Mohammed opens Government Summit, calls UAE minds to draw lessons from wealth of international expertise and experience

Mohammed opens Government Summit, calls UAE minds to draw lessons from wealth of international expertise and experience

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, opened yesterday the Government Summit under the theme ''Leading Governments Services'' with a passionate call to young UAE minds take lessons to draw lessons from the informative summit so as to enrich their knowledge international best practices and build their capacities in public administration, management and leadership.

Led by the vision of Sheikh Mohammed for the future of Government in the UAE, the Government Summit, organised by the Ministry Of Cabinet Affairs, aims to be a platform for innovation, knowledge sharing, and the strengthening of national efforts towards achieving the goals of UAE Vision 2021.

The Government Summit, billed as the largest government gathering in the region and the Arab world, serves as a new platform to develop government work and services and enable the government sector to achieve excellence, which is crucial to achieve Vision 2021.

In an insightful keynote address, Sheikh Mohammed said the two-day summit is gathering a galaxy of prominent local, Arab and international experts and leaders from more than 30 countries in addition to more than 2,500 participants from the UAE and sisterly countries with 150 experts presenting their expertise and experiment through 30 panels of discussions.

Sheikh Mohammed invited the UAE youth to draw lessons from presentations, workshops and roundtable discussions of the informative summit so as to enrich their knowledge and know-how in latest trends and international best practices in public administration and management, as well as leadership and other areas of interest.

In attendance were 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,  Mohammed Ahmed Al Mur, Speaker of Federal National Council (FNC), H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, 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, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and a crowd of Sheikhs, ministers, senior officials, and VIP guests from Arab and foreign countries.

Sheikh Mohammed said those participating in the summit would also benefit from the expertise of ''our State'' in the delivery of distinguished government services.

Sheikh Mohammed said the current interaction and integration between the UAE federal and local governments was "not enough," saying '' We want further cooperation and integration to leverage our State and our institutions to the international standards which we aspire to prevail in all fields and sectors, especially the government sectors so that we can provide best services to customers.'' The aim of the summit, he noted, is to achieve welfare for UAE society by upgrading the education system, through providing justice for all, through offering job opportunities for young people and through the development of infrastructure projects.

He said ''We are an authority for people, not over people ..... a director in any department has been appointed to assist customers and to facilitate their transactions without delay under any circumstances.'' ''We are taking the course of our founding fathers and the path of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who places the citizen at the top of his priorities....... we built a state and others toppled states... we are confident that we will deliver our Vision for 2021 through the mobilisation of all efforts, in particular those of youth, in all government agencies.'' Sheikh Mohammed then engaged in an interactive session to answer questions raised by delegates and through social platforms.

Replying to a question about his insistence to be the best or No. 1, the Vice President, said '' Everyone is after number one because it is the best among all numbers. We have learned our persistence to reach No. 1 from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and today we are learning from President Khalifa as Abu Dhabi is striving to reach the top in terms of leadership in culture and renewable energy and it's able to deliver that ..... The word ''impossible'' has no place in our lexicon ... this word is only used by the weak and lazy who fear challenges because if a person questions his abilities and confidence, he would lose the compass directions to success and excellence.

The Vice President urged young people to do whatever they can to achieve the number one position. ''' I and my people like Number One," he said.' Speaking about his vision for the government of the future in the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed said '' I want a government that toils around the clock to make the citizen feel happy ... a government that is very close to the people and acts like an airline, which welcomes all customers with whom it deals, and like a hotel, which welcomes its guest ....... I want the citizen to be able to process all his government transactions on a one-mobile stop shop.'' While answering a question from a child about Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, Sheikh Mohammed recalled that the designs had envisaged a tower not high than 80 floors. "But I pondered deeply and decided to have the tallest and most wonderful structure in the world, a premier attractive tourist destination. The Dubai Downtown, adjacent to Burj Khalifa, is today attracting thousands of tourists from across the world. The high-rise building was named after President Sheikh Khalifa because such a famous, majestic landmark should be associated with great men.

Sheikh Mohammed rejected the idea of serious risks when planning and implementing new mega developments, whether in Dubai or the UAE at large.

''Risk is there in any work a man or state could do and life is fraught with risks and challenges ...... a hard-won success has a special, delicious taste ..... success and excellence are born out of challenges especially when that success is meant for the homeland and its fruit is picked up by the citizen.'' Addressing a question about leadership, Sheikh Mohammed indicated that it is hereditary in some cases but should be developed and sharpened by expertise, practice and learning. Leadership is an art of shrewdness and smartness and not every leader is successful and enjoys the qualities and traits of a leadership of genius, he said..

