ABU DHABI -- On the occasion of the 44th National Day of the United Arab Emirates, the National Media Council has issued the following report.
The United Arab Emirates commemorates its 44th National Day on 2nd December, a day which embodies the Spirit of the Union and celebrates 44 years of great achievements since the federation was established in 1971.
The day is a celebration of the high esteem in which we hold the founding President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul in peace, and his fellow founding fathers of the UAE Federation. The path they laid down is now followed by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who continues to lead the nation’s march to progress and prosperity.
The incredible achievements of the UAE in recent years have been made possible due to the directives of the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as well as His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and their fellow members of the Supreme Council the Rulers of the Emirates, who have consistently contributed to promoting and developing the country through knowledge and innovation. The UAE today ranks among the world’s leading nations across several key indicators and has become a true role model for all countries around the world.
The country enjoys a prestigious position in the Arab world and beyond due to its significant achievements in various fields and its strong presence in all political, diplomatic, economic and humanitarian arenas on regional and international levels. The UAE has always been dynamic and proactive in communicating with other countries and building bridges of close cooperation and strategic partnerships to lead the way in political, economic, commercial, industrial, technological, scientific, educational, health and other sectors.
Sustained growth and prosperity despite the current situation in the region, the UAE has maintained steady growth based on the solid foundations laid down by the founding fathers and followed meticulously by the rulers and the people of the country. Exceptional strides have been made in infrastructure, energy, space, information technology, telecommunications, sustainability and other vital areas, these having significantly contributed to modernizing the UAE and enabling the country to achieve top international rankings across major competitive reports. The UAE has maintained its ranking as the leading Arab country for the third year in a row in the World Bank report on the Ease of Doing Business in 2016.
The UAE ranked 31st globally in the report, and ranked among the top five countries in the world in three key sub-indices, where it ranked first in the paying taxes sub-index, second in the dealing with construction permits sub-index and fourth in the getting electricity sub-index.
The UAE leads the region, and ranks among the top 10 countries in the world, for the number of documented improvements by the World Bank during one year, in the delivery of electricity, construction permits, protecting investors and enforcing contracts.
The report also evaluates the efficiency of the country’s judiciary with regards to resolving commercial disputes between two or more parties fairly and impartially. The Ease of Doing Business report factors in the most important global indicators that reflect the extent of interest of the government of the UAE towards local and international investors. The data is carefully collated through the study of civil procedures and other laws and regulations from the courts and through questionnaires disseminated to local lawyers and specialists in trade legislation.
The UAE also enhanced protection of small investors by preventing any subsidiary from obtaining shares in the parent company. It also initiated a rule that, in the case of acquisition of 50% or more of the company, the acquired party should receive approval from shareholders, a step considered by the report to be an enabling one that safeguards the interests of investors.
The UAE was ranked as the top Arab country for well-being and life satisfaction and fifth globally, according to the Legatum Prosperity Index, 2014. The report revealed that the UAE is among the top countries for safety and security, with 92 percent of survey respondents indicating that they feel absolutely safe in the country. Additionally, the UAE has maintained its presence on the ‘green list’, a classification of some 30 of the more prosperous countries across the world. Notably, the UAE has been included on the list since the creation of the report.
The UAE will continue to diversify its long-term economic strategy to rely less on an oil-centric economy. In 2014, non-oil sectors saw strong growth that contributed to an 8.1% increase in the GDP. The non-oil sector now contributes up to 68.6% of the overall national economy. Today, all necessary plans are in place to ensure that this figure reaches 80% in 2021, by intensive investment in the industrial and tourism sectors, air and maritime transport, import and re-export.
Furthermore, the new national agenda of the UAE Vision 2021 reiterates support for activities based on the knowledge industry and for the development of new sectors such as innovation and content creation. These steps will ensure complete economic diversity by 2021 and will further augment the financial stability of the UAE.
Global competitiveness Thanks to the UAE’s tremendous efforts, the country has been ranked high on many global competitiveness indicators. According to a 2015 report by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, the country was ranked first among Arab countries in 10 out of a total of 15 global competitiveness reports, as well as first globally in the confidence indicator.
For the third consecutive year, the UAE was ranked first regionally in global competitiveness and 12th globally according to the 2015 annual World Competitiveness Yearbook. It was also ranked first regionally among the countries of the MENA region and 12th globally in World Economic Forum’s Global Enabling Trade Report 2014. In addition, the country was ranked first globally in three global competitiveness indicators in the tourism sector alone.
At the same time, the UAE was placed first among Arab countries and 23rd internationally in the Global Information Technology Report. The UAE also came first regionally and 54th globally in the Human Capital Report, and was ranked first among Arab countries and 20th globally in the World Happiness Report.
