Khalifa: People the real wealth of country
By Ahmed A. Elewa, Staff Reporter / GULF NEWS
Published: August 02, 2007, 00:33
Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan yesterday said the vision of Abu Dhabi is to continue to create a confident, secure society and to build a sustainable, open and globally competitive economy.
The government of Abu Dhabi yesterday launched a new policy agenda for the future development of the emirate in general and the government in particular in the presence of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Sup-reme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Shaikh Khalifa said in a statement: “The Federation of the United Arab Emirates has relied, and will continue to rely, on the rich and diverse contributions of its true wealth, its people, to guarantee prosperity. In order to fulfill its important role in that success, the emirate of Abu Dhabi will continue to work towards its own comprehensive, multifaceted vision.
“That vision is to continue to create a confident, secure society and to build a sustainable, open and globally competitive economy.
“To ensure the realisation of that vision, our government has prepared a policy agenda that reflects the vast array of integrated initiatives that are currently being implemented and that will be implemented in the future, to achieve sustainable development.”
The new agenda specifies in detail, the objectives and projects for the different government departments for 2007 and 2008.
“We have been for some time discussing with all government departments to materialise this agenda which represents a vision or a plan for the coming period and the role of the different departments in this plan,” Shaikh Mohammad told reporters yesterday.
“For the people of Abu Dhabi, the publication of a comprehensive policy agenda will provide unprecedented understanding of the priorities and plans of the government.
“For the private sector, the initiatives outlined in this agenda represent huge opportunities to operate in new sectors that were previously the traditional realm of the government.
“For citizens and residents, the policy agenda signals a new era in accountability, transparency and government performance,” Shaikh Mohammad said.
“The creation of a clear and publicly available government policy agenda will also further strengthen Abu Dhabi’s ability to attract inward investment,” he added.
General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council announced the Policy Agenda for Abu Dhabi.
“What we avoided in setting this plan are typical third world practices of setting plans and ending up in wasted effort and money, in short this agenda focuses on providing teamwork according to a unified vision and a set timeframe,” Shaikh Mohammad said.
The agenda also strengthens the concept of accountability, as all targets will be reviewed quarterly.
“For a long time now, it has been typical that government officials and executives are always reluctant to speak to the press, or avoid commenting on anything.
“This has changed from now on, as the principle of accountability entails that the government opens up to the media, which will provide a barometer for progress,” Mohammad Ahmad Al Bowardi, Secretary-General of the Executive Council, said.
The transparency and teamwork, in addition to the set targets all come within the framework of enhancing the government performance up to the best international practices.
“We are setting the best practices of the best five governments worldwide as our benchmark, as we intend within five years to be among the top five as well,” he said.
The plan stipulates the outsourcing of all non-core government activities to the private sector.
“The government will shift completely to its planning and core activities, while the private sector will step up further in sectors like handling solid waste, management of parks which is already happening,” explained Khaldoun Al Mubarak, member of the Executive Council.
The 83 page agenda consists of 18 independent policy statements providing detailed analysis of the government’s plans in areas as diverse as: planning and economy, energy, tourism, health, education, labour, civil services, culture and heritage, food control, urban planning, transport, environment, health and safety, municipal affairs, police and emergency services, electronic government, women, and legislative reform.
The Policy Agenda 2007-2008: The Emirate of Abu Dhabi, is the first comprehensive policy agenda of its kind to be published in the region. It sets clear priorities and articulates detailed plans for each portfolio of government in Abu Dhabi.
The policy agenda is the result of 12 months of intensive work involving all government departments, and is characterised by a deliberate focus on facilitating coordination and collaboration between the entities of government in Abu Dhabi.
The agenda outlines the numerous areas in which interdepartmental coordination is required, and provides a whole-of-government snapshot of the Abu Dhabi public sector in action.
The policy agenda contains a statement of commitment to deliver on the emirate’s ambitious vision for the future, which was signed yesterday by each member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, demonstrating their commitment to accountability.
It is intended that the government’s policy agenda will be updated and published annually or as required. Policy Agenda 2007-08: The Emirate of Abu Dhabi will be distributed to all government departments and authorities immediately, and is universally available online for download in Arabic and English from the Abu Dhabi Government portal at www.abudhabi.ae.
Abu Dhabi to launch specialised body
The government of Abu Dhabi plans to launch soon a specialised body to deal with and handle all the property and housing related issues to streamline the sector within the scope of a single authority, Khaldoun Al Mubarak, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, revealed yesterday.
“Housing has a top priority within the policy agenda, and within the coming few months a new body will be launched to manage this sector according to the best practices,” he said.
The principle of accountability set by the new policy agenda represents a first step towards incorporating the public in the government process according to Mohammad Ahmad Al Bawardi, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
“We will evaluate the progress periodically and update the plan according to new goals or targets set by any government entity in a transparent manner. Such transparency provides for accountability on various levels, between the executive council and the different departments, and through the media as well,” he said.
“This represents a step towards setting elections at the local level in our gradual approach to the subject matter, following the footsteps of the federal government, where partial elections are already in place,” he added.