"A true leader is the one who makes his people happy and strives to serve interests of his nation, preserve national pride and achieve higher national interests.''

Sheikh Mohammed went on to answer a question from an Arab participant about positive energy, saying '' It means to be optimistic about the new day every morning .... he who wakes up smiling will stay throughout his day full of positive energy, strong and ready to overcome challenges with high spirit and resolve.'' About his expectations for government employees, he delivered a message specifically addressed to them, saying " You are the energy and the driving force for any government act and for the spectacular achievement of the State." Asked about the hardships he had faced during the building of the nation, Sheikh Mohammed said that it was his iron will and determination and the groups with whom he worked that had helped him to overcome challenges and difficulties.

Talking about the motivation of employees, he noted that the employee should be given the necessary powers to take the right decisions that serve his ministry or department. An employee who is handcuffed by routine and centralisation will achieve nothing, he said, while a high-performing employee should be honoured in front of his fellow employees to promote the culture of positive competition.

Sheikh Mohammed also instructed the providers of government services to deliver their services to the elderly people and physically challenged persons at their place of residence across the emirates.

Answering a question asked by an Egyptian citizen on how to administer justice among people and how he, and the UAE leadership, won love of the people, Sheikh Mohammed said the question was a valued testimony, of which he is very proud. He wished Egypt peace and stability "because Egypt is the beating heart of the Arab nation." He also praised the role played by the Egyptian community in the progress of the UAE.

On his leadership personality, success, vision and love of the people, Sheikh Mohammed said he cherished the love of the people to him.

"I earned this following 40 years I spent since childhood accompanying the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. I learned from them the traditions, values and vision." Sheikh Mohammed said it was important to plan one's daily activity to maintain a balance between duties and personal life.

He described the achievements made by the UAE, as great, "but there are more achievements waiting to be made because the cycle of life is going on. Innovation and creativity have no finishing line. We cannot just stop and sit idle without achievements for the next generations." On the secret of positive energy he enjoys, Sheikh Mohammed said: "Everyday, I walk 3 kilometres, sometimes, 10 kilometres and some other times 20 kilometres. Sport is an integral part in my daily life. I exercise all types of sports, including horse riding and other sports that develop both body and mind." Sheikh Mohammed said the government's achievements reached world-class standards, referring to an ongoing improvement in government service delivery.

He also said that any change in his government is usually linked to the minister's performance and his/her rate of success in serving people.

On winning World Endurance Championship in 2012, Sheikh Mohammed said he was proud of this coveted title which he clinched amid fierce competition by world-renowned riders.

"It is determination, perseverance and love of the country," he added.

On the role of UAE women in the community and the government, Sheikh Mohammed indicated that 90 percent of government employees are women, while 30 percent of leading positions are occupied by women.

Asked about UAE's formula for success, he said: "the secret lies in the love for the country and its soil and in the fact that we all work as a one team." "My brother His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, my brothers Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates and I .. and before us, the founding fathers, have a collective stake in the achievements for our country and for our people. The founding fathers laid the foundation and we followed their footsteps. Each citizen also took part in building the country and its institutions and participated in the progress of the UAE.

Sheikh Mohammed said the development projects in the UAE are excellent and diverse and serve national economy and the interests of the people.

"We plan the projects ahead, we establish their feasibility and we study the local and regional markets to guarantee their success. Another reason for success is the teamwork." Asked about the future of the country in the light of 'Arab spring', Sheikh Mohammed said: "(this) occasion is not political and has nothing to do with politics. Yet, we have to answer the question. I recall predicting once changes in the countries that do not attend to their peoples' economic, political and social needs. I recall urging leaders in these countries to introduce necessary reforms and warning them to either 'change or get changed'." Sheikh Mohammed said during 2012, the UAE received foreign investments from Arab spring and other countries worth Dh 30 billion.

On his vision for future development in the Arab countries, Sheikh Mohammed identified a number of success factors, including empowerment, education and nationalisation of human resources. He urged the private sector in the UAE to positively contribute to the Emiratisation process.

Sheikh Mohammed said he was very pleased with the UAE national football team, winners of the 21st Gulf Cup championship.

Asked by a child on how to become an accomplished horseman, Sheikh Mohammed said: "the horseman should love his country and his people. He should respect them, listen to them, study hard and succeed in reaching personal goals. He should then develop his hobbies and learn horse riding until he becomes an accomplished horseman." Sheikh Mohammed also promised a small girl to fulfil her by visiting her school in any emirate. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Brown lauds UAE Vision 2021

The key development challenge for the Gulf region is to identify a more effective way to deliver public-friendly government services, Gordon Brown, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, said.

