010 to 2014. During this period, the MRHE's concerned departments conducted 16 research studies aiming to establish the best eco-friendly houses designs and construction systems. The research findings included the green buildings systems, energy conservation and efficiency, construction systems and building materials systems.
They also discussed the details of MRHE's approved loans and grants from 2007 to 2014 totalling 14,855 approved applications covering various types of housing facilities and services. Further, the meeting discussed "Mathkhor", an initiative launched by the establishment to educate beneficiaries on saving before buying a house, and the ploughing back initiative that encourages beneficiaries to commence build their homes after obtaining required approvals from MRHE without additional costs until the issuance of the completion certificate.
Sheikh Mohammed was also briefed on MRHE's e-services and apps that help beneficiaries to follow up their application round the clock.
He reviewed maps and maquettes for the MRHE projects from 2007 to 2014. The 16 accomplished projects included 4,368 houses with total cost Dh 4.8 billion and undergoing projects with total value amounting Dh 3,615 million.
Sheikh Mohammed also acquainted himself with the MRHE's nursery, a privilege that enables MRHE's female employees to carry out their duties.
Concluding the visit, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum posed for group photos with MRHE's staff. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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

posted on 28/05/2015

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


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

posted on 27/05/2015

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


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

posted on 23/05/2015

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


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

posted on 19/05/2015

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


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

posted on 16/05/2015

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


Mohammed bin Rashid twitter account surpasses 4 million followers

posted on 15/05/2015

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


Mohamed bin Zayed praises Vice President's cultural achievements

posted on 12/05/2015

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


Mohamed bin Zayed orders establishment of anti-corruption unit

posted on 08/05/2015

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


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

posted on 30/04/2015

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


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

posted on 27/04/2015

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