UAE leaders announce 2020: Towards the next 50

By Eudore R. Chand

DUBAI 15 December 2019: Year 2020 will be the year of preparations for the next 50 years, according to the leadership of the UAE.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, declared “2020: Towards the next 50”. It will witness the biggest national strategy to prepare for the coming 50 years on the federal and local levels.

The year 2020 will involve all segments of the UAE society in shaping life in the UAE for the next 50 years and preparing for the country’s Golden Jubilee celebrations of 2021.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid issued directives to form two committees:

  • The 50-year Development Plan committee, chaired by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, is tasked with building a comprehensive development plan for the next 50 years. Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future will act as his Deputy on the committee.
  • The Golden Jubilee celebrations committee, chaired by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and his deputy H.H. Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The 50-year Development Plan committee aims to make the UAE the fastest and most flexible and adaptable government to future changes. The committee is also tasked with involving all segments of the society in shaping life in the UAE for the next 50 years.

It will draw a new economic map for the UAE and developing exceptional projects and policies to make giant leaps in the national economy. It will also work on cementing the soft power of the UAE and establishing media systems to share the country’s new story with the world, bringing economic and social returns that protect its gains and enhance opportunities in the new economy.

Among the committee’s responsibilities is developing vital sectors including health, education, housing, transport and food security across the country to increase future readiness.

The committee will also develop a comprehensive vision of the UAE society in the next 50 years that adapts demographics, family life and cultural identity to a rapidly-changing world. Part of its responsibilities involve fostering the values of productivity and passion for progress to prepare the new generation for challenges and aspirations of the country in the next 50 years.

Golden Jubilee celebrations committee will manage and organise exceptional celebrations to mark the significant milestone in the history of the UAE.

The committee will be tasked with governing the Emirates’ Golden Jubilee celebrations, developing a comprehensive preparation plan and forming teams to organise events and activities to mark the country’s 50th anniversary in 2021. It will also involve all segments of the society in the preparations for the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Part of the committee’s tasks will also include involving the private sector in the preparation and execution of exceptional celebrations to mark the Golden Jubilee and developing plans to strengthen the global outreach and impact of the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The committee will compile a record of the country’s achievements since the federation and preserving these records for future generations. It will also involve embassies across the country in the preparations and executions of the Golden Jubilee celebrations to promote the UAE’s global image.

The committee’s responsibilities involve setting comprehensive mechanisms to coordinate events and activities of the Golden Jubilee celebrations on the federal and local level, developing local and international media plans to share the UAE’s journey of 50 years and invite regional and global media to take part in the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Giant Leaps

In a series of tweets, Sheikh Mohammed said, “Today, we announce 2020: Towards the next 50. We shall develop our plans and projects and reinvent new ideas. 50 years ago, the founding fathers shaped our life today, and next year, we will shape the coming five decades for the future generations.”

He added, “In 2020, we will work on making giants leaps in our economy, education, infrastructure, health, and media to share the UAE’s new story with the world. Together, we will build the Emirates of the future in 2020 with the winning spirit of the union, a spirit that strives for progress. Our development journey has no end.”

Sheikh Mohammed reaffirmed, “Together, we will build the Emirates of the future in 2020 with the winning spirit of the union, a spirit that strives for progress. Our development journey has no end.”

He emphasised, “we will work together as citizens and residents across all sectors towards the next 50. United, we can make significant changes and raise our aspirations.” He noted, “we want 2020, the year before our Golden Jubilee, to be reminiscent of 1970 when a new journey was being drafted for this nation.”

He concluded, “I lived through the formation of the union in 1970 and I will oversee the formation of the next five decades in 2020. We established two committees to prepare a comprehensive 50-year development plan and oversee the Golden Jubilee celebrations.”

He added, “we are united by team, united by spirit, united towards a promising future.”

Rising Hopes & Inspirations

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said, “The UAE is about to mark a major milestone in its modern history as it approaches the Golden Jubilee with rising hopes and aspirations to strengthen its cultural position in the journey of humanity.”

He added, “With the willpower and unity of our people, we will work tirelessly to achieve our goal in making the UAE among the best countries in the world by the UAE centennial in 2071.”

Sheikh Mohamed pointed out, “In 2020, we will coordinate efforts, deploy possible resources and strengths and deepen our community partnerships to lay the foundations of a significant phase in the journey of our development. We will draft a new chapter in our economic, social and rapid development race.”

He noted, “Citizens and residents who form our society are all active partners in building a developmental and cultural model of the Emirates of the future.”

He stressed that “the achievements we witnessed over the past five decades that gained widespread admiration across the world were the outcome of massive efforts, determination and dedication. We need to double the effort over the next five decades to meet our rising ambitions in an era that poses tougher challenges, fiercer competitions and rapid global transformations.”

He reaffirmed that “such mission places a huge responsibility on every individual in the UAE and entails hard work and perseverance over the coming decades.”

He added that the “way towards making the UAE among the best countries in the world by 2071 requires special focus on preparing sectors across the country to the post-oil era and building a knowledge-based economy based on innovation, science and modern technologies. Top priority of the national work within the next 50 years will be placed on investing in talents and capabilities, strengthening our system of values based on tolerance, openness and coexistence and preserving our national heritage, customs and traditions. We will also dedicate our efforts to remain at the forefront of the global competition and lay strong foundations for the sustainable development of the coming generations.”

He said, “Given the significant role of 2020 in preparing for an unprecedented developmental leap, the UAE’s readiness for the next 50 years does not start today or next year. Rather, it goes back to the long-term developmental plans, visions and strategies established and implemented throughout different phases of the country’s history. Today, we continue preparing and foreseeing the future and building a strong foundation to meet our goals with full confidence and persistence in a rapidly-changing world.”

Turning Point

Declaring “2020: Towards the next 50” comes at a turning point of the UAE history as the country prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary of its union in December 2021. The UAE’s Golden Jubilee marks a major milestone that calls for renewing the country’s development model.

Institutional efforts across the country will be coordinated and innovative expertise, talents and capabilities will be harnessed in designing new systems for the next 50 years. A social vision will be created to ensure the involvement of all society segments in shaping the country to be the most advanced land that embraces the highest quality of life across the world.

Development Journey

Preparing necessary elements and resources to achieve goals of the UAE Centennial through 2020: Towards the next 50 is reminiscent of the pre-announcement phase of the 1971 federation. In the run up to the UAE’s first milestones, the UAE founding fathers deployed necessary resources to overcome numerous challenges and continue marching forward.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid lived through and actively participated in the formation of the union. He attended the February 1968 meeting where both the then-Ruler of Dhabi Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and then-Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum first announced their intention to form a union, leading up to the country’s federation in December 1971 after a series of meetings and negotiations.

The union resulted in forming the UAE as a country of the future with the one goal and vision to serve the interest of the youth and adopt persistence, strength and wisdom in fighting challenges and threats as the main principles that drive the development journey of the country.

The young country then embarked on an intensive journey of advancement and progress through implementing plans and strategies to meet people’s needs in the fields of education, health, economy, society and culture. In a few years, the region’s most comprehensive and advanced service sector, especially in education and health, was developed.

The country also created the region’s most attractive and efficient business environment, formed an effective media system and provided incubators for innovation. The UAE also dedicated huge investments in technology to become a leading incubator for digital and smart technologies, exceeding expectations in its rapid speed of development.