The UAE ranked first among Arab countries in the Country Brand Index (tourism sector), and first in the Arab world and 30th globally on the prosperity index.
Noticeable Efforts in Human Rights As part of its conviction that human capital is a pillar for development and growth, the UAE has given the human rights issue its due priority and has made great efforts in demonstrating commitment towards ensuring the well-being of its citizens and other residents.
The country has enshrined human rights in its constitution, laws and development projects. It has issued and implemented strict laws and regulations to fight human trafficking crimes, and has managed to reduce the number of these crimes substantially. The country has always stressed the importance of respecting, protecting and supporting human rights principles and basic freedoms.
The UAE endorses the principles of human rights through laws that are in harmony with its constitution and the right of individuals to live in a safe and stable environment free from any fear or oppression. The UAE places strong emphasis on advocating human rights principles in sustainable social development efforts by promoting a culture of respect for human rights, leading to best practices that can further elevate the country’s position regionally and globally.
The UAE issued a new law in July 2015 to criminalize all forms of discrimination based on religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin, as well as criminalizing actions that incite religious hatred. The purpose of the Anti-discriminatory Law is to provide a strong foundation of tolerance and openness for the social fabric of the UAE. It also aims to protect people, regardless of their origin or beliefs, from any acts or practices related to religious hatred or intolerance.
In 2015, the UAE won membership of the Human Rights Council for a second three-year term, from January 2016 until the end of 2018. This clearly demonstrates the country’s effective contribution to the council and reflects its positive track record in the important area of human rights.
The UAE was ranked 40th globally in the 2014 UN Human Development Index and 43rd globally for gender equality in 2013. In addition, the country also placed 20th globally in the 2015 World Happiness Report.
A pioneering role for Emirati women Emirati women have received unconditional support and encouragement from His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who has said, "Nothing pleases me more than seeing Emirati women assuming their role in society and achieving their rightful position. Nothing should hinder the march of women’s progress. Like men, women have the right to assume the highest positions according to their abilities and qualifications."
The UAE has greatly reinforced the role of women in the past few years, which in turn has advanced the position of the country’s women in the Arab world. Thanks to the support of the UAE leadership, Emirati women now play key roles in political, economic, service, social and environmental sectors.
On March 8th, 2015, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, launched the National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women in the UAE from 2015-2021. The strategy provides a general framework and reference for all local and federal government bodies, private entities, and civil society organisations to devise plans and initiatives that elevate and empower women and facilitate their potential to contribute productively.
On August 28th, 2015, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the General Women’s Union’s establishment, the UAE celebrated its first Emirati Women Day to recognize Emirati women and emphasize their pivotal roles and achievements. The UAE Constitution states that women enjoy equal rights with their male counterparts. It also includes articles that underpin social equality and the right of women to receive education and employment on the same basis as men.
The 2015 Federal National Council (FNC) elections saw a large turnout of candidates. Out of the 341 eligible candidates, 76, or 22%, were women.
Women’s participation in the electoral bodies (colleges) throughout the country reached 48%, confirming the leadership’s commitment to the process of enabling women to take on leading roles in all activities in the country. Since the first FNC elections in 2006, women’s participation has remained remarkable. Nine women now represent their country in the Council, while in November, 2015, one, Dr. Amal Al Qubeisi, was elected as the Council's Speaker, a first in the Arab world. The UAE Federal Government currently has four female ministers, while other women serve as ambassadors, judges, consuls-general and high-ranking police and army officers.
The UAE Government has established the UAE Gender Balance Council which aims to enhance the role of women as key partners in building the future of the nation. The Council works to provide equal opportunities in all sectors and ensure gender balance in all decision-making agendas to enhance the position of the UAE in global indices and indicators related to the gender gap. The Gender Balance Council is also mandated to provide support in enabling women to fulfill their roles and duties in the best possible manner.
The role of Emirati women in economic development is prominent, with more than 12,000 UAE women running around 18,000 enterprises with a capital of US$12.5 billion. This led to the formation of UAE Business Women Council, a comprehensive network of businesswomen, professionals and women from the academic world that is supported by the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The Council provides support to business women, offering advice and undertaking feasibility studies for women keen to start their own business.
UAE Youth The UAE leadership has prioritized its youth from the early days of the Federation and spares no effort in empowering them with access to scientific knowledge and advanced facilities. The UAE is committed to establishing advanced educational institutes and attracting the required academic talents and experts to work in the country. The leadership seeks to provide the nation’s youth with knowledge and skills to take active part in the process of sustainable development.
