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Lubna, Christian leaders visit Sir Bani Yas monastery

posted on 19/01/2017

SIR BANI YAS, UAE: The UAE's Minister of State for Tolerance, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, and around 30 Christian leaders from the Gulf, yesterday visited the site of the early Christian monastery on Abu Dhabi's western island of Sir Bani Yas. The visit was the first part of a day of discussions on ways in which Christian communities in the Emirates can contribute to the promotion of the UAE government's Tolerance Agenda.

The clergymen, including several archbishops and bishops, were drawn from a total of nine different denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the Evangelical Church, the Reformed Church in America, the Coptic and Greek Orthodox Churches, the Mar Thoma Church, the Armenian Orthodox Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church.

On arrival at the site of the monastery, they were briefed by archaeologists working for the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, which is responsible for investigations into and the preservation of the cultural heritage of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

While at the site, the visitors performed an impromptu prayer.

"This site is a symbol of the diversity we have in the UAE," Sheikha Lubna told the visitors. "Nations develop and flourish when they accept differences and work on their similarities."

"The emphasis being placed on this site is evidence of the commitment of the UAE towards its archaeology and history, particularly for sites such as this which represent our values of tolerance, co-existence and peace," she added.

"We greatly appreciate the opportunity to visit this important site," Archbishop Nathaniel , Patriarchal-Vicar for the Arabian Gulf of the Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East of the Syrian Orthodox Church, commented. "Not only does it provide evidence of the presence of Christianity in the UAE just before and during the early years of Islam, but the way in which the leaders of the United Arab Emirates are devoting so much attention to its excavation and conservation is testimony to the way in which they, and the whole of the UAE, are devoted to the promotion of religious tolerance and freedom of worship today."

Commenting on the significance of the visit, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, said, "The archaeological sites on Sir Bani Yas Island which were part of the Church of the East, dated to the 7th and 8th century CE/AD, attest to the long history of religious tolerance in the UAE. The monastery and church are one of dozens of archaeological and heritage sites in this part of the country and this rich and unique history contribute to the cultural heritage of the coast and islands of Abu Dhabi.

"The excavations at the monastery and church, undertaken by TCA Abu Dhabi archaeologists, form part of a major publication of all archaeological and heritage sites on Sir Bani Yas, and have provided an excellent opportunity to engage and train a younger generation of Emirati archaeologists. They will be at the forefront of future work at the site and in so doing will play a critical role in investigating their country's heritage."

The site of the monastery was first identified in 1992 during a survey undertaken by the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey, ADIAS, on the instructions of former UAE President, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Studies of the finds from the excavations as well as other research suggests that the Sir Bani Yas church and monastery may have been founded sometime in the early to mid- 7th Century CE, at a time when, prior to the coming of Islam, Christianity was present throughout eastern Arabia. Although there is evidence in ancient documents of the historical presence of Christianity in the UAE, the Sir Bani Yas monastery is, so far, the first physical evidence to have been discovered.

It is believed to have been part of a network of churches and monasteries spread throughout the Arabian Gulf at the time, with other sites having been found in Kuwait (Akaz and Al Qusur on Failaka Island), Saudi Arabia (Jubail) and Iran (Kharg Island).

During the excavations at the Sir Bani Yas site, finds of particular importance were a number of plaster friezes that would formerly have decorated the church. Studies suggest that these date back to the mid-7th to 8th Century CE. The weathered surface of some of the pieces indicates they were used externally on the building although others were probably used inside the church. Some pieces have Christian crosses on them while others depict flowing scrolls connecting palm leaves and grapes. Decorations of this type are known to belong to the architectural style of the Church of the East, one of the Eastern group of churches.

Founded in the 5th Century CE, the Church of the East spread throughout Iraq and Iran, down through the Arabian Gulf and away to India. It also expanded throughout Central Asia as far as western China before beginning to decline in the 14th Century CE.

Three successor churches survive today, although much reduced in numbers, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Ancient Church of the East. They all use the Syriac language in their services.

The particular significance of the Sir Bani Yas site, and the plaster objects uncovered during the excavations, stems from their date and context, which roughly coincides with the beginning of Islam's spread into southeastern Arabia. The discovery of the church and monastery, along with its series of associated courtyard houses and other buildings, is evidence that a significant Christian community was living on Sir Bani Yas at this time, living side by side with the country's Muslim inhabitants. This reflects a prevailing spirit of religious tolerance and the peaceful coexistence of diverse religious communities. The excavations at the site have shown that it was eventually abandoned, with the buildings eventually collapsing.

Following the initial discovery, the late Sheikh Zayed personally encouraged the continued archaeological excavation and preservation of this internationally important site. Today, it is a central focus of plans by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority to promote Sir Bani Yas not only as a key element in the UAE's cultural heritage but also as a tourist destination.

Other sites for tourists are also being developed on the island.

Sir Bani Yas, which has recently opened a dedicated terminal for cruise ships, is also home to a large collection of endangered species of animals, originally established by Sheikh Zayed, with special safari-type excursions for tourists through the island's wildlife park. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Christian leaders praise UAE's Tolerance strategy, promise to contribute

posted on 19/01/2017

SIR BANI YAS, UAE, 19th January 2017 (WAM) -- The UAE's Minister of State for Tolerance, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, has invited leaders of the country's Christian communities to play their part in contributing to the promotion of the country's recently-announced National Programme for Tolerance.

She was speaking during a free-ranging discussion with participants in the annual meeting of the Gulf Christian Fellowship, GCF, on the UAE's western island of Sir Bani Yas yesterday.

The visit was jointly organised by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and the National Programme for Tolerance.

The Minister outlined to participants in the meeting the pillars of the country's philosophy of tolerance, as outlined in the National Programme.

It was built, she said, on a combination of the Islamic faith, the UAE Constitution, the legacy of the country's founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the ethics that underpin UAE society. It also included, she noted, the UAE's heritage, as reflected through archaeology and history, the fundamental elements of human nature and the shared, common values of humanity.

