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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

UAE a model for dynamism at a time of global uncertainty

The UAE is fully aware that change is an important part of life. And a good government is responsive to the challenges and dynamics of the modern world.

The changes to the federal Cabinet come at a time of uncertainties in the broader world, as oil prices continue to fall and economic growth around the globe stumbles. At such fraught times, the UAE has responded with a model of dynamism of its own. Dynamic governance is important because it creates and sustains institutional vitality to confront unexpected challenges.

In his book, Dynamic Governance, Prof Neo Boon Siong says that “no amount of careful planning can assure a government of continual relevance and effectiveness if there is no capacity for learning, innovation and change in the face of ever new challenges in a volatile and unpredictable global environment”.

The UAE today has fewer ministries, but more ministers in new and diverse fields. Now, we have Ministers of State for Happiness, for Tolerance and for Youth Affairs, as well as a Minister of Climate Change and Environment. Such changes, if implemented properly, can lead to more efficiency and transparency in the crucial work of governance.

I was fortunate enough to attend several sessions of the World Government Summit this week and heard some very profound discussions . One of the most important concepts brought up was inclusive governance. It’s clear that governments can cope with today’s challenges only by engaging all citizens.

One notable highlight of yesterday’s Cabinet changes is the emphasis they placed on two groups: women and young people. The country now has 29 ministers, eight of them women. The average age of the newly appointed ministers is a youthful 38.

But women’s empowerment is not something new for the UAE. We have long supported the increasing role of women in public life, through the Federal National Council and across all government organisations.

What is even more remarkable is support for youth. Our leaders appreciate that the young can play a vital role in building a new world. They can bring fresh ideas and participate earnestly in public discussions and policy making.

The newly appointed Minister of State for Youth Affairs is 22-year-old Shamma Al Mazrui, who is highly educated and holds degrees from Oxford University and New York University Abu Dhabi.

In addition to that, the establishment of the Youth Council to “represent the aspirations and affairs of the youth before the Government” in itself shows that the country is putting great faith in young people. The country’s leadership is serious about engaging this group, cleverly distilling lessons from others who faced problems as a result of neglecting their own youth.

I’ve been following the hugely positive reaction from social media users in the UAE. Emirati society is clearly supportive of the new developments and looking forward to a brighter future.

Indeed, the recent changes should be embraced and celebrated. Because how would governments evolve without constant change?

aalmazrouei@thenational.ae

On Twitter: @AyeshaAlmazroui