The UAE government works strategically to provide best-in-class education to Emirati youth, qualifying them for the job market. The government also encourages employment of Emiratis in the private sector due to its importance in social and economic development.
A number of initiatives have been launched to support the youth and their ambitions. The Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises Development launched the Mohammed Bin Rashid Awards for Young Business Leaders to reward and acknowledge distinguished young entrepreneurs. In addition to honoring individuals for their contributions toward the local community, the award also recognizes organizations that contribute to the development of business leaders and entrepreneurs in the UAE.
Takatuf, a national volunteering programme, is another initiative that targets the UAE youth. The initiative is supported by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and offers youth the opportunity to volunteer in a number of social and humanitarian programmes.
The Kafa'at Youth Leadership Programme is an initiative that aims to discover and harness leadership potential and help the youth identify their chosen career path. The initiative has evolved as a successful youth model for joint programmes with key partners and stakeholders to offer long-term effective solutions. It is today well known for career development projects that help inspire young Emiratis and enable them to select their preferred educational disciplines based on their future career choices.
All of these programmes and allied initiatives have contributed to the consolidation and unity of the UAE people based on the leadership’s vision. They have contributed to the people of the UAE standing by their country at all times and in every circumstance. This solidarity was clearly evident in the brave stance and sacrifices of the UAE’s soldiers and the patriotic approach of the martyrs’ families. The people of the UAE have clarified that they will go all the way in safeguarding their country and nation.
Humanitarian initiative The UAE strives to support the needs of people in areas affected by conflicts and catastrophes. The UAE ranks first among donor countries in relation to donation size as a percentage of the national GDP. The UAE is keen to ensure security, stability and development in the region. The country realizes its responsibility in the Arab world and has continually made great efforts in providing support to Arab countries and the wider region.
The UAE has become a proactive member of the international community with regard to tackling humanitarian challenges and has established a creditable track record for emergency efforts and long term development support across the world.
The UAE was among the first countries to organize support and relief efforts to help Yemen guarantee its stability and ensure its unity. The UAE stands by the Yemeni people and provides all possible support to enable them to achieve their ambitions for stability, progress and development. As part of this priority, the UAE follows a comprehensive vision that works on a number of tracks including economic, social, humanitarian and political development.
Similarly, the UAE has played a prominent role in supporting Egypt following a period of instability in that country from late 2010 until June 2013. The UAE extended its hand to support the Egyptian government and people with a package of development projects that addressed the needs of Egyptians, based on its firm belief that a stable and calm Egypt is the cornerstone for security and peace in the region, and the world at large.
The Coordination Office of the UAE-funded Development Projects in Egypt was established to supervise a number of projects in different sectors, including energy, housing, food security, education, healthcare and roads and transportation.
Fundamentals of Foreign Policy Besides its long legacy of humanitarian efforts worldwide, the UAE has stepped in to fight alongside its Arab brothers in the Arab Coalition in Yemen. In addition, the country has stood by the Syrian people in every way possible, and supported their fair demands for the right to build a state based on justice and security.
These examples of the regional foreign policy framework of the UAE are a clear testament to its commitment towards its neighbors and the international community with regard to regional peace, stability and security.
The UAE has always attempted to strengthen cooperation with the Arab countries despite the challenges and threats to its national security. The country is committed to defending Arab interests and firmly supports efforts to enhance the progress of GCC-wide integration.
The UAE’s decision to join the efforts of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen was made in response to a call by the legitimate government of Yemen to defend the Yemeni people’s right to self-determination. The decision is in compliance with international law and the Treaty of Joint Defense and Economic Cooperation between the States of the Arab League.
The coalition’s victories to a large extent put a halt to the advance of the Iran-allied Houthi militia, and their interference in the internal and domestic affairs of Yemen.
Commemoration Day President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan decreed that 30th November would be observed as an annual public holiday in the UAE. Commemoration Day recognizes the sacrifices and dedication of Emirati martyrs who have sacrificed their lives in the UAE and abroad during civil, military and humanitarian service.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, ordered the establishment of an office at the Crown Prince’s Court for the affairs of martyrs’ families.
The office is mandated to follow up on the needs of the families of martyrs and coordinate with official bodies in the UAE to provide the families with all necessary support.
The move reflects the cohesion between the UAE people and its leadership, as well as the acknowledgement of martyrs as symbols of loyalty and national duty. The move also appreciates the efforts of martyrs in empowering Emirati citizens and future generations to continue their generosity of spirit, by consolidating values of solidarity and cohesion that are long-entrenched attributes of Emirati society.
