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Mohammed bin Rashid Opens RTA’s Enterprise Command & Control Centre

posted on 23/05/2017

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has inaugurated the Enterprise Command & Control Centre (EC3) in the presence of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council. The EC3 is the biggest and most sophisticated control of its kind worldwide in terms of utilising the smart technologies and the ability to control & integrate various transit means of the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA).

It also enables the development of proper mobility plans to cope with various transport challenges in the Emirate. The EC3 enables the control of all mass transit systems namely the Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, public buses, taxis and marine transit modes in addition to the traffic control systems. The cost of the new centre, which meets the requisites of hosting Expo 2020, amounted to AED 335 million.

Upon arrival at the EC3, HH was received by Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA. Al Tayer made a presentation about the centre , which has a built up area of 6996 square meters. The building, which has a total area of 10,900 square meters, comprises of a ground floor and five levels. It is fitted with a helipad and has a main control room rising 13 meters in height and spanning an area of 430 square meters. It has five subsidiary control rooms for various uses, two multi-purpose halls (Gold & Silver) overlooking the main control room. They have accessibility to the mass transit system and the traffic system to enable the leadership team to take appropriate decisions during emergencies and crises. It also has ample office space for RTA's agencies & strategic partners, press , and training halls. The building design is compatible with the green buildings specifications and will be qualified for awarding the environment-friendly green buildings – Gold Class of LEED Classification.

The EC3 links the controls of RTA operational agencies with a central, integrated and control system unit connected with all RTA agencies during the initial stage, and with other entities of relevance to RTA business in subsequent stages. The Centre has multiple roles to play highlighted by supporting the controls of RTA's agencies & sectors, managing crises, planning & managing events, managing & integrating transit means, managing & analysing information, compiling data & generating strategic reports, and managing the information security.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum then inspected the main control room which has a capacity to accommodate 36 operational staff. HH attended a briefing about the Control Room which is linked with 34 technological systems within the RTA and is capable of forging real-time integration with these systems. It can also link with external systems outside the RTA, besides receiving and managing the feed of about 11,231 surveillance cameras. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) in the management of accidents & crises and data of mobile phones in planning and managing the movement of crowds through automated identification of population density and directing transit modes to serve them. Thus it ensures maximum benefit from the transport systems by matching people movement with the transport means movement, and simulating the virtual presence on the ground using 3D technology, and monitors the mobility movement using drones.

Crowds Management Sheikh Mohammed attended to real-life experiments for utilising the massive flow of information in managing crowds through the population density feature. This feature reads the movement & assembly of mobile phones using GSM technology and analyses it in conjunction with the telecommunication providers and reflects it on the main display screen of the operation platform. The human density points appear as heat maps through which it will be possible to quantify the density & spread of people in a specific point. HH also reviewed the relative population density program; which specifies the population density for the use of transit means by specifying the starting and terminal points of the journey. So it will be possible to figure out the people's movement during a specific time. HH also visited the Mobility Planning Room (The Cave); a room that displays a 3D map on the main screen enabling the analyser or planner to emulate the reality to use modern technologies in events planning. A model 3D map of Dubai Downtown (Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall) was displayed, and some transit means were displayed in the simulation of the reality for a specific time.

Sheikh Mohammed was also briefed on the application of artificial intelligence features in responding to crises & emergencies. The Centre is a sophisticated platform for communication between emergency teams support with AI technology enabling the reception of voice commands and instantly entering them in the system instead of the traditional printing of commands. The system is fitted with a machine learning feature and can build the system potentials by engaging in various scenarios for tackling emergencies in a way that ensures quick response and reduced human error.

Objectives of EC3 The EC3 aims to be a world leader and model of excellence in the control of roads & transport systems as it is unique and smart in simulating real-life scenarios. It has the potential of propelling the ability of Dubai in hosting & organising global events, supporting central decision-making in respect of all transit means, assisting the strategic transport planning tasks and integrating with RTA's main systems & traffic controls.

The Centre also supports RTA's efforts in transforming Dubai into the world's smartest city in the field of mobility. It will contribute to easing snarls, reducing mobility time & cost, curbing traffic accidents, and limiting the environmental pollution by smart planning for coping with the transport challenges in the Emirate. The Centre will also enhance the experience & happiness of customers by providing instant information about transport systems in the Emirate, integrating with social media channels and raising the people's happiness indicator by easing the use of mass transit means. It will also step up the coordination with various controls through the use of simulators and the smart forecasting of smart transit services. It can improve the coordination in managing crises, planning & managing events, and organise mobility during mega events in Dubai. Accordingly, the Centre will play a key role in serving mobility for Expo 2020.

Benefits of EC3 The centre has a wide array of benefits topped by achieving leadership & excellence worldwide in the control of roads & transport systems rendering Dubai as the smartest city in the world. It will play a pivotal role in streamlining mobility during main events & exhibitions in the Emirate, such as Expo 2020, supporting the strategic transport planning, and integrating it with RTA's main systems & controls. It will also enhance customers' experience & happiness by providing real-time information about the traffic condition and transport network condition. It will also enable the management & planning of events on a wider & connected scope, assist emergency & crises management, and facilitate the investigation of transport accidents. It will establish an integrated communication hub enabling the holding of press conferences and media coverages in the event of crises to keep the public and the media informed of the latest developments. It will also assist in the analysis of bulk data and information management for supporting decision-making, and monitor the information security for protecting RTA's operational, technological systems from threats & security risks.


UAE delegation strengthens business and development links with Norway

posted on 23/05/2017

A UAE delegation has met with leading government and industry figures in Norway to strengthen business and development ties.

A team of government, business and Expo 2020 Dubai officials led by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, met Norway's State Minister for Trade and Industry, Dilek Ayhan, as well as a group of Norwegian business to discuss bilateral opportunities and Norway's potential participation in Expo 2020, the first World Expo to be held in the Arab World and the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, MEASA, region.

Dr. Al Jaber and his Norwegian counterparts also discussed the potential for the UAE and Norway to strengthen their collaboration in the context of international cooperation and development. The UAE views Norway as a key, strategic partner in the delivery of their wider and shared commitments to the global agenda. Expo 2020 Dubai sees the 2020 horizon as a unique opportunity around which to build on strengthened bilateral relations but also as a platform to collaborate together with, and in, third countries.

Dr. Al Jaber said, "The UAE has already fostered strong business links with Norway, a country which shares many of our values and vision, not least working towards a more sustainable future for the world."

"We believe the UAE offers further opportunities for Norway to build business overseas, especially at Expo 2020 Dubai, which will offer all participating nations a unique platform to showcase their commercial and tourism potential, among many other areas. Norway certainly has a lot to offer the world in this respect."

According to a press statement by Expo 2020, the World Expo will be the ideal stage for Norway to connect with the world. Expo 2020 Dubai expects to bring together more than 200 participants, including nations, corporations, NGOs, academic institutions and multilateral organisations. Countries can demonstrate their achievements, share knowledge, win investment, forge trade agreements, attract tourism, build new partnerships and promote international cooperation.

Norwegian businesses can also take advantage of a procurement process that is based on three principles, simplicity, transparency and inclusivity. Anyone from around the world can participate in the tendering process with some 15,000 companies from 123 countries already registered on the procurement site. This year alone, Expo will award contracts totalling in excess of US$3 billion.

Dr. Al Jaber was joined in Norway by, among others, Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, DCCI, Hassan Al Hashemi of DCCI and senior members of the Expo 2020 Dubai team.

Their agenda included a meeting with the Executive Vice President of International Development and Production at Statoil, Lars Christian Bacher. Statoil is the world's 11th largest oil and gas company and according to Forbes, the 26th most profitable company regardless of industry. Statoil shares a focus with Expo 2020 Dubai's key subtheme of Sustainability and last year was recognised by the Carbon Disclosure Project as the most sustainable oil and gas producer in the world.

The UAE party then met leading Norwegian industry figures at Innovation Norway in a meeting held by Kristin Skogen Lund, President of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, NHO. The NHO is a major organisation for employers and the leading voice for business and industry in the country. It has a membership of more than 24,000 enterprises from family-owned firms to multinational companies.

The government-backed Innovation Norway, which also has substantial private industry representation, is the country's most important vehicle for innovation and development of Norwegian businesses. It also markets Norway as a tourist destination and is the Norwegian government's official trade representative abroad.

Norway government chiefs and private enterprises have a strong track record of collaboration with the UAE. For example, Norway has opened a Nordic business incubator at Masdar Institute with Innovation Norway in 2015 as a ‘soft landing zone' for its cleantech companies seeking new business in the UAE and Gulf region.

Dubai is the 10th largest importer of Norwegian seafood and additionally Norwegian shipping and maritime service companies are well represented in UAE.

Norway's residents have the sixth highest per capital income in the world, according to the latest IMF list, and currently ranks No. 1 in the World Happiness Report based on a wide list of financial, social and health criteria.

The UAE party travels onwards to two more Nordic countries, Finland on 23rd May, and Denmark on 24th May, for further meetings with top industry and governmental business figures in those countries.


UAE-UK Business Council holds 11th plenary meeting

posted on 23/05/2017

LONDON: The UAE-UK Business Council held its eleventh plenary meeting on Tuesday, 16th May 2017 at the PwC Head Office in London.

Against the backdrop of the current General Election in the United Kingdom, The Business Council continued to review both the challenges and opportunities presented by the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. The Business Council was keen to ensure that if a UK-GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were to be pursued in the future that business was involved in the process from the start. With that in mind, the Business Council established an FTA Working Group.

In addition to discussing the activities being led by its seven sector Working Groups, the Business Council was interested to hear presentations on Cyber-Security and the UK-UAE Year of Creative Collaboration.

The Business Council has consistently recognised the importance of education across all commercial sectors, so was delighted that two more UK Certification Organisations were today able to sign International Certification Organisation (ICO) agreements with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). This will provide opportunities to UK Certification Organisations to offer British qualifications in Dubai and ultimately facilitate their recognition across the UAE.

Samir Brikho, Co-Chair of the UAE-UK Business Council said, "We remain ready to meet the new challenges and opportunities presented by the UK's departure from the European Union. The ties between our two countries are stronger than ever. Our Education and Training Working Group has worked hard to support efforts on the mutual recognition of qualifications, so it was wonderful to see more such agreements being signed today."

Nasser A. Alsowaidi, Co-Chair of the UAE-UK Business Council noted, "In a changing environment, it is wonderful to see our bilateral relationship go from strength to strength. Education and training underpin our commercial partnerships, so agreements such as those signed today shall undoubtedly play an important role in achieving our bilateral trade and investment target by 2020 and beyond."

Hani Ashkar, PwC Middle East Senior Partner, said, "I am very pleased that PwC was able to host the eleventh bi-annual meeting of the UAE-UK Business Council. We have built a variety trusted relationships in the UAE over many years and advise a wide range of local and international companies on business critical issues. We are delighted to support the ongoing work of the Council to increase bilateral trade and investment."

At its Eighth plenary meeting in May 2015, the Business Council adopted a new target of GBP25 billion of trade and investment per annum by 2020.

The bilateral trade and investment relationship continues to be strong and mutually beneficial. Bilateral trade in 2015 was GBP12.38bn, up from GBP7.5bn in 2009. Outside of Europe, the UAE is the UK's fourth largest trading partner, behind the US, China and Japan.

The Business Council has seven sector Working Groups in Energy, Financial & Professional Services, SMEs, Education & Training, Infrastructure, Healthcare and Manufacturing & Aerospace.


Minister of Economy urges investors to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the UAE

posted on 23/05/2017

In partnership with the Ministry of Economy, the 3rd Annual Angel Rising Investor Education Symposium organised by startAD and VentureSouq saw local and global experts come together to discuss 'Global vs. Local Investing Perspectives' in the context of creating a robust and flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem in the UAE.

The symposium specifically sought to provide education on key topics related to Angel Investing, to demystify investments in start-ups and persuade investors to power the entrepreneurial landscape in the UAE.

Lending his support to the initiative, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the SME Council, said, "The UAE government has made innovation the core of its economic advancement and the road to a knowledge economy. Today, the UAE has the best investment environment in the region and one of the best globally because of its cutting-edge infrastructure, ITC, strong governmental support for all economic sectors and an outstanding partnership with the private sector."

He added, "International investors have been highly successful in setting up their companies in the UAE to serve the entire region, and many of them have become global companies exporting and providing services to 98 countries around the world from their UAE based companies."

According to Abdulla Al Saleh, Undersecretary for Foreign Trade and Industry at the Ministry of Economy, the UAE has a highly attractive and advanced investment environment for international investors and entrepreneurs, especially in technology, industry and innovation due to its competitive economy and legislations.


World Government Summit organisation discusses global progress in forecasting future and developing solutions

posted on 23/05/2017

The World Government Summit, WGS, has discussed global progress in forecasting the future and developing solutions for the expected challenges decision makers have to face in the public and private sectors.

This came during a session entitled, "Future Trends and How to Forecast Them", which was organised to support governments' efforts to forecast and shape a better future for public and private organisations by encouraging members of the UAE-based international organisation to learn and employ advanced skills and tools that allow them to develop future solutions.

The audience at the session included Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of State for Tolerance, Hussein Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, Dr. Ahmad bin Abdulla Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education, Jameela bint Salem Mesbeh Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education and 100 general managers of government agencies and executives from leading national companies in the UAE and the region.

Omar Sultan Al-Olama, Director of the organisation, stressed that this session is part of the organisation's long-term efforts to implement the vision of Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has stated that to successfully shape a better future for a nation, its government must be committed, and equipped, to forecasting that future and proactively implementing measures to mould it to the benefit of its people. Governments must, additionally, plan ahead to anticipate and address future challenges and encourage society to adopt a future outlook.

Al-Olama noted that these sessions position the organisation as a platform for exchanging knowledge and expertise, and developing future-related skills and capabilities. This supports the UAE government's objectives to encourage decision makers across various sectors to become 'future-ready'. These sessions exponentially develop scientific content, he explained, adding that they are key factors in disseminating future-centric knowledge and tools.

Global expert Jeremy Gutsche, Founder and CEO of, was keynote speaker at the session. Gutsche is a best-selling author and one of the most renowned global speakers on the subject of forecasting future trends. is the world's most popular trend spotting website, it has generated more than 2 billion views from 150 million visitors, and has collaborated with over 500 brands and billionaires around the world.

The session shed light on the most prominent trends that stand to shape the future, introducing methods to anticipate them, analyse them, and specify the sectors that will be most affected by them, in addition to exploring effective solutions for the challenges that are likely to face them.


Dubai Future Foundation, Abu Dhabi Vocational Institute sign MoU to promote innovation

posted on 23/05/2017

The Dubai Future Foundation, DFF, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute, ADVETI, to promote innovation and future-centric knowledge to help realise the UAE Vision 2021.

Signed by Abdullah bin Touq, Acting CEO of the DFF, and Dr. Abdulrahman Jassim Al Hammadi, Managing Director of ADVETI, the MoU works to stimulate reading in Arabic by distributing Arabic-language content provided by the Foundation across ADVETI libraries and facilities.

The MoU stipulates that the DFF will draft, design, and provide scientific content that adheres to ADVETI's standards, in addition to delivering weekly e-publications on future sectors via its knowledge platform, The Future Monitor. The Foundation will then distribute the content to the Institute's students and staff via email, while simultaneously working to provide ADVETI with access to the Popular Science magazine, which is being published in Arabic for the first time.

Speaking about the MoU, Abdullah bin Touq said, "Developing students' academic abilities to build the future through knowledge is the cornerstone of the emerging future industry. With that in mind, we have set out to strengthen co-operation with various entities across the UAE in an effort to spread knowledge and provide the youth with scientific insights on the latest technological developments. This, in turn, creates future leaders that are capable of influencing the future.

"This MoU serves a pivotal role in executing the Dubai Future Agenda, which calls for developing co-operation between public and private organisations to hone individual skill sets and promote innovation as a tool to create a better future for our society," he added.

Dr. Al Hammadi too stressed the importance of the MoU, which paves the way for the Institute to develop relationships with various entities across cultural, intellectual, and economic sectors. The agreement promotes innovation among students, creates a stimulating environment, and promotes their talents and expertise, he said.

The MoU also encourages students to read weekly e-publications by The Future Monitor. It will provide them with vast insights on innovation-related research, which will help develop their aptitude and capacity, and empower them to actively participate in future-building efforts, he added.

The MoU tasks the DFF with distributing The Future Monitor's scientific content and material, along with the Popular Science magazine, to over 11,000 ADVETI students and alumni.


26th Silicon Oasis TechForum to highlight Blockchain technology in smart city transformation

posted on 23/05/2017

Dubai Silicon Oasis, DSO, the integrated free zone technology park, is set to explore the significance of Blockchain, a software platform for digital assets, for the future of the UAE economy and its role in creating a true smart city at its upcoming TechForum.

With a focus on the breakthrough technology that streamlines transactions and improves controls across sectors, the 26th edition of the forum will take place on Tuesday at the Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre, Dtec.

Wael Youssef, Director of Digital Solutions at Orange Business Services and Dr. Ioannis Karamitsos, Digital Transformation Technologist at Orange Business Services, will headline a session entitled, ‘Blockchain: A Disruptive Technology for Smart Cities'.

In a follow-up panel discussion, Ramez Dandan, Regional Technology Officer at Microsoft Gulf and Mohammed Alsehli, Co-founder of ArabianChain, will share their insights on how Blockchain is set to transform the digital economy.

Speaking on the impact of the event, Hans Christensen, Director of Dtec and Silicon Oasis Founder at Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, DSOA, said, "This edition of the forum is all about connectivity and knowledge, providing a platform to learn more about the disruptive Blockchain technology and interact with experts from the industry. In line with Dubai's strategic goal of having the first Blockchain-powered government by 2020, the event's topic is especially significant, as the adoption of Blockchain will affect everyone on an individual level."

He added, "The quarterly forum is an essential checkpoint for entrepreneurs, startups, and university students that provides them with a unique opportunity to benefit from the expertise of major industry players."


Emirates Airlines to fly A380 services to Birmingham, Beijing and Shanghai

posted on 23/05/2017

Emirates Airlines announced today that it will be introducing a second daily A380 service between Dubai and Birmingham, beginning 29th October 2017.

Flight EK39/40, currently operated by a Boeing 777, will now be operated by the Emirates A380, adding to the existing daily A380 already operating on the route.

Following the suspension of one of its flights to Birmingham, Emirates has decided to operate the new A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft, which features 615 seats. This means that from October, the airline will operate a twice-daily, all-A380 service to the Midlands.

In another announcement released by the air carrier, Emirates will provide an all-A380 service on its Beijing PEK and Shanghai PVG services when it upgrades the second daily flights, EK308/EK309 on its PEK route and EK304/305 on its PVG route, replacing the current Boeing 777-300ER operations.

The move, effective from 1st July 2017, will increase capacity to both Beijing and Shanghai, offering Emirates passengers even more seamless A380-to-A380 connections between the two Chinese cities and over 30 international points, including 18 points in the UK and Europe, via its hub in Dubai. This upgrade strengthens Emirates' overall mainland China offering, which also includes services to Guangzhou, Yinchuan and Zhengzhou.


UAE launches innovative initiatives to reduce food waste

posted on 23/05/2017

In the presence of Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment held a pre-Ramadan food waste awareness raising event, in cooperation with Winnow Solutions at Majid Al Futtaim's Leadership Institute in Dubai.

The initiative is aimed to raise awareness on food waste in view of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, during which large quantities of food waste get generated each year. The event featured the work of leading chefs in reducing food waste in their kitchens and other initiatives undertaken in the UAE for food waste prevention and reduction throughout the value chain including manufacturers and food processors.

During his speech, Dr Al Zeyoudi said: "We need to work together to find creative ways to address food waste, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan, when we often see an increase in food waste. Much of this will have to come from changing our behaviours."

Al Zeyoudi indicated that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is currently working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to develop a comprehensive food diversification policy framework for the UAE, in consultation with relevant UAE stakeholders.

"Through this partnership, we aim to address the whole food value chain to ensure long-term food security of the country, both imported and domestically produced food, as well as consumption and disposal of food, in which prevention and reduction of food waste is a critical element," he said.

Dr Al Zeyoudi highlighted that the Ministry's contributions to the Year of Giving include two food related projects: First, is the "Fish Box" Initiative which is aimed to collect and re-distribute donated fish from fishermen and fish stalls including confiscated fish to those in need, in collaboration with local authorities.

The second, is the "Sphere Gardens" Initiative to target a total of 28 schools in all seven emirates, and to educate children about growing food. We hope the Sphere Gardens would foster our future generations' appreciation for sustainable food production and to become wise consumers.

Panelists included representatives from the UAE Food Bank, Accor Hotels, ADNH Compass Group, and the Dubai Chamber. The panellists delivered a set of recommendations and urge the hospitality and foodservice industry to take these on board.

Marc Zornes, Co-Founder, Winnow said: "Winnow is excited to be the first company in the region providing a tangible solution to the food waste issue within the hospitality and food service industry. Since beginning our work here in the UAE early last year we are now working with over 30 properties and helping our clients save significant amount of food costs."

There were several recommendations from the event to reduce food waste, including the importance of measuring and monitoring waste; smart-planning in commercial and household kitchens; enhanced efforts and coordination of all key players throughout the food value chain; utilization of all available channels to re-distribute otherwise wasted food; awareness raising from an early age, as behavioral changes take time; appropriate data collection and target setting as part of waste management efforts by relevant authorities.

Dr Al Zeyoudi also honoured Municipality of Dibba Al Fujairah, Municipality of Fujairah, Fujairah Charity Association, Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority, Al Yousuf Motor Co., Al-Yamahi Group for General Contracting, Dibba Fishermen Association and Khor Fakkan Fishermen Association for their active participation in ‘Fish Box' initiative.


Leaders of GCC Countries, US express their commitment to treat roots of Middle East crises

posted on 23/05/2017

The leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, countries and the United States, US, expressed their commitment to treat the roots of the crises in the Middle East.

Their statement came from a meeting yesterday that included both sides in Riyadh from an invitation by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, which highlighted their strategic partnership.

During the meeting, there were discussions regarding regional and international issues of common interest, with an agreed vision about the importance of combining efforts to achieve stability, security and prosperity.

The leaders demonstrated their tangible achievements since the second summit on 21st April, 2016, in Riyadh, including the arrangements to strengthen co-operation between both sides and improve their strategic partnership.

According to the statement, the leaders expressed their commitment for treating the roots of the crises in the Middle East region, as well as taking further urgent steps to intensify their efforts to defeat the Daesh and Al Qaida terrorist organisations, and their opposition to Iranian interference that undermine their stability and decrease the intensity of regional efforts, while striving to find solutions for these issues.

The leaders promoted strengthening the ability of GCC countries to stand up to threats from any origin and to challenge Iranian activities that undermine security, while working together to limit sectarianism and regional tensions that cause instability.

The leaders valued their agreement to establish a centre to target terror funding in Riyadh, which will open its doors to more countries in the future.

The leaders also highlighted the joint working groups that were formed to realise the results of the first summit to defend the region against ballistic missiles, as well as arming, training, fighting terrorism and promoting marine security, cyber security and protecting infrastructure, while facing Iranian interference in the region's affairs.

The leaders stressed their commitment to continue close co-operation between the GCC and the US regarding issues of common interest through meetings of ministers of foreign affairs and ministers of defence from both sides.

The US delegation highlighted its commitment to defend the security of GCC countries against any external threat, while the GCC leaders expressed their commitment to strengthen security co-operation and their joint responsibility against the dangers facing the region.

The US welcomed the establishment of the Islamic Military Coalition to fight terrorism, led by Saudi Arabia, as part of the international war against terrorism. The GCC leaders also mentioned the efforts of the global coalition against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, led by the US, and stressed the necessity of combining efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Iraqi and Syrian refugees and immigrants.

The leaders also expressed their absolute rejection of Iran's continuing interference in the internal affairs of the council's and region's countries and demanded an absolute commitment to the rules of the international law and its foundations, principles and main cornerstones, based on the principle of good neighbourly relations, respect for the sovereignty of countries and not using force or threats. They also demanded that Iran take real and practical steps to build trust and solve its differences with its neighbours in peaceful ways.

The leaders again denounced and condemned the continuing Iranian interferences in the internal affairs the region's countries, considering it a violation of the sovereignty of the council's countries, as well as Iran's attempt to spread dissension and instigate sectarianism between citizens of the GCC, including the Kingdom of Bahrain, by supporting violent extremist elements, training their agents, smuggling weapons and explosives and making various provocative statements to undermine security, order and stability, which negates the principle of good neighbourly relations and not interfering in the internal affairs of countries, based on international principles, laws, charters and conventions.

They then stressed the necessity of Iran's commitment to its Nuclear Arms Deal, and expressed their extreme concern regarding Iran's continuous launch of ballistic missiles as a clear violation of the decisions of the United Nations, UN, International Security Council.

The leaders also expressed their commitment to work together to achieve overall peace between Palestine and Israel, while agreeing to do what they can to provide the appropriate environment to advance the peace process. They also stressed their solid position for maintaining the unity and stability of Syria and its regional safety, and they expressed their support for the efforts of the delegate of the UN Secretary-General to find a political solution based on the Geneva Conference Statement No.1 and the Security Council Decision No. 2254, while highlighting the importance of lifting the siege on Syrian cities, delivering humanitarian aid to damaged areas and besieged civilians, stopping bombings on populated areas and releasing detainees.

The leaders stressed their full commitment to the unity of Yemen and for respecting its sovereignty and independence and refusing any interference in its internal affairs, while highlighting the importance of a political solution according to the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanism, and executing the UN Security Council Decisions No. 2216 (2015). They also expressed their utmost appreciation for the efforts of the special delegate of the UN in Yemen to continue deliberations between Yemeni factions, with the aim of reaching a political solution.

The leaders then stressed their commitment to work with the international community to prevent the ongoing supply of weapons to the Houthi militias and their allies, in violation of the UN Security Council Decision No. 2216, while highlighting the necessity of combining joint efforts to face Al Qaida and Daesh in the Arabian Peninsula.

They also expressed their concern about the Houthi militia's confiscation of humanitarian aid supplies, which has worsened the humanitarian and economic situation in Yemen, while welcoming the results of the Pledging Conference in Geneva on 25th April, 2017, highlighting the speed of fulfilling the commitments offered by the pledging countries.

The leaders expressed their enthusiasm for working together to bring back security and stability in Yemen, and rehabilitating its economy and regaining its public services, after reaching the desired political solution.

The leaders also expressed their hope that the operation to liberate Mosul will result in refugees returning to their cities and villages, and for finding an overall political reconciliation process that brings together the various sects of the Iraqi people without exclusion or bias, answering their aspirations.

The agreement included the strengthening of economic relations and supporting it in different fields, including the commercial, investment, energy, alternative energy, industry, technology, agriculture, transport, and infrastructure development sectors, according to the development visions adopted by the GCC countries.

At the end of the meeting, the leaders agreed to hold an annual summit to demonstrate their progress in executing the agreements from this summit and to foresee any necessary requirements, to strengthen the strategic partnership between the GCC and the US.


Applicants for Emirates Energy Award doubled compared to previous edition

posted on 23/05/2017

The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, DSCE, has announced that it has received double the requests for participation in the Emirates Energy Award, EEA, 2017, compared to the previous edition of the award as it closed its window for applications.

The award is being held under the patronage of Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Experts from the jury will begin sorting and evaluating applications from May to June 2017, before being reviewed by the Technical Committee, and then approved by the Executive Committee of the award.

"Emirates Energy Award 2017, to be held under the theme, "Innovative solutions for clean energy", witnessed a higher than expected participation rate after the number of participants doubled compared to the previous cycle. This is a platform for innovation in the field of energy, which will contribute to the promotion of the clean energy sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice-Chairman of the DSCE, and Director of EEA.

"The award, which is organised every two years, covers the MENA region and focuses on best practices and pioneering energy efficiency projects to establish an international platform for individuals and organisations that will bring together its winners and celebrate their achievements in energy management, efficiency, sustainability and ways to rationalise and sustain energy," added Al Tayer.

"We would like to thank all those who supported this prestigious award at the local, regional, and international levels. We look forward to another achievement in realising the vision of our leadership in supporting and achieving innovation, sustainability, and the green economy," concluded Al Tayer.

Ahmed Buti Al Muhairbi, Secretary-General of the DSCE and Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee for the EEA, noted that the third edition of the award received requests from countries outside the MENA region such as Germany, India, Russia, Finland, the United States of America, Sweden and Portugal.

Al Muhairbi also added that this diversity of applications reflects the importance of the clean energy and energy sector around the world and confirms the quest of humanity to promote the concept of sustainable development.


Sharjah Media Corporation donates AED3 million to treat Syrian refugees

posted on 23/05/2017

In a first-of-its kind initiative by an Arab media organisation, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council and Sharjah Media Corporation, SMC, has announced the donation of AED3 million to The Big Heart Foundation Clinic, TBHF, at Al Zaatari Camp in Jordan, a facility that hosts approximately 80,000 Syrian Refugees.

SMC's donation to the foundation, a Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, follows a visit to the camp by a Sharjah delegation that comprised officials from a number of government organisations.

The delegation was headed by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, accompanied by Noura Al Noman, Chairperson of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi's Executive Office, Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, Hassan Yaqoub Al Mansouri, Director of Sharjah Radio Sector at Sharjah Media Corporation, and Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Government Media Bureau.

The visit aimed to get a closer view of the efforts undertaken by the UAE to alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees through the provision of help and support that aims to fulfil their essential needs, ensure their well-being, give them hope for a brighter future, and erase the painful memories of the past and overcome today's challenges.

TBHF Clinic provides medical and healthcare services to 20,000 displaced persons, comprising primary healthcare to 14,400, reproductive healthcare to 3,000 and nutrition-related services to 2,600. SMC's donation will cover its operational processes for one year, including laboratory tests, medication and medical equipment. The funds will enable the largest number of Syrian refugees to benefit from the clinic's services, saving lives of many who would otherwise not have been able to access treatment outside the camp.

Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, said, "The crisis of Syrian refugees is one of the most tragic human stories in modern history and is one that is relentlessly ongoing. The displacement of hundreds of thousands of people from their country, with the attendant suffering that this has entailed, has imposed huge challenges at all levels. In line with the UAE's direction and the international efforts of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of NAMA, to support refugees and vulnerable people worldwide, we have made this donation to TBHF Clinic. The clinic is the largest facility providing medical and healthcare services to residents at Al Zaatari Camp, which is the temporary home to an estimated 80,000 refugees."

"Operating under the directives of its Chairperson, H.H. Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, TBHF provides comprehensive primary healthcare services to refugees, particularly to children. Since opening, the TBHF Clinic has received thousands of patients, providing them with premium healthcare services and medical consultancy. SMC is delighted to be able to contribute and be part of this noble cause by donating AED3 million to cover the costs of the clinic's operations for one year," he added.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi underlined that since its inception, SMC has transcended the traditional scope of a tv and radio broadcaster by playing an instrumental role in supporting social and humanitarian causes in the UAE and the wider Arab world. He emphasised that this strategy forms part of its mission that aligns with the vision of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

During its visit to the camp, the SMC delegation had the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of TBHF Clinic's services, including its laboratory and clinical tests, the treatment it provides to patients and the vaccinations it offers to children. The delegation was able to observe the clinic's readiness to handle acute as well as chronic cases and commended the great efforts of its staff to alleviate the suffering and pain of patients.

The delegation toured the camp and visited the highest point there where Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi met a number of families and chatted with children to assess their needs and the services rendered to them by the TBHF Clinic. The delegation also visited the camp's Souq, known as the ‘Champs Elysees', where they learnt about types of trade, crafts and professions taken up by Syrian refugees living in the camp.

The delegation also included Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, Erum Mazher Alvie, Senior Advisor of the Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi Executive Office, and Salha Ghabish, Cultural Adviser at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, as well as a number of local media representatives.


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