"As we work in the Emirates to promote our commitment to, and understanding of, the philosophy of tolerance in all walks of life, we encourage those from expatriate communities, of all origins and beliefs, to play their part in helping us to strengthen our tolerant society," Sheikha Lubna said. "We invite you, as leaders of the varied Christian communities in the UAE to encourage your communities to play their part Every day must be tolerance day. Be positive, open to all you meet, live and work with, and be enriched by every person in our diverse society.''

In response, Bishop Paul Hinder, Vicar Apostolic for the UAE, Oman and Yemen for the Catholic Church, thanked Sheikha Lubna and asked her to pass the gratitude of participants in the meeting to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whose support had made it possible for the meeting to take place.

He went on to comment on the significance of Sir Bani Yas and its ancient Christian monastery in terms of events in the wider region.

"The visit to Sir Bani Yas Island has a deep meaning for me. That we are visiting the Island under the patronage of the Minister of State for Tolerance underlines the importance. The discovery of the Christian monastery at Sir Bani Yas reminds us that Christianity was present in the region very early and coexisted with Islam for a long period. This is a strong sign for what is again happening in recent times, thanks to the open-minded rulers of the UAE."

"Looking at what is happening in the wider region, I have noticed," Bishop Hinder said, "that where there is radicalism, one of the first things is to eradicate the memory of the others, as we have seen in Palmyra and in other places. And when I heard about the reaction of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan when he heard about the presence of the old monastery on this island, he had just the opposite reaction: to maintain this site in the memory of the history of this country. I think that this is important for all of us. It also points," he said, "to the fact that there is a history that has common roots, not only here on this island, but in the whole region."

"We, the expatriate Christians in the UAE, want to contribute to a society which shows that religions, even in their diversity, must not be a reason for war but can be a strong sign of building up justice and peace," Bishop Hinder added.

"We are grateful for the hospitality we enjoy and willing to contribute our part so that the UAE remains a model of tolerance and mutual respect, founded in our common belief in God, which is for us all a constant incentive for goodness. I can only pray that this is reflected in other parts, as I am also Bishop for Yemen, I know that it can be tragic when people are no more able to accept one another, and we have to learn to exercise this every day."

In another comment, Archbishop Makarios, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Qatar, said that the GCF was "encouraged and enthusiastic about the steps that the UAE National Programme for Tolerance has taken toward promoting ethics and human values in terms of religious co-existence, in particular, its recognition of Christian heritage in this region and giving it its rightful place in the historical narrative."

"To educate the world about the rich diversity that characterised this land long ago, is to do justice to those who came before us, and to set a critical example for our brothers and sisters around the world," he added.

"At a time of violent tumult in the Middle East, which has devastated the vibrant cultural, ethnic, and religious tapestry, the Christian communities are willing to work in our respective capacities and locations, in conjunction with the National Programme for Tolerance to promote this region as a beacon of hope and tolerance," he said. "We hope that all people of goodwill may visit the ancient Monastery on Sir Bani Yas Island to see the interaction between Christian and Muslim, and to witness the potential of humanity when mutual respect is our foundation."

The Very Reverend Mesrob Sarkissian, UAE and Qatar representative for the Catholicos of the Armenian Church, described the meeting as 'extraordinary.'

Thanking His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for facilitating the visit to Sir Bani Yas, he added, "I would like to express my gratitude to the UAE government and leaders for their hospitality and for the respect they offer to the Christian communities in the region, and for the freedom that we enjoy to worship God through our churches. The UAE is a model country because of the way it provides land to Christian communities so that they may build their places of worship."

In subsequent discussion, one participant commented that, "The value of tolerance is simple to understand but so elusive when putting it into practice. I was not prepared for the breadth and boldness of the National Programme for Tolerance. The UAE's plan to strategically and intentionally implement the value of tolerance was deeply encouraging."

The Gulf Christian Fellowship, founded in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi in 2012, brings together leaders from a wide range of Christian churches, drawn from the five main groups of Christianity, the Catholic, the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox, the Episcopal Churches and the Anglicans.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the GCF Executive Committee said, "Leaders of Churches in the GCC countries welcome opportunities to increase cooperation between our Churches, and between peoples of different religious and social traditions within the incredibly diverse mix of nationalities who find themselves living and working in the Gulf. Although each ethnic and religious grouping strongly desires to be understood by others, the leaders of the Churches are working together to encourage movements toward mutual understanding, peaceful coexistence and strengthening the social dynamics that make up the societies where we live. The annual meeting of the Gulf Churches Fellowship is greatly facilitated by the intentional and direct policies of the UAE government regarding tolerance of non-Muslims living in the country, for which we are very grateful."

The statement added, "We hail the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for his vision and commitment to building a society where the value of tolerance is not just mere talk but is a lived and shared experience. Giving thanks to God, we continue to pray for God's blessings on the wise leadership of the nation with thanksgiving."

The meeting was attended by over thirty participants from the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. Among them were several archbishops and bishops, including Dr. Joseph, the Metropolitan of the Indian-based Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, Archbishop Nathaniel, Patriarchal-Vicar in the Gulf of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Bishop Khoury Gregorios, Greek Orthodox Bishop in the Emirates, and Bishop Michael Lewis, Anglican Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf.

Other denominations present included the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Armenian Church, the Evangelical Church and the Reformed Church in America. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE releases Global State of Future Report at World Economic Forum – Davos

posted on 19/01/2017

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) released the State of the Future report, a first if its kind, on Wednesday in Davos containing over 100 forecasts for the next 40 years.

The report was prepared in collaboration with 21 experts from organisations such as NASA, NYU Langone Medical Center, MIT, ConsenSys, and the SENS Research Foundation. It includes forecasts and explanations of trends in 7 key sectors such as Energy, Medicine, and Education. The predictions include artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics and drones, self-driving cars, personalized medicine, biological engineering, alternative education, distributed energy, and many more.