Addressing the opening session of the first The Government Summit in Dubai on Monday, Brown praised the successful strategy of the UAE outlined in its Vision 2021 to become one of the best nations in the world.

He said government services should be delivered in a way the public wants, by personalising them and assuring individual satisfaction.

Brown said the long-term economic success of the region hinges on evaluating the performance of the region’s educational system against other competitive economies, and acting upon the needs of the younger generation.

He said he key priorities in development must be centred not only on investing in education but also measuring its output and performance.

There also should be a focus on innovation and technological expertise while ensuring that the opportunities are widely spread, the former British premier said in his address to an audience of over 2,500 regional and international delegates.

Stressing the need to further strengthen the educational sector, Brown pointed out that it was important to tap the potential of every child and this could be achieved only by providing the best basic general education to all.

Reem Al Hashemi, UAE Minister of State, said the UAE’s Vision 2021 serves as a roadmap in defining the priorities of the government to promote development with a focus on overall societal welfare.

“At the heart of all our development endeavours are our people. We regularly review our performance to ensure that we consistently make progress.”

Compared to less than five per cent women representing the UAE workforce in 1975, today, it is over 40 per cent, while the governmental sector workforce has a women representation of over 65 per cent, said Al Hashemi.

“This is the result of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who has focused on the importance of women to be part of the decision-making process,” she said.

Yves Leterme, Deputy Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development, or OECD, said that debates on development must shift from mere measurement of GDP to a number of other parameters including healthcare, education, gender equality and governance, among others.

“Sustainable development is also about social cohesion, investing in research and development, and creating a model of growth that contributes to the happiness of the people.”

Stressing the key role the government has to play in driving economic competitiveness, she said that a multi-stakeholder approach is imperative in the education sector, linking business to universities so that the educational sector reflects the needs of the economy, and reiterated the need to strengthen a culture of entrepreneurship, which will drive demand for innovation.

Abdullah Lootah, Secretary General of Emirates Competitiveness Council, moderated the session. He highlighted the role of summit to work towards constant improvement in providing government services. The session explored the definition of development and the role of government in achieving its development objectives.

The opening day featured several dialogue sessions, country best practice workshops, and a plenary session where Dubai and Abu Dhabi shared their experiences in government services. – Khaleej Times


UAE ranked 20th globally among world's most generous donors

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ranked 20th among the world's most generous donors, when the country's development assistance is measured according to its Gross National Income (GNI) and 2nd among countries that are not members of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 2011, according to the data published by the committee in January 2013. By this measure, the UAE is ranked above some of the world's most prominent donor countries, including the United States, Italy and Japan. Sweden tops the list as the world's most generous donor, followed by Norway, Luxemburg, and Denmark respectively.

The UAE is considered the only Arab country documenting its foreign aid records to the DAC/OECD since 2009, according to the standards applied by the committee. This documentation allows the DAC to rank the UAE between the DAC and non-DAC donors who document their Official Development Assistance (ODA).

H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of UAE Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA), said: "This achievement is testimony to the generous policies of the country's President, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as well as to the compassionate spirit of the people of the UAE, and the UAE donor organisations who provide development assistance ranging from educational and health projects, to infrastructure and bridges to developing countries to assist them in having better quality life." The UAE stepped 6 ranks up from being on rank 26 in 2010 to rank 20 in 2011, as well as providing 0.22% in development aid when measured to its GNI. The UAE has achieved a net ODA disbursement of Dh2.70 billion (USD737 million) documented by the DAC and provided to the DAC eligible countries. According to OCFA, the total amount of the development aid amounted to Dh6.68 million of the total UAE foreign aid given in 2011 which is Dh7.74 million.

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in 1970 urging donor countries to contribute at least 0.7 percent of their GNI to developing countries. This measurement is now internationally accepted as the means for comparing levels of ODA provided by different countries.

Since its establishment, OCFA has been documenting the UAE's development aid with the DAC/OECD using the DAC's Creditor Reporting System (CRS), after gathering and analysing the data from UAE donor organisations, and processing the data through quality control by an external agency. Documenting the data allows the DAC to rank the UAE among donor countries and enhance competitiveness. The DAC list has 23 donor countries including USA, Canada, most of the countries in Western Europe, Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and the European Commission.  - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Former US President Bill Clinton to deliver keynote address at WTTC Global Summit

Former U.S President Bill Clinton will deliver the keynote address at the World Travel '&' Tourism Council Global Summit in Abu Dhabi in April.

