UAE adopts National Space Policy
In a UAE cabinet meeting chaired by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a National Space Policy has been adopted for the country, which is being hailed as the most important element in the national plan to develop the space sector.
The Space Policy is rudimentary for driving the entire sector forward within the framework of the UAE National Agenda, part of the UAE Vision 2021.
The UAE is working towards a stable and diversified economy, flexible enough to adopt new models and benefit from international economic partnerships.
Sheikh Mohammed said that the UAE is taking pioneering steps towards not only joining the international space exploration community, but also competing with established players in the field before the country’s Golden Jubilee in 2021.
Addressing the cabinet, he explained that the UAE’s ambitions in the field fall in line with the vision of its founding fathers.
The meeting was chaired at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, and attended by His Highness Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, and His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
"We have a strong economy, solid infrastructure, national competencies, and other accomplishments enabling us to enter the space race in time for our Golden Jubilee," Sheikh Mohammed said.
"The nation’s founder had incredible foresight when he hosted a delegation from NASA in 1976 in an effort to send a clear message to his people and the people of the region and the world that our Emirati and Arab ambitions know no limits, and to draw a roadmap for the UAE to build on our ancestors’ knowledge in astronomy, navigation, and space."
He added that the UAE now operates more than six satellites and invests over Dh20 billion in space technology.
"Our ambition is limitless and we are working tirelessly to realise it. We have the largest regional space transportation operator, the largest international companies providing satellite insurance services, an adequate legislative and regulatory environment, and a variety of research centers, all of which aim to ensure the wellbeing of our people and the world."
Sheikh Mohammed added: "Our goal is to build a strong and sustainable Emirati space sector that supports the interests of the nation and its vital sectors.
"A sector that serves to diversify the economy and develop the UAE’s scientific prowess and the culture of innovation."
The National Space Policy seeks to underline the vital role of the space sector as a catalyst in the development process.
It introduces the UAE Government’s approach, priorities and ambitions in the space sector and stresses the need to coordinate national efforts and channel them towards achieving the UAE’s interests in this sector.
The Policy will be translated into a national strategy that includes a number of initiatives and national programmes.
The policy is also expected to have both a direct and indirect influence on many vital sectors in the country, including international cooperation, as it will increase partnerships on the regional and international levels in the space sector, and channel the space-sector efforts to serve the national interests (safety, security, and disaster management), in addition to reinforcing the UAE’s pioneering role in the space sector.
From an economic standpoint, the policy will enhance the space sector’s contribution to the diversification and development of the national economy as it encourages and attracts foreign investment, in addition to supporting and promoting the exploration and management of the UAE’s natural resources, and creating high-skill-level jobs.
The environment also stands to benefit from the National Space Policy, which will strengthen national capabilities, and boost global information exchange in the areas of climate monitoring.
The policy will have social impact as well; as it will raise awareness and research capabilities relevant to the space sector and the universe, in addition to instilling a culture of innovation and a sense of national pride in the government’s programmes and achievements.
The technology effects of the policy can be seen in the acquisition and transfer of knowledge and advanced technologies in the country, as well as the establishment and development of advanced technologies and qualified national human resources, in addition to boosting national research and development centres.
In addition, the cabinet created the UAE Council for Climate Change and the Environment, to be in charge of formulating the country’s policy and strategies on climate change, environmental issues, and sustainable development, as well as developing plans towards achieving them and represent the UAE in regional and international negotiations related to the scope of work of the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment.
The Council for Climate Change and the Environment will create partnerships with the private sector and conduct studies and lead scientific research in fields related to the Ministry’s work.
During its meeting, the cabinet also adopted a number of Decrees and Federal Laws at the legislative level that included the issuance of a Federal Law on Bankruptcy, which aims to strengthen the legal sustainability and attractiveness of the investment environment in the UAE, and to increase the ease of doing business.
This will have a positive impact on the national economy enabling it to adapt to changes, and support businesses to achieve optimum performance, thus driving economic growth.
The cabinet issued a Federal Law regarding the use of digital technology in criminal procedures, as well as a Federal Law regarding the amendment of Federal Law No. 06 for 2007 regarding the establishment of a committee to organise the work of the insurance sector.
It ratified the Paris Agreement for Climate Change in line with the strategic plans of the UAE and the UAE Vision 2021.
This step will enable the UAE to benefit from the exchange of expertise and technology necessary to diversify the economy and build developing nations’ capacities to help curb global warming.
The Agreement supports the UAE government’s pioneering role in fostering the use of clean energy and limiting the effects of climate change, all the while underlining its efforts in the environmental field on a global scale by means of the initiatives it has launched, as well as through ratifying the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1995 and the Kyoto Protocol in 2004.
At a regulatory level, the cabinet approved a number of Decrees regarding the restructuring of the boards of directors in each of the following entities: The Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime, headed by the Minister of Infrastructure Development; Emirates Post, headed by Mohamed Sultan Al Qadi; the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, headed by Dr. Mohamed Matar Salem Al Kaabi; and the Coordination Council for Higher Education and Scientific Research of Federal Higher Education Institutions, headed by the Minister of Education.
The cabinet also adopted the final financial statements for Emirates General Petroleum Corporation, Emarat, for the fiscal year ending on 31/12/2015, as well as the annual report of the National Committee for the Implementation of the International Humanitarian Law for 2015, and the report on Human Rights Action Plan.
As for international relations, the cabinet decided to grant Chinese citizens visas on arrival at the UAE’s airports in an effort to strengthen ties with China as one of the UAE’s strategic partners.
The cabinet ratified and signed a number of agreements including an agreement between the UAE and Qatar governments regarding air transport, and two similar agreements with the governments of Saint Vincent and the Grenadine Islands, and The Republic of Macedonia.
These agreements come in support of the UAE’s efforts to boost its international stance and consolidate its amicable relations with countries around the world.
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