"Today, we steadily move a step further in our mission to build the future, relying on sound studies performed by a prominent group of experts and specialists exploring the future of key sectors," asserted Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), as the Dubai Future Academy launched the State of the Future report on the sidelines of DFF's participation in the World Economic Forum (Davos).

"These studies will serve as a reference for us as we strive to accurately forecast the trends of the future. They will also serve as an incentive for all sorts of organizations to start working on solutions for the challenges that will arise in the future," he added.

"The report announces 112 predictions for the future of strategic sectors, such as energy, transport, and space, revealing that by 2020, 20% of households will run on solar energy, while electric, self-driving cars will make up 90% of all vehicles by 2035," Al Gergawi said.

He added, "Working to build a bright future for the UAE starting today is at the very top of our list of priorities. It is a mission that requires in-depth knowledge based on thorough research and studies, and relies on innovators to devise tools and techniques that enable us to find solutions for all the challenges that face our societies."

The State of the Future report – prepared by a group of prominent experts and researchers from all around the world – aims to forecast and proactively plan for the future. To that end, the report seeks to educate all relevant stakeholders, be they institutions or individuals, about the efforts and achievements that stand to build a bright and prosperous future for the UAE and the world, as well as to propose solutions to the challenges facing societies in the 21st century.

The report relies on statistics and numerical data to project accurate scenarios for the future of strategic sectors. Moreover, the study relies on the expert opinions of specialists from the most prestigious academic and research institutions in the world, including US space agency NASA, NYU Langone Medical Center, MIT, ConsenSys, and the SENS Research Foundation, to name a few. The State of the Future report forecasts the future of such key sectors as renewable energy, water, technology, health, education, transport, and space.

In the Energy sector, the report anticipates that by 2020, the electricity generated from renewable sources will be greater than the current combined demand of China, India, and Brazil, which are among the world's most populous countries. And by 2025, 15% to 20% of households will run on solar energy, while electric cars will make up 90% of all vehicles by 2035.

In the Water sector, the report states that by 2022, technology will be able to determine the level of contamination in water by tracking the movement of fish. Meanwhile, most of the world's seafloor will be mapped by 2030, predicts the report, cautioning that sea ice could vanish from the Arctic ocean completely as early as 2040. By 2050, the World Economic Forum asserts that, if we keep producing (and failing to properly dispose of) our trash at current rates, plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish pound for pound.

In the Technology sector, the report reveals that the AR/VR industry is drawing millions of dollars in investments and will be a $150 billion market by 2020. The increasing use of artificial intelligence in daily life will lead to machines committing a majority of crimes by the year 2040.

By 2042 Artificial Intelligence will play a major role on companies' boards of directors and will be making many of their financial decisions. By 2050, meanwhile, technology will be seamlessly integrated into our homes, with robots cleaning and cooking for us while our furnishings automatically adapt to our body shapes and temperatures.

In the Health sector, the report predicts that a simple, non-invasive, saliva test will be available for around $20 that can detect tumour signatures in a subject's saliva.

By 2026, laboratories will succeed in extending the lives of mice threefold, which could lead to breakthroughs in human life extension shortly thereafter.

Childbirth in artificial environments will come in the early 2040s, where we can optimize nutrition and prevent the exposure of embryos to alcohol and viruses.

The report also predicts that gene therapies will be widely available and provided by most governments by the late 2040s.

In the Education sector, the report forecasts that all publicly funded scientific papers published in Europe could be made free to access by 2020.

By 2030, advances in chemistry will allow us to use drugs and similar methods to alter and improve our students' minds to optimize their brains for learning. Experts go on to predict that over the next 20 years, traditional methods of testing will be abandoned, and we will begin to focus on more holistic assessments.

In the Transport sector, the report says that by 2020 the world's first hyperloop system could be in place in the world.

By 2025, experts predict, personal ownership of cars will be a thing of the past (at least in America).

Hypersonic airliners with a cruising speed of 6,100 km/h and excellent fuel efficiency will enter widespread commercial use by 2030.

According to the report, and shared cars will become a public utility service by 2040.

As for the Space sector, the report predicts that in 2018, the James Webb telescope will be launched and will be 100 times more sensitive than any telescope that came before it. This will allow us to see the earliest moments in our universe's history.

Scientists will be able to scan for any objects within a 330-light-year radius of Earth, the report reveals, while the New Horizons satellite, which flew by Pluto in 2015, will exit the Solar System in 2040.

Furthermore, the report predicts that the first self-sufficient colonies will be established on the Moon and Mars by 2045. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE selected by United Nations to host World Data Forum 2018, officials react

posted on 19/01/2017

The organising committee of the UN World Data Forum announced on Wednesday that the UAE as the destination of choice for the event's second edition in 2018.

Currently in session in Cape Town, South Africa, and attended by over 1500 global data expert, the four-day knowledge event hosts scientists, government officials, private sector leaders and academics to share knowledge, ideas and best practices on gathering valuable data, and how data can support countries' drive toward achieving UN Sustainable development goals.

Switzerland, Finland, Mexico, UAE and a number of countries applied to host the event's second cycle in 2018. National bid teams presented the hosting files to UN officials for assessment and evaluation. The World Data Forum organising committee decided, after careful assessment, that the UAE will be the hosting country of the event in 2018.

A team from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) managed UAE's bid dossier for the forum. The bid file presented UAE's capability to host and organise large-scale events of all sort of theme and subjects.

Some of the key points highlighted in the bid file is the availability of an advanced infrastructure, a wide area of hotels and high-tech conference facilities that can accommodate the largest events and activities, and served by the world's top talented event management companies and individuals. In addition to the fact that UAE is ranked as one of the safest countries in the world.

"I am delighted and proud of this achievement," said Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Chairwoman of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority.