Flagship Infrastructure Projects the initiative to launch flagship infrastructure projects in the UAE stems from the belief that the key driver for shaping a strong and well-developed economy lies in the establishment of a modern infrastructure. This is primarily due to the pivotal role that infrastructure plays in the progress and growth of countries, and in stimulating economic activity.
The UAE is a regional and world leader in launching infrastructure projects. These projects, particularly in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, tackle different vital sectors such as transport, energy, roads and transportation, motivated by the success of Dubai in being chosen to host World Expo 2020, and in articulating the ambitious economic plan outlined by Abu Dhabi for 2030.
The following are the main projects that were announced during the first half of 2015: Expansion project of Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai will begin the double-decking of Sheikh Zayed Road, building a 35-kilometre elevated section of highway running from Dubai Creek to Jebel Ali Port. This ambitious project, with an estimated cost of AED10 billion, will facilitate increased traffic on Dubai’s main arterial road. The RTA has already received bids and implementation offers towards the execution of this project.
The expansion of M-Station: With a total capacity of 2,060 MW of electricity and 140 million imperial gallons of water per day, the M-Station adopts the highest levels of availability, reliability, and efficiency, using the most advanced technologies in the world. The expansion project includes new power generation units with a capacity of 600 MW to be added to the current capacity of the station to eventually produce 2,660 MW by 2018. The expansion project also includes the addition of two gas turbines, a steam turbine, and a heat-recovery unit, which will increase the plant’s thermal efficiency to 90%, considered among the highest thermal efficiency rates in the world.
The new 62-kilometre Abu Dhabi- Dubai Highway: Launched in 2013, the Abu Dhabi- Dubai Highway project was awarded to three companies. The project aims to alleviate traffic congestion on the current main road connecting Abu Dhabi to Dubai, and is expected to be completed by 2017.
Expansion of Dubai Metro: The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) launched plans to develop and design the expansion of the Dubai Metro to include 70 stations by 2020, at a total cost of AED5 billion. The expansion of the Green Line will include 11 new stations stretching over 20 kilometers across Dubai. The Red Line expansion plans include the addition 3.5 kilometers between the Rashidiya Station to Mirdif City Centre Station as well as an 8 - 10 kilometer expansion from the Jebel Ali Station to the Dubai Expo 2020 venue.
Hisyan Dubai project: The Hisyan Dubai power plant project using coal technologies is the first of its kind in the region. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority awarded the contract for the first phase of the project to a global consulting firm in February 2015. The first phase of the project will have a production capacity of 1200 MW and is expected to be operational by 2020.
Dubai Canal project: The Emirate of Dubai launched the third phase of the Dubai Canal project, which was started in 2013, and has been adopted by the RTA. A contract worth AED802 million for the third phase of the project was awarded to Belhasa Six Construct Co. The project comprises the construction of a water canal linking Dubai Creek with the Arabian Gulf. The canal will extend from Sheikh Zayed Road and pass across Al Safa Park and Jumeirah 2 to end at Jumeirah Beach Park. The completion of this stage has been set for September 2016, to coincide with the completion of the first two phases, (the first phase began in September 2013 while the second phase was rolled out in May 2014). The total cost of the three phases of the water canal project amounts to AED1.7 billion.
Vital steps in space programmes and projects: There is no doubt that investment in space programmes and projects will enhance the status of the UAE and increase the nation’s stature in the regional and international landscape. It represents a fundamental shift in the process of scientific research in the UAE. The projects implemented by the country in this vital area will significantly contribute to the economy, creating new jobs for nationals of high potential. The UAE’s advances in space programmes have proved the country’s global presence, particularly with the plan to send an unmanned space probe to Mars, a huge step for the UAE.
Emirates Mars Mission Probe: The Mars probe project will allow the UAE to join highly developed countries that are racing to explore the Red Planet by 2021. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, stated that the project's objective is to promote knowledge and raise the UAE’s national capacity in the aviation sector, scientific discovery and space with a focus on building and developing the scientific capacity of the country.
DubaiSat 1: The launch of the satellite DubaiSat 1 was a focal point for the UAE as it is the first satellite that has remote sensing and is owned entirely by a local entity. The satellite was launched three years ago with cooperation between the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and Satrec Initiative, a satellite manufacturing company in South Korea. The satellite aims to launch the scientific knowledge transfer programme.
DubaiSat-1 was launched on July 29, 2009 into a 680 km altitude sun-synchronous polar orbit from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan, along with several other satellites on board the Dnepr launch vehicle.
