Dubai - Results of this year's Global Knowledge Index were released at the Knowledge Summit on Tuesday.
The UAE continues to rise in the global ranking of knowledge-based societies, securing the 18th spot out of 136 countries in an index that measures various sectors.
Results of this year's Global Knowledge Index were released at the Knowledge Summit on Tuesday, November 19.
An initiative by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the index measured a total of 136 countries in different sectors. These include pre-university education, technical and vocational education and training, higher education, research development and innovation, information and communications technology, economy, and general enabling environment.
The UAE has moved from last year's rank 19 out of 134 countries to 18 this year. Switzerland took the first place, followed by Finland, the US, and Singapore, respectively. Chad is in last place, Angola ranked 135th, and Mali 134th.
"We hope after one or two years, the UAE will be in the top 10 countries," Dr Hany Torky, the knowledge project director at the UNDP, told Khaleej Times.
"It has a good enabling environment and infrastructure for knowledge and technology. The UAE also has a good knowledge economy. Its economy depends on high-skilled labour and high skills for students. The country also improved the level of its education system. All of these factors led the UAE to the 18th rank in this report."
The UAE retained its second place ranking in the economy category. Singapore was ranked first, Hong Kong was third, and Luxembourg was fourth.
"This year, the difference between Singapore and the UAE was less than the gap last year," said Dr Torky.
"After two years, maybe, we'll find the UAE in the first rank in economy."
It was ranked 12th in pre-university education; 13th in technical and vocational educational and training; and 15th in information and communications technology. In research, development and innovation, the country was in the 33rd spot.
"We hope all Arab countries see and learn from the UAE to achieve a good rank in the Global Knowledge Index and other international indicators," the expert said.
Overall, the country is also leading regionally, in terms of measures for a knowledge-based society.
Low ranking in environment
The UAE continues to receive a low ranking in the environment category, placing 133rd out of 136 countries.
It also got a 132nd rank in the total CO2 emissions per capita section under the environment category.
"All of the oil countries are like this. We need to work more on renewable energy. Now, all the countries in the Arab region, in the Gulf area especially, are working on renewable energy," Dr Torky explained.
"They can't change this in one or two years, it takes time. Knowledge economy and climate change are conflicting each other. Knowledge economy means a lot of trade and, sure, it will affect climate change. We need to make a balance between the two. In all cases, all countries are working towards reducing carbon emissions."
Saudi Arabia has been ranked 132nd out of 136 countries in the environment category and 130th in the total carbon emissions per capita section. Kuwait was on 134th spot, while Oman was 131st.
China is on the 118th spot in environment and the US was ranked 127th.