"I would like to congratulate the UAE leadership and people for this important accomplishment. Selecting the UAE asserts our leadership's commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, and hosting the World Data Forum reconfirms the UAE's growing role within the international community. We aspire that the World Data Forum to become a platform for a global roadmap for excellence in data management and utilization, and to serve the UAE and the entire international community," she added.

"The FCEA team put great efforts into building and presenting a compelling bid file. We were competing against countries that have a long history in hosting highly attended international events. Thankfully, the FCSA team was successful in presenting UAE's capability to host the World Data Forum, thanks to the nation's excellent record of accomplishments in hosting similar events and forums that discuss innovation, data and knowledge. We look forward to hosting the World Data Forum in 2018, as it will take us closer to achieving UAE vision 2021 and the sustainable development goals," added Abdulla Lootah, Director-General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority.

Welcoming the announcement of the selection, various international officials congratulated the UAE on winning the hosting bid, and expressed their excitement on choosing the UAE as a location for the second edition of the World Data Forum in 2018.

"We at the United Nations Statistics Division are looking forward to working with the colleagues from the United Arab Emirates to organise together an open and inclusive 2nd World Data Forum. This will be a unique opportunity to strengthen data and statistical systems for development not only at the national, but also at the regional and global level," said Stefan Schweinfest, Director, United Nations Statistics Division.

Dr. Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General of the Republic of South Africa and Head of Statistics South Africa and host of the current World Data Forum 2017 stated, "On behalf of Statistics South Africa, the host of the 1st UN World Data Forum, I would like to congratulate Director-General, Abdullah Lootah, as well as the Boards, Advisory Committees, and staff at Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority and all statistics centres as well as the people of the UAE for being selected as the hosts of the 2nd UN World Data Forum. We look forward to continuing the pursuit of prosperity for the planet and its people through the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda (Vision 2030) in your beautiful country during the 2nd UN World Data Forum. We applaud all those involved in bidding for hosting the Forum and wish to let you know that Statistics South Africa is available to assist wherever possible."

"Statistics Denmark is looking forward to participating in the 2nd World Data Forum in Dubai as the event will have a major impact on the region's production of statistics and strengthen the UAE role in the global statistical community," said Jorgen Elmeskov, Director General, Statistics Denmark.

Ali Mohammad Hammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council said," the UAE is always the pioneer in hosting leading global forums and events, especially ones that discuss knowledge and innovation; and for the UAE to win the hosting of UN Data Forum 2018, this is an important accomplishment for the development of statistics, open and big data fields in the UAE. Fields considered today as one of the most important foundations required for government policy and decision making."

"The UAE proved its ability to host some of the world's most important knowledge forums that gather the best expertise from around the globe. That is attributed to the ongoing policy adopted by the wise leadership in making science, knowledge and innovation as the basis of social, cultural and economic growth and development," said Rashed Lahej Nasser Said Al Mansouri, Chairman of Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi and Director General of Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Center (ADSIC).

"We are proud that we will be able to gather the world's elite in data and statistics under one roof in the UAE in 2018. Hosting the World Data Forum will be a strong boost for the national agenda, as the event will assert the importance of producing accurate, up-to-date and detailed data on population, health, education, environment and other developmental pillars," said Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani - Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai.

"UAE's hosting of the World Data Forum reflects the wise leadership's direction and objective for the UAE to be the number one destination for the world's best minds and expertise, especially in the fields of data and statistics," said his Excellency Sultan Bin Butti Al Muhairi, Secretary General, Sharjah Executive Council.

"We are proud that the UAE will host the UN World Data Forum in 2018. Being able to gather the world's top experts in the field of data and statistics will add great value in addressing the challenges the world face in gathering accurate statistics, and we will be able to draw unified roadmaps and methodologies for global statistical standards," said His Excellency Engineer Saeed Saif Al Matrooshi, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Ajman.

"This accomplishment is a step forward in development the statistical ecosystem and providing better data, which is what we constantly work on achieving here in the UAE. Being selected to host the World Data Forum is a great opportunity to support the sustainable development goals 2030, and can also help unify the language that statisticians and data scientists use to produce data," said Humaid bin Rashid bin Humaid Al Shamsi, Secretary-General of the Executive Council, Um Al Qaiwain.

"The UN Data Forum is a global forum that specialises in data and statistics and the UAE hosting is in 2018 is a great undertaking that will call for the collaboration of all related entities in the UAE to produce a great event, with positive and beneficial outcomes," Mohammed Saeed Al Dhanhani, Fujairah Emiri Court.

"We are delighted that the UAE will host another global forum on data and invite the worlds' best data practitioners to the country. This event is a global platform aimed for sharing ideas and proposing innovative initiatives in the field of data management, and confirms data's vital role in dealing with developmental challenges, and how to utilize this data to fulfil future vision and produce an integrated framework of recommendation, for the purpose of excelling in the field of data," said Dr. Mohammed Abdullatif Khalifa, Secretary General, Executive Council, Ras Al Khaima.

"I am fully confident that the UN World Data Forum 2018 which the UAE will host for the first time, and FCSA will support in organizing, will wittiness exceptional collaboration between some of the world's statistical offices and work on the continuous enhancement of global statistical frameworks, and devising practical solutions for all the challenges statisticians face. We hope, through this forum, that we will be able to launch new pioneering ideas that can help in the production, publishing and utilization of data in a way that can serve national plans and visions. We would also like to reassure that the Statistical Center- Abu Dhabi is committed via all its resources to the forum success in the UAE in 2018," said Butti Ahmed Mohamed bin Butti Al Qubaisi, Director-General of the Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi.

"The UN World Data Forum is a unique collaboration opportunity for data producers and practitioners, and can serve a great platform to launch new initiatives that can provide better data on health, education, income and other data sets that are critical for successful and sustainable development," said Aref Obaid Al Muhairi, Executive Director, Dubai Statistics Centre.