DubaiSat-1 images have been used to monitor progress on the Dubai World Megaproject, Palm Islands, and Al Maktoum International Airport. The United Nations also used DubaiSat-1 images to monitor relief efforts following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
DubaiSat 2: Work on DubaiSat 2 began immediately after the launch of DubaiSat 1. It is a source of pride for the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) that the centre managed to design, build and launch a second satellite just four years after the first launch. Dubai also offers DubaiSat 2 visual images for electronic, scientific and commercial purposes to local and international customers.
The satellite has the ability to store images of an area up to 17,000 square kilometers used in the study of environmental changes, water, ice, life and human communities and remote sensing data. It also provides images of the projects and natural areas that can be used for publication in the media and online websites.
Khalifasat: Khalifasat, the third advanced satellite launched by the UAE into space, will provide high quality images that fulfill the needs of government organizations and private enterprises. While the initial manufacturing process began in South Korea, the satellite will be completely developed by Emirati workforce. Final preparations for completing manufacturing facilities are currently underway; 100% dust-free laboratories are now ready to host additional manufacturing processes. Designed following the highest international standards of engineering precision and color reproduction, Khalifasat will compete with the most advanced satellites in the world by providing high quality images with 0.7 meter clarity and 4 meter clarity for multispectral images.
Fruitful efforts in renewable energy: The UAE is determined to continue its path toward progress in all fields, especially energy, in order to maintain its leading position today and tomorrow, securing a bright future for generations to come and maintaining its role as an essential player in the global energy economy.
In addition to its leadership in global oil and gas markets, the UAE has established strong foundations in the field of clean energy, and the central role that this plays in its strategy of diversifying and securing energy sources.
The UAE has been a regional leader in clean energy projects, including plans to build four nuclear reactors for peaceful energy, building and operating the Shams 1 CSP solar plant, and several strategic projects in Oman and Jordan.
On a global level, the UAE is also a major investor in renewable energy. Through Masdar, the multi-faceted renewable energy initiative in Abu Dhabi, investments have been made in developing the Gemasolar CSP plant in Spain, the London Array, the largest offshore wind farm in the world with a capacity of 630MW, the Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant in Mauritania, with 15MW capacity, Port Victoria Wind Farm in Seychelles with 6MW capacity, and many other projects around the world. These efforts, among others, helped in the choosing of Abu Dhabi's Masdar City as the home for the permanent headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA.
Leaps in technology: The wise leadership of the UAE is committed to keeping up-to-date with new international systems and innovations, using these new technologies to fulfill the aspirations of the nation's sons and daughters. Priority is given to the need to encourage young UAE nationals to innovate and create in technological fields. Promoting such a culture of innovation will help to ensure that they lead the future development of our economy and society in the pursuit of sustainable development.
From 33 submissions, three engineering projects were chosen by a committee of top national industrial and engineering organizations and university professors to receive the Best Technology Project Award during 2015.
The first project is a multi-floor electronically operated parking building. A sensor system is used to eliminate traffic jams and accidents in parking spaces. The basic concept of the project is implementing an automated electronic system to control multi-floor parking buildings. As soon as a car enters the ground floor of the parking building, the sensor-based electronic system automatically parks it.
The second project, a temperature control device, is a safer ATM system. Its strengths are its simplicity, cheap components and usability in hot weather and with accurate temperature control. Based on a simplified design of a temperature sensor, the device measures room temperature and translates it into mill volts of electric current. The current is subsequently amplified, followed by a comparison of the temperature generated by the sensor with the desired room temperature. This is measured, in turn, through an alternating resistance.
The third project is a temperature control device related to information technology, an ATM simulation system presented by a group of distinguished UAE students.
Aiming at encouraging scientific innovation and technological progress in the UAE, the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) was established as a strategic government initiative. The main vision of the institution is to use effective means in advanced technology and precise space information for a range of applications that contributes to sustainable progress and supports the rapid growth of industrial and economic sectors in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.
Innovation: Following the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Cabinet endorsed the declaration of 2015 as the "Year of Innovation."
The Cabinet issued directives to all federal authorities to strengthen efforts and collaboration, and launched a comprehensive review of general government policies in order to create a stimulating environment for innovation that will transform the UAE into a leading global hub in the field.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, subsequently announced UAE Innovation Week, to be held from November 22nd-28th, 2015, and invited all government, private and academic institutions to participate in the multiple events of the week.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa also approved the Emirates Science, Technology and Innovation Higher Policy, which includes 100 national initiatives in education, healthcare, energy, transport, space and water sectors with total investments of over AED300 billion. The plan also includes a series of new legislative, investment, technological, educational and financial policies that aim to transform the national economy and reduce its dependence on oil, while ensuring the progress of science and knowledge in the UAE during the coming years.
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