he UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has dedicated the Year of Giving along with all its initiatives and activities to the UAE martyrs in memory of their heroic deeds and in appreciation of their sacrifices.
The President's directive aims to instill the values of generosity and selflessness, which the martyrs exemplified, across the nation.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan made the announcement during an extraordinary meeting of the UAE Cabinet held at the Wahat Al Karama memorial site in Abu Dhabi. 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, Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, were in attendance.
During the meeting, the Cabinet reviewed and approved the National Strategy for the Year of Giving, calling on all stakeholders to contribute towards making it a success. The National Strategy represents a comprehensive framework to activate, support, institutionalise and sustain humanitarian efforts in the UAE at all levels. Its main goal is to transform giving into a sustainable habit in line with the country’s ranking as the most generous nation in the world.
On this occasion, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: "Our martyrs paid the ultimate sacrifice for our dear homeland, and their heroic deeds will live forever in the memory of the nation. Let us dedicate the greatest and noblest charitable efforts of the UAE and its people to those who gave their lives for this country. While keeping the memory of our martyrs and heroes alive, we seek to instill and sustain the habit of giving across the nation."
For his part, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: "Dedicating the Year of Giving to the UAE martyrs is the greatest motivation to step up our efforts towards fulfilling its goals. The UAE was established in the spirit of giving and is led by people who love to give."
"Having His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan with us reminds us of the legacy of the founding father of the UAE, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who led our cabinet meetings and spurred every member of the government to achieve more," he added.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid hailed the National Strategy as a noble plan to sustain charitable efforts of the UAE and its people. He stressed that everyone is a partner in this responsibility, and noted that in line with the UAE’s history of giving, the strategy aims to build a sustainable practice of giving in the new generations.
He continued: "The beginning of the Year of Giving coincided with the sacrifice of Emirati martyrs who lost their lives in a terrorist attack while on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan. The people of the UAE have proven their willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of giving. They deserve our utmost admiration, and we call on everyone to celebrate the memory of these heroes with their own acts of generosity."
Praising the choice of venue to announce the National Strategy, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said: "The Cabinet meeting at the martyrs’ monument marks an important day in the history of our country and sends out a message that underlines the solemnity of the sacrifice of the UAE’s martyrs."
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: "Far from being new to the UAE, charity and generosity are deeply rooted values that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had reinforced since the birth of the nation. Today, the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan continues in his footsteps, spearheading the humanitarian efforts of the UAE with the support of the country’s leadership and its people."
He added: "When we think of these values, we recall the sacrifices of the UAE’s martyrs in the performance of their national and humanitarian obligations. Therefore, we can hardly find a more fitting cornerstone of the National Strategy for the Year of Giving than the example of our martyrs."
Earlier this year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum called for establishing a strategic and organisational framework for all Year of Giving activities in line with the objectives established by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Following his directive, the National Strategy for the Year of Giving was formulated based on the outcomes of the Giving Retreat held in Dubai in February 2017, which drew the participation of more than 100 national dignitaries. The retreat discussed the challenges facing humanitarian efforts and reviewed ideas to institutionalize and coordinate humanitarian work in the UAE while making it an essential part of the country’s development process.
The National Strategy comprises 1,000 initiatives and strategic projects. Supervised by Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future and Chairman of the National Committee for the Year of Giving, it encompasses six tracks.
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, is in charge of the corporate social responsibility track that will also span the collaboration between the public and private sectors. The volunteer work track falls under the remit of Najla bint Mohammed Al Awar, Minister of Community Development. Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation, oversees the humanitarian organisations track. Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of the National Media Council, is responsible for the media track. Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, heads the legislative system and government policies track. Finally, Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazroui, Minister of State for Youth, is in charge of the track related to serving the nation.
Each of the six tracks represents a specific objective. The first track aims to reinforce the concept of corporate social responsibility in the private sector and consolidate its role as a key partner of the government’s efforts to achieve sustainable development. The second track promotes the spirit of volunteerism in the UAE through launching specialized volunteering programs among various segments of society. The third track enhances the desire to serve the nation through emphasizing the responsibility of individuals to contribute to the prosperity of the nation. The fourth track supports the development of humanitarian organizations in the UAE. The fifth track seeks to establish a comprehensive legislative framework to enhance the governance of charity work with the ultimate goal of ensuring the sustainability of humanitarian and charity activities. The purpose of the sixth and final track is to leverage the role of the media in supporting the Year of Giving and promoting its initiatives.
At the Cabinet meeting, the ministers responsible for the strategic tracks presented the key initiatives of the National Strategy for the Year of Giving, highlighting their importance in promoting the concept of giving at the individual, institutional and community levels. They emphasised the importance of institutionalising humanitarian work and enabling it through concerted efforts in the public and private sector alike. In addition, they stressed the importance of investing in human capacities and channeling expertise, skills and competencies for the benefit of the UAE’s national economy and society at large.
With its set of objectives, initiatives and KPI’s measuring individual and institutional contribution, the National Strategy for the Year of Giving is the first of its kind in the region. The National Strategy is also unique in its approach to attracting youth and opening a host of opportunities to serve the nation in 100 different areas.
In collaboration with the ministries overseeing the six tracks of the National Strategy, the Public Diplomacy Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future established teams that conducted several comparative studies and suggested ideas to contribute to the achievement of the overall vision of the Year of Giving.