"We are delighted that the UAE will be hosting UN World Data Forum as it will be a new milestone in the UAE's journey to a knowledge based economy. Data is one of the most important pillars needed for a successful developmental strategy, which is based on capacity building and intellectual capital," said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Thani, Director-General of the Sharjah Statistics Centre.

"We look forward to participating in this important global event which places the UAE on the global data and statistics map. We congratulate the UAE and its people for this accomplishment, and we are fully committed to playing our role to support this forum and all international forums held in the UAE," said Dr. Ibrahim Saad, General Manager, Fujairah Statistics Centre. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Astana Expo 2017 and Expo 2020 Dubai agree to cooperate

posted on 19/01/2017

The National Company Astana EXPO-2017 and Dubai EXPO 2020 Bureau have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and cooperation on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit.

The document was signed by the Chairman of the Board of Astana EXPO-2017, Akhmetzhan Yessimov, and the Executive Director of Dubai EXPO 2020 Bureau, Najeeb Mohammed al-Ali.

"The UAE is one of Kazakhstan's key partners. Given the fact that both countries will be hosting EXPO, it is necessary to strengthen cooperation between the organisers of the exhibitions. We have agreed to share knowledge and experience and provide the maximum support for each other," said Mr. Yessimov.

Preparations for EXPO 2017 are going according to plan and construction works are 95 percent complete. The pavilions are now being handed over to the participating countries to be filled.

"EXPO 2017 is a huge infrastructure and business project for Kazakhstan, involving the participation of a large number of companies," said the Director of the Content and Event Organization Department of Astana EXPO2017, Marat Omarov.

The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, attended the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Speaking at the opening ceremony, he said that in the future the infrastructure of EXPO 2017 will host the Astana International Financial Centre. "We held talks with the Dubai International Financial Centre and agreed to use its experience in Kazakhstan," said Nazarbayev. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Masdar appoints IFC to oversee funding of Jordan’s largest solar project

posted on 19/01/2017

Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company Masdar selected the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to oversee the funding of the largest solar power plant in Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a 200 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic facility being developed by the wholly owned Masdar subsidiary Baynouna Solar Energy Company (BSEC).

At the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week yesterday, Masdar's Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi and Chief Financial Officer Niall Hannigan signed a finance mandate letter with Eric Becker, IFC's Manager of Infrastructure for the Middle East and North Africa.

Yesterday's announcement follows the signing of a power purchase agreement, PPA, in October between Masdar and the National Electric Power Company, Jordan's state electricity provider.

"We are delighted to be working with the IFC in the realisation of Jordan's largest solar plant, further consolidating Masdar's significant presence in the country," said Hannigan. "Our partnership with the IFC will ensure that this landmark project will be developed according to the highest standards of financial best practices while illustrating the strength of investor confidence in renewable energy."

Expected to break ground later this year, the 200 MW plant will be built just 10 km away from Jordan's capital Amman. When connected to the national grid, it will supply the annual power requirements of around 110,000 homes and do away with an estimated 360,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

"The Middle East and North Africa continue to face serious power shortages, and there is now even greater pressure on infrastructure services," said Becker of IFC. "We have been working with Masdar, a key partner, since 2013, and welcome this opportunity to further support the development of renewable energy generation capacity across the region."

The project follows the launch of the 117 MW Tafila wind farm in Jordan in December 2015, the Middle East's largest onshore wind power development. Masdar has a 31 percent stake in Tafila, with InfraMed (50 percent) and EP Global Energy (19 percent) holding the rest.

The combined output of Tafila wind farm and the Baynouna solar project will account for nearly 18 percent of the 1.8 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy that Jordan plans to instal by 2020.

Masdar's clean energy division is a leading developer and operator of utility-scale, grid-tied projects, applications providing energy access to communities away from electricity grids and carbon abatement projects. Since 2006, Masdar has invested in renewable energy projects with a combined value of US$8.5 billion. The company's share in these investments stands at US$2.7 billion.

Masdar has renewable energy projects in the UAE, Jordan, Mauritania, Egypt, Morocco, Great Britain, Serbia and Spain. The power-generating capacity of these projects, which are either fully operational or under development, stands at 2.7 GW gross. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Masdar and Bee'ah to build 300,000 tonne waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah

posted on 19/01/2017

Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, signed an agreement with Sharjah Environment Company (Bee'ah), to develop a cutting-edge waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah.

The agreement was signed yesterday at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017, in presence of Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State.

Diverting as much as 300,000 tonnes of solid waste from landfill each year, the project will help Sharjah reach its "zero waste-to-landfill" target by 2020, and the UAE deliver on its 2021 goal of diverting 75 percent of solid waste from landfills.

Masdar and Bee'ah signed the agreement to collaborate in the development of new energy projects at ADSW 2016. The facility will incinerate up to 37.5 tonnes of solid waste per hour to create 30 megawatts (MW) of energy. This will add more power to what is produced by Bee'ah's auxiliary waste-to-energy project, which will eventually produce a total of 90 MW and will be supplied to the Sharjah electricity grid.

Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee'ah, said: "Today marks the first venture in the realisation of the partnership that we announced with Masdar last year. The cutting-edge Waste-to-Energy plant in Sharjah is a concrete example of what this strategic partnership will deliver to the UAE and the communities that we serve. We, at Bee'ah, have always been driven by our mission to make the UAE an icon of environmental best practices, and this plant will help us achieve our ambitious environmental goals for the Emirate."

"The cooperation will lead to more projects and bold initiatives that will help the partnership to ensure a sustainable and green future for the UAE."

"As one of the leading renewable energy developers in the Middle East and North Africa, we are proud to enter into a partnership with Bee ah that will both diversify our clean energy portfolio and help commercialise sustainable solutions to Sharjah s and the UAE s waste management challenges," said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.

