This year, the United Arab Emirates celebrates its 47th National Day, forging ahead with wisdom and perseverance, following in the footsteps of its founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, under the leadership of the President, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brothers their highnesses the members of the Federal Supreme Council, Rulers of all the emirates, and through the hands of its loyal daughters and sons who stand at the heart of the country’s growth and development, attaining developmental, cultural, economic, political and social achievements.
The UAE’s 47th National Day coincides with the centenary of the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, as HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed dubbed 2018 the “Year of Zayed”. The late Sheikh Zayed was renowned for his wisdom and vision, his role and his policies in building the country, achieving development, strengthening its economy and national security, and leading it on the path towards a prosperous future.
The values of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God have mercy on him, laid the foundations of modern cultural and developmental renaissance in the country. Inspired by these values, the wise leaders of the country took to building a bright future for the UAE, strengthening its stance among the countries of the region and the world, turning it into an oasis of peace and political stability, economic and social development, and tolerance.
The UAE has championed the values of tolerance and multiculturalism, rejecting discrimination and hatred by adopting nationwide programs in partnership with various local, regional and international bodies. Today, the UAE forges ahead, a model of tolerance and acceptance, with more than 200 nationalities living in harmony, chasing it as their second home. The law guarantees residents, similarly to nationals,enjoy the right to use the state›s healthcare, educational, cultural and entertainment facilities without any discrimination.
The UAE has appointed a Minister of Tolerance, to promote the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, and support moderate religious discourse. The country adheres to several international conventions on tolerance, coexistence and rejection of violence and extremism, including but not limited to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1974, and the UAE has adopted many legislation, measures, initiatives and measures that contribute to the promotion of a culture of tolerance at the national level, including the «Combating Discrimination and Hate» Law, which includes articles criminalizing discrimination between individuals or groups on the basis of religion, sect, race, color, origin, or the exploitation of religion in atonement, or financially supporting terrorism.
The UAE is also active in the fight against extremism and terrorism. The fight against terrorism and extremism is a key element in the UAE›s efforts to ensure its national security and enhance international security. The country has accomplished key achievements in this regard, both through military participation in Islamic and international alliances or through the enactment of local laws that combat terrorism and its causes, such as the Anti-Discrimination and Hatred Act and the Federal Law establishing Hedayah, the International Guidance Center for Excellence in the Fight Against Violent Extremism, in addition to a decreed lawthat criminalizes acts of contempt against religions and their sanctities, combating all forms of discrimination, renouncing hate speech, and criminalizing discrimination between individuals or groups on the basis of religion, creed, sect, sect, race, colour or origin.
UAE is the world’s first foreign aid donor
The vision of Sheikh Zayed, may God rest his soul in peace, was founded on the need to build an integrated economy in successive consecutive times. It was brought to life as the country succeeded in building and developing a buzzing and prosperous business environment that is currently attractive for foreign direct investment. The UAE ranked first among Arab countries in 2017 for its ability to attract foreign direct investment, which established its position as a strategic trade hub that provides foreign investors access to regional markets, as well as the freedom to transfer funds and profits, in addition an effective judiciary system and legislation, neutral courts, laws and legislation that protects foreign capital, and low customs tariffs that range between 0 and 5 percent on all goods.
Sheikh Zayed’s vision was an inspiration for the foreign policy of the UAE, which committed itself to building bridges of friendship, work and cooperation with other nations. Today, the UAE continues to support the United NationsSustainable Development Goals, which represent a road map or a specific path for building a better and more sustainable tomorrow for the world and future generations. The country continues to devote itself to addressing major global challenges, especially those related to poverty eradication, environmental protection, climate change, the establishment of justice and peace, supporting and promoting global progress.
Accordingly, the UAE has achieved qualitative growth across all areas. This reflected directly and clearly though several indicators, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, which covers numerous key areas such as quality of life, infrastructure, technology, and the adoption of business-friendly government policies. This comes to confirm that the countryperseveres in its endeavors in accordance with the long-term approach of Sheikh Zayed to achieve stability and prosperity in the country, in the region and in the world at large.
For the fifth consecutive year, the UAE ranked first as the largest international donor of Official Development Aid (ODA) relative to gross national income (GNI). The country spent 1.31% of its GNI on foreign developmental aid in 2017, which is nearly twice the global target of 0.7% set by the United Nations as a global standard to measure the efforts of donor countries.
