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New UAE visa; embassy in Israel: Key announcements in 2021's first Cabinet meeting

Abu Dhabi - Several landmark initiatives launched as Sheikh Mohammed chairs meeting.

Sheikh Mohammed chairs 2021's first Cabinet meeting. — Photo: @HHShkMohd/Twitter
Sheikh Mohammed chairs 2021's first Cabinet meeting. — Photo: @HHShkMohd/Twitter

By Web Report

Published: Mon 25 Jan 2021, 11:27 AM

Last updated: Mon 25 Jan 2021, 11:37 AM

The UAE’s first Cabinet meeting of 2021 on Sunday saw the announcement of several landmark initiatives like a new residency scheme, an embassy in Israel and a federal media strategy.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, chaired the meeting and vowed that the “journey of recovery” from the Covid-19 pandemic “shall not stop”.

He expressed optimism that 2021 would be a “different and exceptional” year.

“The UAE is beginning a new decade while continuing its journey of prosperity and leadership, as well as looking forward to accomplishing greater achievements and reinforcing its economic, education, community and health sectors. Nothing will deter us from leading the race to the future,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

Here are the key announcements made on the day.

>> New residency scheme

The Cabinet approved a resolution to allow foreign university students to invite their family members to come to the UAE, as long as they can afford suitable housing. The resolution aims to achieve moral stability, which will support the country’s education sector and reinforce its position as a leading global destination for work and study.

“We have approved some amendments to our national residence and citizenship procedures by allowing foreign students to sponsor their families, providing they can afford it,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“We approved changes in the residency and nationality procedures in the country by enabling foreign students to bring their families whenever they have the financial means. The UAE has become a regional educational destination with more than 77 universities and tens of thousands of students annually.”

>> UAE Embassy in Israel

The Cabinet approved the establishment of an embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel.

>> UAE Media Strategy

It will be overseen by the UAE Government Media Office and comprises key initiatives aimed at strengthening the country’s position and reputation both regionally and globally.

This is in light of the recent media attention the country has seen, when it came to its efforts to address the Covid-19 pandemic; the launch of the Hope Probe to Mars; the operation of the Barakah Peaceful Nuclear Power Plant; and the signing of the peace accord between the UAE and Israel.

“The year 2020 was a pivotal one, as the country received significant global attention, which required a different approach,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“The UAE is ranked 18th in soft power indexes and 11th in terms of influence and is among the most active countries in the global scene. We will handle the international media with confidence, boldness, credibility and transparency, and we need to have a clear approach to address the new media, which has become influential.”

The strategy will intensify the role of government communication within the federal authorities; reinforce the concept of partnership; cooperation and integration between national media authorities; establish partnerships with global media entities; and manage the country’s reputation and its achievements within local and international media coverage.

It will also create a digital media environment capable of keeping pace with rapid changes and interacting with the world.

>> Emirates Tourism Council

It would be chaired by Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, to strengthen the tourism portfolio. It will draft a tourism strategy in line with the nation’s aspirations and the UAE Centennial, and integrating all relevant local authorities and departments.

The council will be responsible for suggesting and revising policies and legislation that will support the tourism sector and national development plans. It will also support the growth of tourism industries; attracting investments; suggesting economic incentives to encourage the growth of the sector; establishing a comprehensive national tourism information database; and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) involved in the sector.

“Today, we approved the establishment of the Emirates Tourism Council, to coordinate, market and support national tourism plans. The campaign titled ‘World’s Coolest Winter’ highlighted the importance of working as one national tourism team and we aim to enable our youth to benefit from tourism opportunities around the country,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

The council’s members include the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing-Dubai, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, the Ajman Tourism Development Department, the Umm Al Quwain Department of Tourism and Archaeology, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and the Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority.

>> Federal Government Public Debt Strategy

The 2021-2023 strategy is in line with the current approach of the government to improve its financial planning, achieve financial sustainability and create a competitive economy based on knowledge and innovation.

The strategy is a general framework for motivating the national financial and banking sectors, by consolidating the UAE Investment Authority’s portfolio, establishing a bond market in the local currency and providing financing alternatives.

“Our goal is to establish a bond market in the local currency, provide financing alternatives for the federal government’s development projects, and strengthen the country’s financial and banking sectors,” Sheikh Mohammed stressed.

>> Circular Economy Policy

It is a comprehensive framework for determining the country’s approach to achieving sustainable governance and the ideal use of natural resources. This will be done by adopting consumption and production methods that ensure the quality of life for current and future generations.

“Our objectives are clean production, sustainable transport and consumption and efficient waste management, to protect the environment and generate new economic opportunities. We have also established a federal circular economy council to implement this strategy,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

The policy comprises several key objectives, including promoting environmental health, supporting the private sector in adopting clean production methods, and reducing natural environmental stress, to achieve the country’s vision to be a global pioneer of green development.

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