"With GCC countries having among the highest rates of per-capita waste production in the world, sustainable waste management solutions are both critically important and a clear business opportunity. Masdar will combine its proven expertise in renewable energy project development over the last ten years with Bee'ah s track record in environmentally responsible waste management, to deliver a project that will catalyse further investment in waste-to-energy infrastructure in the UAE and beyond," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE Minister of Energy launches application for accessing dam, water embankment data

posted on 19/01/2017

Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, the UAE Minister of Energy, launched an electronic application for accessing data regarding dams and water embankments.

The new application enables access to dam sites in the valleys, and provides engineering and hydrological information of interest to visitors, scholars and researchers.

The project is part of the UAE government's and the Ministry of Energy's strategy to ensure water security throughout the country.

It also highlights the country's efforts to achieve water security through construction of dams and water facilities, which can make use of rainfall and protect the land from floods as variable climate conditions and cyclone risks often cause havoc.

The dam areas in the UAE offer spectacular views during the monsoon, and also have in place good infrastructure in terms of paved roads, lighting and safety requirements for visitors. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science hosts first international workshop during ADSW 2017

posted on 19/01/2017

The UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science is hosting its first ever International Research Progress Workshop on Rain Enhancement on 18th and 19th January at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, ADNEC, in tune with the ongoing Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2017.

The two-day international workshop has brought together leading scientists from renowned global and local institutions and presented an overview of the newly awarded research projects from the second cycle of the programme. It also showcased updates on the first-cycle research projects and organised a forum to discuss the innovative technologies needed to tackle water security challenges globally.

The workshop started with an opening speech from Dr. Abdullah Al Mandoos, Director of National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology, which was delivered by Omar Al Yazeedi, Director of Research, Development and Training. Alya Al Mazroui, Programme Manager of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, also delivered a keynote address.

"The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology is proud to host this first-of-its-kind workshop, a debut for the global rain enhancement community. As global water supplies become a crisis point of the future, it is imperative that we accelerate our efforts to explore the possibility of boosting fresh water supplies through rain enhancement science. As this is a priority, the UAE government is seeking to encourage scientific co-operation to push the frontiers of research, development and innovation to ensure water security for arid regions around the world," Al Yazeedi said while delivering the opening speech.

The topics under discussion include use of nanotechnology to develop novel cloud seeding materials for rain enhancement, advanced approaches towards scientific rain enhancement research in arid and semi-arid regions, and convection initiation as a missing link to a better understanding of clouds and precipitation in desert regions.

The workshop also held a series of panel discussions around the prospects of the first-cycle projects, along with insights into the UAE Research Programme's second-cycle awardees and their new projects.

Commenting on the workshop, Al Mazroui said, "Our workshop, which we intend to run as an annual event, is structured to aid productive discussions between our awardees and the leading scientists in attendance today. Through this workshop, the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science is seeking to advance knowledge in the field and serve the wider objectives of the UAE Innovation Strategy, which seeks to position the country as an internationally recognised hub of scientific and technological excellence in rain enhancement." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


WiSER calls on women to be drivers of innovation

posted on 19/01/2017

Leaders from government, business and academia convened yesterday in Abu Dhabi for the second annual Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy, WiSER, conference under the theme ‘Practical steps towards sustainable innovation.' The event was organised by Masdar in partnership with the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

The conference, a key event at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, sought to discuss the collaborative role that governments and businesses can play in fostering sustainable innovation, and the critical importance of including women in this dialogue.

Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, WiSER Programme Director, Executive Director of Sustainability and Brand at Masdar, and Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: "At WiSER, we seek to ensure that women are the drivers of change for a sustainable future, enabling them to positively impact innovation and breakthroughs in policy, technology and business. Today's event helps us understand the way forward to achieving this goal."

"With greater mentoring and collaborative opportunities, our knowledge of the issues that uniquely impact women can be harnessed to deliver sustainable growth and innumerable societal benefits. Innovation in sustainability is critical to our future prosperity, and women have a central role to play in this regard," Dr. Al-Hosany continued.

Speaking at the event Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute, said, "Creating opportunities for women in sustainability will allow us to unleash a wealth of knowledge and creativity within this industry. Particularly through our partnerships with private companies, Masdar Institute remains dedicated to nurturing the next generation of women to become sustainability leaders. Our public-private partnerships allow more women to gain the hands-on experience they need to join the ranks of innovators. With women playing an equitable role in the industry we can continue the momentum behind our transformation towards a fairer, more secure, and more sustainable future."

The event in Abu Dhabi was designed as a platform so that participants could learn from experts who have dedicated their life to sustainability and furthering women's participation in innovation.

In the UAE, there has been an emphasis placed on education and training as a way to ensure more women are working in sustainability. In the fall enrolment of students at Masdar Institute, 68 per cent of the UAE nationals were women. Over 70 percent of the UAE government university students are now women and among post-graduates, UAE National women account for 62 per cent in government universities.

Dr. Arwa Y. Al-Aama, Director, Smart Solutions Consulting, said, "Initiatives such as WiSER are critical if we want women to have access to the skills needed to be future leaders of innovation and sustainability. They also underline the leading role the UAE is playing in establishing platforms that place an emphasis on knowledge exchange and learning."

Founded by Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, WiSER aims to empower and inspire women to be catalysts of innovation and the drivers of commercial solutions that will address climate change and secure access to food, energy and water. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE, Paraguay discuss economic co-operation

posted on 19/01/2017

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, and Gustavo Leite, Paraguay's Minister of Industry and Commerce, discussed the promotion of trade and economic ties through joint investments in areas of mutual interest.

The two ministers met in Dubai, in the presence of Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs, and Angel Barchini, Non-resident Ambassador of Paraguay, and several other officials.

The two sides discussed ways to develop co-operation, especially in the sectors of agriculture, nutritional products, energy and industry.

The two sides also reviewed investment opportunities in infrastructure, tourism and aviation sectors, stressing the importance of strengthening co-operation in the field of air transport.

