GCC, Asian ministers in Dubai for labour summit

Ten Ministers and other senior officials from the GCC and Asian countries are participating in the summit, coinciding with Expo 2020. — Supplied photo
Ten Ministers and other senior officials from the GCC and Asian countries are participating in the summit, coinciding with Expo 2020. — Supplied photo

This is the first in-person meeting of senior leaders since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.



by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Tue 26 Oct 2021, 11:52 PM

Last updated: Wed 27 Oct 2021, 6:23 AM

Ministers from the GCC and Asia arrived in Dubai on Monday for the start of a high-level regional summit on labour and migration, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) said on Tuesday.

Ten ministers and other senior officials are participating in the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD), which was arranged to coincide with Expo 2020.

This is the first in-person meeting of senior leaders since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The opening of the sixth ministerial consultation of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue marks the successful conclusion of a two-year UAE chairmanship of the process that has had to be organised under the challenging conditions of a global pandemic,” MoHRE stated.

The ADD was established in 2008 as a forum for dialogue and cooperation between Asian countries of labour origin and destination. It comprises eleven Asian labour sending countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam; and seven Asian labour-receiving countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as Malaysia.

Regular observers include international organisations, and private sector and civil society representatives. The permanent secretariat is provided by the UAE, which is also the current chair-in-office.

UAE and the pandemic

“In order to keep discussions among the member states going throughout the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UAE had to find creative solutions, including the use of online technology and the development of tailor-made platforms for multilateral meetings,” explained the ministry.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the UAE has delivered a two-year agenda that has included eleven research papers from a number of distinguished academics and authors, four workshops for senior officials, a global consultation on labour mobility, and an orientation programme for workers in Bangladesh, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and the UAE.

The summit chaired by Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar, the UAE’s Minister for Human Resources and Emiratisation, will take the opportunity of the meeting to consult with colleagues on a future-focused agenda for GCC-Asia relations that reflects the new economic priorities of the GCC countries, explained the ministry.

Leading preparations for the summit, Abdulla Alnuaimi, assistant undersecretary for communications and international relations said, “This is the first successful post-Covid meeting of GCC and Asian labour Ministers, which is a testament to the measures that the UAE has put in place to enable a summit of this type to take place.”

He added, “With Mobility one of Expo’s main themes, we are confident that the agenda will result in a set of outcomes that pave the way for successful collaboration in the years ahead.”

Pakistan to be next chair

The Pakistan Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, who is leading the Pakistani delegation at the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD), will accept the handing over of the chairmanship to Pakistan during a formal ceremony at the summit. “For the first time, Pakistan has been awarded the chairmanship of Abu Dhabi Dialogue for the next two years, from 2022-2023 due to the efforts of Ministry of Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development,” the Pakistan mission noted. During the summit, the minister will lead the Pakistani delegation to meetings with ministers of prominent state members and also tour Expo 2020 Dubai.

“It is worth mentioning that as a state-led Regional Consultative Process (RCP), the ADD aims to enable safe, orderly and regular labour migration in some of the world’s largest temporary labour migration corridors,” a statement from the Pakistan Consulate read.


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