Donations made in 2017 amounted to a total ODA contribution of Dh19.32 billion (US $ 5.26 billion), a year-on-year growth rate of 18.1% from 2016. Over 54 percent of the ODA was in the form of non-refundable grants to 147 countries (including 40 of the least developed countries) across the world,
The UAE continues to hold a leading position on the list of Official Development Aid (ODA) donors as a share of the Gross National Income (GNI), one of its many achievement on the international level and across various fields. These achievements are aligned with the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed, as the UAE perseveres in its mission to serve humanity and support friendly countries while achieving economic prosperity and countering the effects of crises and disasters.
The country aims to make impactful positive and tangible contributions to achieve the ultimate goalsfor humanity: eradicate poverty eradication and attain sustainable development by 2030. The UAE has taken the lead in efforts to combat poverty and provide foreign assistance to the needy, including the most vulnerable.
Empowering women nationwide and around the world
The United Arab Emirates has adopted a powerful stance in empowering women, setting new standards based on a unique model drawn from the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE. This approach perpetuates in the current leadership’s vision for the future, whereby women stand as active partners and contributors in the country’s development process and play a vital role in raising future generations.
The UAE Constitution guarantees equal rights for women and men. The country is leading the way in a number of regional and global indexes on gender equality and women’s achievements, education and literacy, women’s employment, and respect for women among several social and economic indicators and other indicators.
The country’s constitution supports the participation of Emirati women in decision-making, a core component of economic empowerment. In December 2014, the UAE Cabinet adopted a decision imposing the appointment of women on the boards of directors of all institutions and government agencies, setting the proportion of female representation at 15% in government institutions.
Nine women sit on the Federal National Council for the 16th legislature, representing 22.5% of 40 members. Furthermore, women make up 27% of the new Cabinet formed in 2016 which includes nine women ministers, one of whom is the youngest minister appointed to Cabinet (23 years).
The UAE Gender Balance Council was established in 2015 as a federal agency dedicated to scaling up the UAE’s efforts to achieve gender balance across all sectors nationwide, and in decision-making positions. Women are actively involved in the judiciary sector with several women judges and prosecutors, as well as a significant female presence in the police and the military.
In the diplomatic field, women currently hold 30% of positions in the diplomatic corps at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which comprised 234 women employees in 2017, including women ambassadors and diplomats representing the UAE abroad.
Moreover, the UAE has made remarkable progress in reducing gender disparities in girls’ education in schools and higher education, with more than 70 percent of girls graduating from universities. In the economic field and in the business world, women have set themselves as partners, making up 46.6% of the total workforce, holding 66% of the jobs of the public sector, 30% of which are decision-making positions. Furthermore, 23,000 businesswomen manage projects worth about USD15 billion in the UAE.
At the international level, more than 14 per cent of total international aid contributed by the United Arab Emirates in 2016 was devoted to empowering women and girls around the world. After deducting bilateral support to government budgets, which accounts for more than half of the value of foreign aid contributed by the UAE in 2016, the proportion of aid allotted to the promotion gender equality and women’s empowerment accounts for nearly one-third of total aid.
The strength of the UAE Passport
One of the most salient indicators of the success of UAE diplomacy is the strength of the UAE passport, which in recent years has achieved consecutive leaps. In 2018, it ranked first in the world according to the World Passport Index, reaching 167 countries visa-free.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has launched the Passport Power initiative that aims to place the Emirati passport on the list of the five most important passports in the world by 2021, upon the directives of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
This great achievement reflects the recent success of the UAE diplomacy in carrying out the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on openness to all countries around the world.
The feat also comes as a result of the efforts exerted by the UAE diplomacy to establish strategic relations and partnerships in the political, economic, commercial, cultural, scientific, educational fields in addition to partnerships in the field of health, to enhance the country’s standing internationally.
The aspirations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for diplomacy are both ambitious and realistic, drawn from the vision of the country’s wise leadership, led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and their brothers, the Supreme Council of Rulers of the UAE and the Government and people of the UAE.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and InternationalCooperation forges ahead confidently and continuously striving to achieve its goals and purpose, with a key focus on the happiness of Emirati nationals, and on gaining a standing of consequence among developed countries in all fields.