"Paraguay is an important gateway for the UAE in South America," Minister Al Mansouri noted.

The non-oil trade exchange between the two countries accounted for US$30 million in 2015 and $18 million in the first half of 2016.

Leite affirmed his country had targeted investments in three main sectors in which it possessed competitive advantage, such as agriculture and nutritional products, research and exploration for oil and gas, and the industrial sector. Paraguay would like to benefit from the experience of the UAE in these fields, he added.

Paraguay is set to be the new industrial hub of South America, as it possesses several competitive factors such as energy, qualified labour, he remarked, adding that it was willing to resolve all impediments to facilitate the UAE's entry into the country's markets.

Promoting co-operation in the field of air transport is important, as it will directly link both the countries, he stated, also mentioning several investment opportunities in the tourism and infrastructure sector for the UAE.

Paraguay grows key crops such as corn, rice, wheat and soya bean, and has a wealth of cattle and poultry, he said, expressing hopes of enhanced bilateral trade in these sectors, especially the food industry. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE, New Zealand discuss ways to strengthen economic ties

posted on 19/01/2017

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy, has said that the economic relations between the UAE and New Zealand have seen continued growth and expected to develop further as the two countries are keen to strengthen co-operation in a number of sectors of common interest, prioritised in their respective development plans.

The announcement came during a meeting between the UAE Minister of Economy and Todd McClay, New Zealand's Minister of Trade, and the delegation accompanying the him. The meeting was held at the UAE Ministry's Dubai headquarters.

The meeting discussed the potentials of increasing trade and strengthening co-operation in a number of areas such as agriculture and food, renewable energy, innovation, civil aviation and tourism. The officials further focussed on the current status of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the GCC and New Zealand. They also reviewed a number of key issues that could be raised at the next meeting of the Joint Economic Committee, set to take place later this year in New Zealand.

Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Shehhi, Under-Secretary for Economic Affairs; Humaid bin Butti Al Muhairi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Corporate Sector and Consumer Protection; Abdullah Sultan AlFan AlShamsi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Industrial Affairs, and several senior officials and advisers from the Ministry of Economy, MOE, were present at the discussions. Jeremy Clarke-Watson, New Zealand's Ambassador to the UAE; Kevin John Mckenna, Consul General of New Zealand, and the New Zealand Embassy's Deputy Head of Mission Rebecca Wood also attended the meeting.

Al Mansouri stated that the country's leadership prioritises innovation and thus places great importance on the National Innovation Strategy. He underscored the strong interest of the ministry to closely work and co-operate with New Zealand on innovation initiatives as it is looking at signing a memorandum of understanding between the two parties.

The minister said that the next meeting - the sixth session of the Joint Economic Committee, would be an important platform for accelerating the pace of current agreements. It would also facilitate discussions on ways to increase developmental opportunities and overcome potential challenges in economic, trade and investment ties and partnerships with the private sector, he added.

According to Al Mansouri, co-operation in agricultural and food industries and enabling the UAE's agricultural investments in New Zealand top the list of the Joint Economic Committee's agenda, given their major roles in addressing food security. The meeting will also focus on co-operation in civil aviation, a key trigger to mutual development of trade, investment and tourism.

Both ministers discussed the latest updates on the FTA between New Zealand and the GCC, with Al Mansouri clarifying that the agreement is now in its final stages and is currently undergoing legal review by some of the GCC countries before final approval. He also noted the importance of the agreement in enhancing trade and investment between the two countries.

McClay expressed New Zealand's paramount interest in FTA as it will significantly increase trade volumes in the region, and lauded the UAE's and the ministry's major role in making the agreement a reality.

The New Zealand minister also discussed possibility of bilateral co-operation in gaining access to new regional markets. He noted the importance of the UAE as a commercial gateway that facilitates New Zealand's trade access to the Middle East, African and European markets, and New Zealand's value as a significant link for the UAE to access South American markets.

Total foreign trade between the UAE and New Zealand reached US$1.6 billion in 2016, and is expected to increase significantly as both countries continue to push bilateral trade and economic co-operation.

McClay said that New Zealand will soon go ahead with the development and expansion of hospitality projects in several cities, opening an important opportunity for the UAE, which has built a global reputation in this sector.

Al Mansouri also urged New Zealand companies to explore the prospects of doing business in the UAE, which offers an advanced economic environment, facilities, benefits and development incentives that help the growth of high-value industries.

The UAE minister said these criteria form part of the government's directives towards establishing a knowledge-based economy while exploring growth in transport, renewable energy, infrastructure, and small-and-medium enterprise segments. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Partnership strategy core element of Etihad’s growth, says Group President and CEO James Hogan

posted on 19/01/2017

Etihad Aviation Group's partnership strategy had been a core element of its business growth, President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said yesterday.

While delivering a keynote at the19th Annual Global Airfinance Conference in Dublin, Hogan said its strategy, which resulted in 5.5 million guests connecting to the Etihad Airways' network through codeshares and partners in 2016, had ensured revenue and synergy benefits.

"Our investments had an immediate impact on the revenue side, delivering hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenues and allowing us to fill our onward connecting flights. Those benefits have been replicated in all our minority investments, in airberlin, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and Etihad Regional.

"We also believed our minority investments would unlock an additional advantage that the global alliances were simply unable to use. Because we had ‘skin in the game,' we could work on joint procurement and other business synergies, which would save us, and our partners, hundreds of millions of dollars. Again, we have seen similar benefits from each of our investments, with those synergies being shared by all the partners."

Hogan said the third goal of the equity investments, to allow the management of these airlines to reshape their businesses into sustainable profitable operations, required a longer-term view.

"Of course, their business strategies remained in the hands of the local management in each case. We are pleased to support the management, and to advise where requested, but the plans and implementation are in their hands.

"In this third area, we have had some strong results, but we also face some significant challenges. Jet Airways, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Etihad Regional have all used our capital investments to help structure their businesses into more efficient and profitable operations. In those cases, our long-term investments are already delivering returns," he said.

