His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced on Wednesday the UAE Strategy for the Future, a comprehensive roadmap that will take the nation to the next era of development.
Launched under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the long-term strategy will steer the nation’s transformational growth by identifying the needs and challenges of the future, addressing them through impactful long-term plans, and successfully leveraging new opportunities for all-round development.
The strategy was launched in the presence of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future.
Ratified by the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, the UAE Strategy for the Future will be implemented in three phases – short, medium and long-term – each with clear benchmarks and performance indicators.
As part of the strategy, future prototypes for sectors including healthcare, education, social development and the environment will be developed.
These will form the basis for governmental policymaking.
The strategy also focuses on building national human competencies in all the key sectors, strengthening international partnerships, and developing specialised R&D labs that will evaluate future challenges and opportunities.
Under the new strategy, planning for the future will become a mandatory part of the operations of government departments. Future scenario reports on key sectors will be published, which will serve as a benchmark for developing governmental plans and policies.
A number of innovative initiatives will be rolled out as part of the new strategy. Every government department will have a ‘Director of the UAE Strategy for the Future,’ who is mandated with driving future planning. This makes the UAE the first government in the world to have such a position within all its departments.
A dedicated educational institution will be established for driving predictive analysis and future development models, with UAE delegations to visit leading international universities to learn about the best practices in future planning.
The UAE Cabinet will issue regular reports on the future developmental needs, trends and models, which will serve as a referral point in governmental planning.
"As a nation, we have always been forward-looking and planning for the future, which has been a key driver of our success.
"The UAE Strategy for the Future is our new approach to planning for the future by predicting, analysing and implementing highly effective action plans that accelerate development," said Sheikh Mohammed.
He continued: "The strategy serves as the referral point for governmental departments to adopt proactive future planning to usher in an even more prosperous tomorrow for our current and future generations.
"To achieve its goals, we must work together and share responsibilities. With our future planning model, we will serve as a model for the world.
"The citizens of the UAE are our most important resource in building our future. To nurture their skills, we will strengthen education and training initiatives."
He said that in a rapidly evolving world, government departments must abandon typical thought-processes that are now obsolete or irrelevant.
"We need a new mindset that is focused on the future," he continued.
Sheikh Mohammed said he will personally monitor the government departments to evaluate their commitment to the new strategy, adding: "We will shape the future of the UAE through this forward-looking strategy."
Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, asserted that the new strategy reflects the vision of Sheikh Mohammed to form a unique model for the Government of the Future in the UAE, with clear and strategic short-, medium-, and long-term goals.
"The short-term is the future we’re living today as part of the UAE Vision 2021 and the course of the next five years," he continued.
"The medium term strategy will focus on planning for the period between 2021 and 2026; by then, led by the success of the short-term future planning, the government would be even more responsive and adaptable to future changes.
"The long-term strategy goes beyond 2026, and we will commence work now to both foresee and build the future of the nation."
"The UAE Strategy for the Future will serve the government in addressing any shifts in global trends efficiently, and in identifying the challenges and opportunities.
"This will be followed-up with scientific planning to evaluate the future scenarios, and implementing appropriate policies and action plans," he added.
The strategy is centred on three main pillars: new operational model for the government, building national capacity, and setting strategic priorities for the future, each of which will include tasks to be implemented within a specific timeframe.
All the plans, initiatives, and policies will be developed on the basis of scientific studies of the future.
In driving the first pillar, a future-focused thought process will be adopted across all government agencies.
Each government department would then set scenarios for the future, and turn them into developmental initiatives.
These authorities will work in groups for specific sectors, and evaluate the variants that affect future trends in economics, society, and technology on a global and regional level.
The Ministers in charge of the different departments will lead the charge in implementing future-focused plans.
They will encourage strategic thinking, provide guidance, and support the strategic planning by conducting studies and laying out scenarios for their respective sectors.
The ministers will share insights on the future of the respective sector at the Cabinet meetings.
The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and The Future will play a supporting and coordinating role, strengthening efforts, initiatives, projects, and policies for individual government departments, and monitoring their progress.
The Ministry will also work to establish a future-focused culture as a government directive, enhancing awareness and cementing the UAE’s position as an international hub for future-planning for governments.
The UAE Strategy for the Future will cover the future of capital and the youth; the future of technology and smart software; the future of sustainability, environment, and climate change; the future of infrastructure and transportation.
It will also cover the future of healthcare; the future of education; the future of sustainable development; the future of happiness and positivity; the future of energy; the future of the economy and commercial security; the future of financial resources; the future of the government and government services; the future of international relations and politics; the future of food and water security; and the future of electronic security.
To drive the second pillar of building national capacity, the government will work to establish a robust organisational infrastructure to invest in national cadres.
The basics of foreseeing the future will be included – in a simplified manner – in school curricula.
Specialised delegations will be dispatched to train qualified nationals for future planning, and related material – designed exclusively for the UAE Government – will be published, and the subjects will be taught in national universities.
As part of the third pillar of setting strategic priorities for the future, ministers will work to turn their ministries into a prototype of the ministries of the future, and represent the country as "Ambassadors of the Future", reflecting the UAE’s pioneering position in future-building.
Through this pillar, the government will also work to establish the UAE as a global destination for sustainability and the future.
This is set to be achieved through various initiatives, and knowledge-exchange platforms (such as The Government Summit), as well as new initiatives including annual conferences for the "future councils" of the world. The government will also forge strategic partnerships with future-based forums, platforms, and networks of experts and universities in the UAE and abroad.