The 42nd President of the United States headlines an impressive line up of speakers for the two day event including the British journalist and media personality Sir David Frost, American actress and activist Daryl Hannah and the environmentalist Sir Jonathon Porritt.

David Scowsill, President '&' CEO WTTC, said: "The 2013 WTTC Global Summit will explore the implications of our dramatically changing world economy and growing population on the Travel '&' Tourism industry. Four months after the world celebrated its one billionth international traveller, it will examine what we need to do collectively to prepare for the next billion." James Hogan, President '&' Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, said:" The WTTC Summit provides an extraordinary opportunity to showcase the remarkable emergence of Abu Dhabi as a global economic centre and a tourism and aviation hub. In facing today's global challenges, the emirate is a living example of what is possible when vision is backed by investment, commitment and decisive action." The World Travel '&' Tourism Council (WTTC) is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel '&' Tourism. It promotes sustainable growth for the industry, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity. In 2011 Travel '&' Tourism accounted for 255 million jobs globally. At US$6.3 trillion (9.1% of GDP) the sector is a key driver for investment and economic growth. For more than 20 years, the World Travel '&' Tourism Council has been the voice of this industry globally.

Members of WTTC are the Chairs, Presidents and Chief Executives of the world's leading, private sector Travel '&' Tourism businesses. These Members bring specialist knowledge to guide government policy and decision-making, raising awareness of the importance of the industry as an economic generator of prosperity. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


US Ambassador: UAE is US's largest Arab, Mid East trading partner

U.S. Ambassador to the UAE Michael H. Corbin, said the UAE is the United States' largest trading partner among Arab and Middle East countries. "In fact, the USA's exports to UAE reached US$22.5 billion in 2012, a 40 percent increase from 2011. Trade between the USA and UAE is even larger than our export relationship with India."

In remarks during a visit to the Abu Dhabi Customs Institute where he met with Hamad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Finance (DoF), the US ambassador noted that the UAE is becoming a focused hub for trade, tourism and other important economical activities, bearing in mind that major international airlines that have taken the UAE as a base for their businesses, in addition to it having one of the largest ports, the Khalifa Port. "Thus, there is a need to have this continuous cooperation with the UAE, the leader in the development of trade infrastructure, in order to enhance the exchange of knowledge and information."

"This visit is an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of cooperation between the two countries since the UAE has become home to many important projects such as the Khalifa port, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport and the new Etihad Railway network', he further said.

The visit is in line with efforts to enhance cooperation between the UAE and the USA. The General Manager of Abu Dhabi Customs, Saeed Ahmed Al Muhairi, and the Manager of Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Dr. Tayeb Kamali, were present at the meeting.

The visit included a tour around the Institute where the US Ambassador and his delegation was briefed on the activities of the Institute, in addition to having a chance to meet students and instructors. Corbin also looked over academic curriculums and the latest technologies used to train students.

DoF Chairman and the US Ambassador then sat through a presentation on the relationship and cooperation between the two parties in terms of shared experiences, courses and workshops that have been conducted in both the UAE and USA by foreign experts. In addition, a documentary was presented on the evolution of Abu Dhabi Customs since its inception and its advanced technologies.

Saeed Ahmed Al Muhairi, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Customs, said that the visit is a reinforcement of the good relations between the General Administration of Customs and the US. It comes in line with the strong bilateral relationship and the mutual benefits that join the two entities in customs work and security.

Al Muhairi emphasised Hamad Al Suwaidi's commitment in supporting Abu Dhabi Customs to be at the level where it is today and by presenting it as a role model in all aspects Ambassador Corbin also commented on the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Abu Dhabi Customs and the USA Immigration and Customs Enforcement in May 2010: "The MoU signed between the two parties and supported by DoF's Chairman Hamad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi, is an important agreement and is a testament the partnership and cooperation between our countries. I am also pleased to hear that Georgia Institute of Technology will provide training to Abu Dhabi Customs in the near future." In May 2010, the General Administration of Customs in Abu Dhabi signed two memorandums of understanding with the Customs Authority and the American Immigration in Washington. The latter enabled the exchange of information in order to support investigations and provide the customs authority as well as the American Immigration technical support to establish the Abu Dhabi Customs Institute.

He pointed out that this visit reinforced the vision of the future this Institute holds and its outstanding leadership.

By the end of the visit, Hamad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi expressed his appreciation and honour in receiving the USA Ambassador accompanied by his delegation at the Institute.

Ambassador Corbin also wished for a stronger relationship and benefit for the two countries. In addition, He took time to praise the management team of the General Administration of Customs and the General Directorate of Customs, Saeed Ahmed Al Muhairi on the evolution that the Abu Dhabi Customs has witnessed this period. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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