"We are committed to our equity partner strategy - it delivers a huge amount to our business. Some of those airlines need to react to the market pressures they face, and we are supportive of that process," Hogan added.

"That approach has helped Etihad grow from a US$300 million a year airline to a diversified aviation group, which delivers revenues of more than US$26 billion. Etihad Airways sits at the heart of that business, of course, but is now only one element of a model, which includes significant other businesses and investments.

"That evolution has not happened by accident. Etihad Aviation Group is now a solid, diversified business with strength in depth, and with the scale to shape its destiny in the future," he said in conclusion. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Harvard students briefed on work of MoI

posted on 19/01/2017

H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, has 0met a delegation from the American Harvard University last on Tuesday, at the ministry.

The delegation included professors and students who are here to observe the innovations and practices of the UAE government in the fields of strategy and security.

Sheikh Saif conveyed to the delegation the country's efforts to encourage innovation and youth education, while maintaining the community's link to its culture and heritage.

Sheikh Saif cited the accomplishments of the UAE government in providing services, improving its practices and partnerships with the private sector, the development of policing and the sharing of its experiences with other countries.

Revealing some of the innovations made in the field of security, he mentioned the invention of a device to check passports in record time, and a children's car seat that works as a digital companion to the child, in case the driver has left the vehicle. This innovation won the top spot in the British and American Awards for Ideas in 2013 and 2014, he said.

The delegation was informed about the Ministry of Interior, MoI, Excellence Award for distinguished students studying abroad, and the vision of the ministry, so that the UAE becomes the safest country in the world.

Aisha Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, an Emirati student at the American Harvard University, presented a gift to Sheikh Saif on behalf of the delegation for his inputs on policing and security.

Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Major General Ahmed Naser Al Raisi Inspector General of the Ministry of Interior, and several general managers and CEOs from the ministry attended the meeting. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


ERC distributes over 3,000 food baskets and tents in Yemen

posted on 19/01/2017

ADEN: The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, has distributed 3,440 food baskets and 100 tents to the population of Ras al-Ara and Bab-el-Mandeb.

Last week, ERC also distributed more than 6,000 food baskets in these areas. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court sentences three defendants to jail terms on charges of terrorism

posted on 19/01/2017

ABU DHABI, 19th January, 2017 (WAM) -- The Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court has sentenced three men, two Emiratis and an Arab male, to jail terms ranging from one year to five years on charges of terrorism.

It sentenced a UAE national, identified by his initials as A.H.M., to five years in jail and also fined him AED1 million. The court also ordered the confiscation and destruction of contents of seized computers. It also sentenced another Emirati, identified as H.S.M., to one year in prison.

The court sentenced an Arab national, identified as A.H.Y.J., to three years in jail, and ordered his deportation after serving the jail term.

It also heard 11 other cases related to state security. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


HBMSU launches professional diploma in events and convention management

posted on 19/01/2017

Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, HBMSU, has introduced a professional diploma for events and convention management.

The programme aims to improve the participants' skills to manage international events with high efficiency and in accordance with highest quality and innovation standards using latest technologies.

The new programme, which has obtained Pearson's recognition, is part of the professional training programmes under HBMSU, and an important addition to the nationwide efforts under the UAE Vision 2021 to develop the potentials of the country's human resources for building a competitive, knowledge-based economy.

The professional diploma in events and convention management is part of HBMSU's integrated portfolio of innovative academic and professional programmes specifically designed to support investments in human capital as required by the UAE Vision 2021, which aims to build a competitive economy led by the UAE Nationals through knowledge and innovation.

The new programme covers 24 training days, at an average of six hours a day, plus an additional day for presenting the graduation project. It offers six training modules in Arabic language, including Development of Events and Event Management Industry, Creative Design of the Event and Choosing Speakers and Partners, Preparing and Managing Budgets and Implementing Logistics, Planning and Designing Marketing Plans and Public Relations Campaigns, Protocols and Etiquettes, and Applied Practices besides the graduation project.

Speaking on the occasion, Athbah Al Kamdah, Vice Chancellor, Learner Development, HBMSU, said, "The Professional Diploma in Events and Convention Management is of exceptional importance as it is key to preparing the UAE's workforce through knowledge, innovation and the ability to make a positive change in the events management industry, both locally and internationally, as well as play a pivotal role in the success of hosting Expo 2020 in Dubai under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future'."

The global event is expected to support Dubai's economy with revenues estimated at US$23 billion.

Launching the programme aims to meet the growing need for high levels of professionalism and innovation as part of the preparations for this prestigious global event, which is expected to draw more than 25 million visitors from all over the world for a period of six months.

"Events management is suitable for those who think creatively and possess the ability to innovate, organise, plan and communicate effectively, as well as implement plans professionally, taking into account the fine details that make a difference. This will contribute effectively to the success of Expo 2020, which will undoubtedly be the largest cultural and economic gathering," Al Kamdah said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE President’s Initiatives Committee approves 420 construction projects at cost AED500 million

posted on 19/01/2017

The UAE President's Initiatives Committee has endorsed 420 construction projects at a cost of AED500 million, to be implemented across the country.

The move is in sync with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

During its meeting held on Tuesday and chaired by Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi, Deputy Minister of Presidential Affairs, the committee also reviewed the progress of the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed City project in Fujairah. It is an integrated city in Al Hail area, Fujairah, spread over land area of 2.15 million square metres, and houses 1,100 residential units.

The committee approved connecting the internal sewerage network of the city with the sewerage system of Tanqia Company in Fujairah. The project also includes construction of pumping stations and pipelines as well as the expansion of pumping lines at a total cost of AED37 million.

The committee also reviewed the rehabilitation of landfills in the UAE.

The meeting was also attended by Jabr Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the Crown Prince's Court of Abu Dhabi; Rashid Al Amiri, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, and other senior officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -