Strong management of COVID-19 outbreak repercussions reduces economic impact of global crisis on Dubai

DUBAI, 30th June 2020 (WAM) – Dubai Statistics Center (DSC) said today that the real gross domestic product at constant prices of the Emirate of Dubai showed a 3.5% decline in the first quarter of 2020. The emirate’s GDP registered a dynamic growth rate of 2.2% in 2019.
The impact of the current worldwide crisis on Dubai in the first quarter of the year was less compared to some of the world’s major economies, DSC noted. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects a 4.9% decline in the global economy in 2020, in contrast to a growth of 2.9% in 2019. Advanced and developing economies are expected to decline by 8% and 3% in 2020 respectively while Middle East and Central Asia are expected to contract by 4.7% in 2020 compared to 1% in 2019.
Key sectors of the Dubai economy continued to maintain their dynamism in the first quarter. Real estate, finance, manufacturing and the government sector retained their growth momentum in Q1 2020.
Arif Al Muhairi, Executive Director of DSC, stated, “Dubai’s economy witnessed healthy levels of growth in 2019. It was expected that in the first quarter of 2020, the economy will experience a decline due to the global impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.”
“The worldwide restrictions on movement for individuals through air, sea, and land entry points, as well as the unprecedented intensification of precautionary measures, which limited the flow of freight across borders, had significant repercussions on international trade and the global economy.
“Being a central player in international trade and a vital global passenger transit hub, Dubai’s economy was affected by these exceptional circumstances,” he added.
However, thanks to the advanced infrastructure and capabilities of Dubai’s economy and the flexibility of its strategic decision-making system, it has successfully managed the global crisis and reduced its impact when contrasted with other economies, he said.
Adaptability to global circumstances
Given the larger global economic reality in 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, Dubai has shown continued dynamism and resilience and proven that it can adapt to unforeseen challenges.
In 2019, Dubai’s GDP reached AED407.42 billion, a rise of 2.2% from 2018.
“Dubai’s competitive markets and its efficient economy stimulated demand. This boosted the productivity of its various economic sectors and advanced overall growth in 2019,” said Al Muhairi.
The dynamic growth in economic activities in 2019 reflects the flexibility of the economy and the leadership’s ability to formulate sound policies to stimulate economic progress in Dubai, despite the global economic environment.
Al Muhairi said that trade, transport and storage activities contracted in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019. Though trading activity declined by 7.5% in the first quarter of the year, it retained its status as the largest contributor to the emirate’s economy, accounting for 23% of total GDP. Transport and storage activities declined by 5.5% but remained one of the highest contributors to Dubai’s economy accounting for 12.1%, placing it just behind the trading sector. While the sector benefited from the significant decline in operating costs, such as aviation fuel cost, the decline was not enough to make up for the dip in revenues.
The Executive Director of DSC considered the decline a natural result of the current global economic environment, given that the transport and storage sectors play a crucial role in supporting other economic sectors and directly support regional and international trade and the travel sector. He noted that strong policy measures enabled Dubai to minimise the negative impact of the crisis on these two strategic sectors.
Al Muhairi revealed that Dubai’s 2019 GDP growth was driven by the performance of trading activity, which achieved a growth of 2.7% in 2019. Trade contributed 26.6% of Dubai’s total GDP and 32% of total economic growth in 2019.
“The strategic and historical importance of trade in Dubai’s economy, the continuous focus it receives, and the supportive policies and services that enhance its performance enable trade to account for the largest share of the emirate’s economy,” Al Muhairi said.
In 2019, transport and storage activity ranked second in terms of its contribution to the economy. The sector registered a growth of 5.9% and contributed approximately 12.8% of Dubai’s GDP and nearly 33% of total growth achieved in 2019.
“Transport, shipping, warehousing, and other support services are indispensable and fundamental in facilitating the movement of trade between the world and the region via Dubai. The emirate’s exceptional infrastructure enables Dubai to play a vital role as the main gateway for the flow of goods between the region and the world.”
The accommodation and food services sector (hotels and restaurants) was among the other major set of economic activities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of this year, declining by 14.8% from the same period in 2019. The sector contributed 5.1% to the overall economy of the emirate. The decline was expected given the movement restrictions in place during the height of the lockdown as well as the prohibition of foreign and domestic tourism and the temporary closure of hospitality establishments. In countries across the world, this sector has suffered a steep decline.
As for 2019, the accommodation and food services sector’s performance was in marked contrast to Q1 2020. The sector achieved a growth of 3.6% in 2019, accounting for 5.1% of Dubai’s overall economy. Its contribution to economic growth increased by 8.2% in 2019 from the year before. Through events, promotions, and festivals, visitors to Dubai spent longer periods in the emirate. A deeper look at activity in the sector showed that arts, entertainment, and recreation activities grew by 3.9% in 2019. This demonstrates the interdependence between Dubai’s various economic activities and the cross-sector impact of promotional strategies.
Unlike other sectors, real estate activity registered a growth of 3.7% in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019, contributing 8% to the overall economy and pushing it higher by 0.27 percentage points. These figures show how sustained dynamism in the real estate sector has helped to mitigate the impact of the global crisis on Dubai’s economy.
2019 figures show that the real estate sector achieved a growth of 3.3%, accounting for 7.2% of Dubai’s real GDP or a value added of AED29.4 billion compared to AED28.5 billion in 2018. This represented a 10.7% contribution to Dubai’s overall economic growth.
Al Muhairi stressed that Dubai provides excellent world-class infrastructure and logistics services and an attractive legislative and administrative system for real estate investment. The performance of the sector is measured through rental transactions, the margins achieved in sales and purchases and the commissions recorded through real estate brokerage.
Dubai’s health sector declined by 3.7% in Q1 2020 due to the need to allocate the majority of health resources to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas the education sector recorded a growth of 1.1% during the same period as a result of the continuation of the educational process through online learning.
The productive sectors (agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, and electricity) grew at a modest rate of 0.34% in 2019. Together, their growth accounted for 3.1% of total growth. In Q1 2020, these activities witnessed a slight decline of 0.5% but contributed 20.9% to Dubai’s overall economy. The modest dip can be attributed to the fact that they are classified as vital sectors and the impact of preventive measures on them was minimal. These vital sectors remained active during the lockdown since they played critical roles in securing the needs of the society and supporting precautionary measures and business continuity plans of vital facilities.
The finance and insurance sector recorded a positive trend registering a slight growth of 0.3%, despite the challenging global economic conditions. The growth can be attributed to the fact that it is a vital sector whose technical capabilities contributed to reducing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that it managed to provide services remotely without direct communication between customers and service providers during the period of movement restrictions. The sector contributed 11.6% to Dubai’s overall economy in Q1 2020. In 2019, financial and insurance activities achieved a growth of 0.7%, accounting for 9.9% of Dubai’s real GDP in 2019.
The UAE Central Bank’s data indicated that the credit balance of all UAE banks witnessed a growth of 5.6% in 2019 to reach approximately AED1.6 trillion. An analysis of credit data shows that 21% of the credit volume was for personal and consumption purposes, which contributed to boosting the purchasing power and demand for goods and services. Meanwhile, 19.5% of this credit balance was devoted to the construction and real estate sector compared to 9.6% dedicated to trading activity.
According to data revealed by the UAE Central Bank, total internal deposits of all UAE banks increased by 6.9% in Q1 2020. Non-resident deposits rose by 3.7%. Corporate deposits accounted for 37% of total deposits, while individual deposits accounted for 26%. These deposits show that UAE banks are capable of responding to credit demand and promoting economic development by providing financing.
The UAE Central Bank’s quarterly review shows that the volume of banking sector credit extended to residents grew by 4% in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019. This distribution of credit among economic activities is similar to that of 2019. Relief measures rolled out by banks for individuals and companies in line with government directives contributed to easing the financial impact of the global COVID-19 crisis on families and organisations.
Al Muhairi also revealed that the public sector registered a growth of 0.6% in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019. The sector accounted for 5.1% of Dubai’s real GDP. The role played by the public sector was significant in mitigating the impact of the global economic crisis experienced in Q1 2020. In 2019, the public sector grew 0.2% and contributed 5% to Dubai’s real GDP.

Ground station opens to track satellite built by AURAK students

RAS AL KHAIMAH, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — A ground station that will track and communicate with a satellite built by American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) students has opened on the University’s campus.
The ground station is capable of communicating with satellites in orbit by sending commands and receiving telemetry, images and science data back from them.
The satellite project is a collaboration between the UAE Space Agency, AURAK and Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KUST).
Among those present at the opening of the ground station were AURAK’s President, Professor Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim, Senior Vice President and Provost, Prof. Stephen Wilhite, Acting Vice President of Operational Excellence and Financial Management, Dr. Mohammed Saqr Al Zaabi, and Interim Dean of the School of Engineering, Dr. Hamed Assaf.
“The ground station was fully built by AURAK engineers and students. The station will be used to communicate with MeznSat, the university’s first nanosatellite. The ground station will also be used by faculty and students to track and receive data from other satellites,” said Dr. Abdul-Halim Jallad, Director and Assistant Professor, Center of Information, Communication and Networking Education and Innovation (ICONET).
“The opening of the AURAK Satellite Ground Station is another achieved milestone on the path of AURAK becoming a major hub in the area of space engineering in the UAE and the region. With the addition of the satellite ground station, the space lab at AURAK is now fully equipped with all major resources required to build and operate nanosatellites which also includes an ISO 7 cleanroom and other satellite ground support equipment,” Dr. Jallad added.
The satellite is scheduled for launch on a Soyuz-2 rocket from Russia in September 2020. When the satellite is in orbit, students will process and analyze the data from the newly opened ground station on the AURAK campus.
“I’m really proud of what our team and students, led by Dr. Jallad, have achieved so far. It’s an achievement for the country, not only for the university or the Emirate, and it shows how much this country, the United Arab Emirates, has advanced in this sector, education,” Professor Hassan said. “And now with the government emphasis on space, not only has an astronaut been sent into space, but there is also a satellite 100% manufactured in the UAE that is going to go into space.”
The MeznSat Nano-satellite is designed to detect greenhouse gas concentrations from orbit. Using a visible camera as well as a shortwave infrared spectrometer, it will measure the abundance and distribution of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It will also provide information on the concentration of nutrients in the coastal waters of the Arabian Gulf. This will allow more accurate predictions of algal blooms and support the timely implementation of precautionary measures.
MeznSat is the first student-built scientific satellite in the UAE. The project aims at providing the UAE space industry with qualified well-trained graduates through hands-on experience, while at the same time opening up opportunities for advanced space-oriented research relevant to the UAE.

Mohamed bin Zayed raises value of prizes of 16th Liwa Date Festival

ABU DHABI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, ordered those concerned to raise the value of prizes and increase the number of categories of the 16th Liwa Date Festival.
The festival, which will be held from 17th to 23rd July, 2020, in Liwa, Al Dhafra, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee-Abu Dhabi, will offer prizes valued at over AED8.2 million.
The directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed highlight the significant support of the UAE’s leadership for palm trees, fruit farms and local farm owners.
Major General Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Commander-in-Chief of the Abu Dhabi Police, ADP, Member of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Committee, praised the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed to raise the value of prizes and increase the number of categories of the festival.
He added that festival reflects the approach of the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his words, “Give me agriculture, I guarantee you a civilisation.”
Al Mazrouei thanked President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for their keen support to the cultural schemes aimed at preserving heritage and traditions.
He also lauded the continuous following up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, and expressed appreciation to H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, for lending patronage to the event.
He stressed that the current edition of the festival will be limited to date and fruit competitions without visitors, to protect public health and the safety of participants and employees, in light of the exceptional conditions witnessed by the entire world.
Issa Saif Al Mazrouei, Deputy Chairman of the Committee, said that the festival’s organising committee added four new categories with 60 prizes this year, upon the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed.
The organising committee will distribute an e-brochure to farms owners and participants, which will explain all precautionary conditions, dates, categories and registration requirements, in addition to prize schedules and details, jury rules and results.

Hamdan bin Mohammed announces conclusion of Phase One of Dubai 10X

Dubai, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation, DFF, said that Dubai 10X has achieved massive leaps in disruptive government services, empowering government employees with the skills to accelerate progress.
In the first phase of the initiative, Dubai has developed a futuristic system to position itself as a leading city in introducing innovative projects and solutions that can positively transform society.
His Highness said that by adapting innovative services and strategies to address rapid changes, Dubai 10X has disrupted the status quo and enabled government entities to embrace technology and future foresight. Agility, risk taking and the ability to embrace change have made Dubai one of the top cities in the world, he added.
His Highness’ comments came during his visit to DFF’s headquarters in Emirates Towers.
He was also accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group; Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Managing Director of DFF; and several government officials, directors and senior corporate leaders from across the UAE.
Sheikh Hamdan announced the conclusion of the first phase of the Dubai 10X initiative that featured disruptive projects launched by several government entities in Dubai.
He stressed the importance of following up on the efforts made through the projects and the wider initiative to build on the quality of government work. This initiative realises the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to establish Dubai as a pioneer among global cities in deploying emerging technologies to create advanced government services and a new model for government excellence.
Sheikh Hamdan emphasised Dubai 10X’s role in promoting collaboration, knowledge sharing and best practices to accelerate disruptive projects and solutions. In doing so, they aim to enhance competitiveness across various vital strategic sectors and rely on ambitious teams to review challenges and develop projects to meet future needs.
He was briefed on the progress of projects approved for the second phase of Dubai 10X. He also viewed the updated version of an online platform dedicated to monitor the progress of diverse projects in the second phase.
His Highness said: “We are proud of the efforts of all those who contributed to the Dubai 10X initiative that was launched to harness the drive and will power of our local talents and to instill a culture of innovation in government work. We have great confidence in continuing to work as one team to achieve the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for Dubai to become a leader among the world’s cities.”
During the meeting, Lieutenant-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-chief of Dubai Police presented an update on the Oyoon project, launched by Dubai Police with the support and participation of the governmental, semi-governmental and private sectors. By deploying modern technology, the project is working to develop an integrated security system that helps prevent crime, reduces traffic accident related deaths, prevents negative incidents in residential, commercial and vital areas and facilitates a prompt response to incidents even before they get reported to the command unit.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority presented an overview of Digital DEWA, the digital arm of DEWA. The project served to showcase DEWA as the world’s first digital public utility to leverage autonomous systems for renewable energy and its storage, expansion in AI adoption, and the provision of digital services.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed had approved the first phase of Dubai 10X projects at an event held during the 6th World Government Summit in February 2018 in Dubai and directed its completion within 24 months.
His Highness said: “We commend the efforts of all employees and government entities who have successfully achieved this milestone in the Dubai 10X initiative. The race continues and the challenge is big, but we have immense faith in our teams. We will work together to achieve society’s happiness Dubai.”
On this occasion, Sheikh Hamdan launched a comprehensive report by the Dubai Competitiveness Office, DCO within Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, DED, on the competitiveness of all the projects approved in the first phase of the Dubai 10X initiative.
The report aims to measure the projects across 98 associated competitiveness indicators and examine their impact on enhancing Dubai’s global competitiveness across 11 major domains. These domains include government regulations, development and use of information and communications technology, business and trade ecosystem, education and innovation, environment and sustainability, technology and development, security and safety, and community welfare and culture.
DCO’s technical team held extensive meetings with Dubai 10X teams to develop a comprehensive vision and define a methodology to verify the competitiveness of these projects and measure their impact based on global competitiveness indicators.
The report’s authors applied the methodology and simulated the impact of each project to highlight the project’s role in promoting Dubai on a global level.

Ministry of Health and Prevention carries out more than 63,000 additional COVID-19 tests, announces 421 new cases, 490 recoveries, and one death

ABU DHABI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — The Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, has announced that it has conducted more than 63,000 additional COVID-19 tests.

In a statement, MoHAP outlined its plans to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to aid in the early detection of COVID-19 cases and to help the UAE’s medical professionals carry out necessary treatment for all patients.

As part of the intensified testing campaign, the Ministry said 421 new coronavirus cases had been detected, bringing the total number in the UAE to 48,667.

The new COVID-19 patients are from various nationalities and remain in a stable condition while receiving all necessary care.

MoHAP also announced one fatality as a result of COVID-19 complications, taking the total number of deaths in the Emirates to 315.

The Ministry expressed its sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and wished all COVID-19 patients undergoing treatment a speedy and full recovery.

MoHAP added that an additional 490 individuals have now fully recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the UAE to 37,566.



UAE reaffirms support for Syrian people at Brussels IV Pledging Conference

ABU DHABI, 30th June 2020 (WAM) – Represented by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, the United Arab Emirates participated in the Brussels IV virtual pledging conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region,” organised by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office, ECHO, and the United Nations with representatives of states and national and international organisations.
The conference aimed to mobilise additional humanitarian and development funds to support the Syrian people in Syria and neighboring countries, with more than 6 million displaced Syrians living outside the country and another 11 million in need of humanitarian aid across Syria.
Reem Al Hashemy reaffirmed the UAE’s commitment to supporting the Syrian people in times of crisis, particularly as they face the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. She acknowledged the efforts of medical staff devoted to performing their duties despite a shortage of equipment and resources that places them at grave professional risk.
This shortage, she continued, requires us all to extend a helping hand to compensate for this lack of equipment and medical supplies.
Moreover, Al Hashemy extended her gratitude to the event organisers, notably the European Union and the United Nations, and recognised their consistent efforts to address the Syrian crisis.
She added, “The UAE values the firm commitment of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office to address humanitarian crises in countries neighboring the UAE and for its vision for the region, especially in responding to the Syrian crisis.”
After ten years of conflict and suffering in Syria, she noted that the UAE has been a longstanding supporter of the Syrian people, having provided over USD 1 billion of emergency humanitarian and development aid since 2012 to Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Greece, in addition to those internally displaced within Syria.
UAE aid has included the provision of healthcare and the construction of field hospitals and refugee camps such as Mrajeeb Al Fhood a joint Jordanian-UAE camp providing assistance, protection, and social services which currently runs at $30 million.
The UAE, along with its partners the US and Germany, contributes to the Syria Recovery Trust Fund, SRTF.
She concluded her remarks by underscoring that the UAE believes that a political solution is the only manner of ending the Syrian crisis and fully supports UN efforts in this regard.
It is worth noting that the previous three Brussels conferences included many stakeholders in the international community and aimed to revive dialogue and back UN efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2254. In addition, previous conferences offered donors the opportunity to announce pledges in support of the Syrian people.
Last year, the Brussels pledging conference mobilised a record 6.2 billion Euros in pledges for 2019, in addition to 2.1 billion Euros for 2020 and beyond.

FNC expresses gratitude, appreciation for support of UAE’s leadership

ABU DHABI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — During the conclusion of the 13th session of the first ordinary session of its 17th legislative chapter, held remotely today, 30th June, 2020, the Federal National Council, FNC, expressed its gratitude and appreciation for the constant support of the UAE’s leadership.
During the session, chaired by Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the FNC, Federal Decree No.94 for 2020 issued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was recited, stipulating the dismissal of the FNC’s first ordinary session. “The first ordinary session of the FNC’s 17th legislative chapter will be dismissed on Tuesday, 30th June, 2020, and the FNC Speaker shall implement this decree, which will be published in the official gazette,” the decree stated.
“The ideal relationship between the FNC and the government, which is based on mutual respect, partnership, cooperation, positive interaction and permanent coordination, has been and will always be our objective,” Ghobash said, thanking the government on behalf of the FNC for cooperating in discussing draft laws.
“We have all served this parliamentary establishment as one family, to serve the nation and its citizens and continue the country’s success in practising an advisory approach. The challenges faced by the FNC in completing its duties are in light of the exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but our persistence in overcoming these conditions enabled us to perform our duties. The FNC held 13 public sessions remotely totalling 48 hours, which resulted in the discussion of 16 draft laws, 15 of which were approved, as well as discussions on services provided by telecommunications companies, 44 questions, 62 international agreements, 19 law decrees and three federal decrees,” he added.
Ghobash also noted that FNC committees held 167 meetings totalling 531 hours, with the participation of 72 government authorities and 303 experts.
He then pointed out that statistics show that the FNC’s office held nine meetings exceeding 38 hours, which discussed topics related to regulation, legislation and monitoring, as well as the FNC’s administrative, financial and development affairs and political role.
The FNC’s parliamentary division participated in an urgent meeting of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, as well as meetings of the Parliamentary Union of OIC Member States and remote meetings of the Arab Parliament, and received many delegations from friendly countries, he added.
The FNC Secretariat-General prepared 264 studies related to draft laws to support the legislative work of FNC committees, and presented 221 studies and research papers on public topics to support the FNC’s monitoring role and 36 explanatory notes on questions raised by the FNC, Ghobash said in conclusion.

Coronavirus: EU to allow in visitors from 14 ‘safe’ countries

BRUSSELS, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — The EU has named 14 countries whose citizens are deemed “safe” to be let in from 1 July, despite the pandemic – but the US, Brazil and China are excluded, the BBC reported.
The Council of the European Union today adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. Travel restrictions should be lifted for countries listed in the recommendation, with this list being reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks, an EU press release said.
Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, as from 1 July member states should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries.
On the current “safe” list, still likely to be amended, are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations.

Tadweer makes significant contribution to national disinfection program

ABU DHABI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — The field and administrative teams at Abu Dhabi Waste Management Center, Tadweer, have made a significant contribution to the national disinfection program throughout its run.

To support the program, the centre deployed a 792-strong task force daily which worked alongside other leading entities participating in the program and achieved several outstanding results.

Over the program’s 90-day run, Tadweer teams carried out intensive disinfection operations daily at the areas identified by its emergency plan to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the emirate. The teams covered vital areas frequented by the public such as markets, commercial centres as well as the medical facilities that generate medical waste related to COVID-19 screenings.

Overall, Tadweer teams completed 712,800 hours of operations as part of their daily disinfection schedule. They cleaned and sanitised 229 areas and neighbourhoods using the latest equipment, technologies, and disinfectants that are safe for both humans and the environment and are approved by relevant domestic and international authorities.

To ensure positive results from the drive, 1.08 million litres of disinfectants, at an average of 12,000 litres per day, were used in both deep and regular sanitizations.

Furthermore, 99,000,000 litres of water, or a daily average of 1.2 million litres, was used in the cleaning and sanitization of different sites and facilities.

To support the field teams, Tadweer also provided 136 vehicles and equipment that contributed to the success of the operations. A total distance of 188,100 kilometres, or an average of 2,081 kilometres per day, was covered in the drive.

Dr Salem Al Kaabi, General Manager of Tadweer, said, “Tadweer’s efforts have significantly contributed to the containment of the pandemic in record time. Since the beginning of the outbreak, we have stepped up the efforts of its field teams and provided them with all necessary equipment and materials to ensure the completion of the operations safely and seamlessly across the emirate.

“Tadweer’s teams will continue to be on the frontlines of efforts to ensure the safety of the community until the pandemic is completely over. In our collective fight against the novel Coronavirus, our field, administrative and executive teams are inspired by the unwavering resolve and the steadfast support of our leadership that spares no effort to ensure the welfare of everyone living in the country despite the challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19,” Al Kaabi added.



IPU launches anniversary book on International Day of Parliamentarism

GENEVA, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — On 30 June, on the third edition of International Day of Parliamentarism, the IPU concluded its 130th anniversary year with the publication of a book outlining its achievements over the past 13 decades and including contributions from dozens of its Member Parliaments.
The IPU was founded in Paris on 30 June 1889 as the first political multilateral organisation in the world, encouraging parliamentary cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Since that first meeting of a small group of parliamentarians from just nine countries, the IPU has grown into the global organisation of national parliaments with 179 Member Parliaments and 13 Associate Members.
“The IPU has lived through a century of major wars and humanitarian disasters, and today it has been plunged into one of the most serious global pandemics in history,” said IPU President, Ms. Gabriela Cuevas. “In the midst of this crisis, authoritarian temptations are there for all to see. We must not forget that our institution is founded on the existence and defence of democracy. Our current challenge is therefore even more important: not only to promote and develop democracy, but to return to our roots, not least to combat authoritarianism.”
The anniversary book describes the IPU’s milestones in promoting peace, democracy, human rights, gender equality and parliamentary diplomacy over the past 130 years. It also mentions more recent IPU goals to empower younger parliamentarians and to mobilize parliaments around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The book contains inputs from dozens of the IPU’s Member Parliaments on their contributions to the IPU and parliamentarism as well as their vision for the future development and role of the organization.
“The International Day of Parliamentarism is a timely occasion to honour the pivotal role of Parliaments in giving people a voice and influence to shape policy,” said United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres in a video message. “As a former Parliamentarian, I am deeply conscious of the responsibility and privilege of representing people and delivering on their aspirations. Parliaments have a special duty to advance human rights and promote sustainable development. More than ever, the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of these vital tasks.”
“This pandemic is changing our world beyond recognition,” said IPU Secretary General, Mr. Martin Chungong. “It is hammering our economies, destroying jobs, and exposing our inequalities. And we still have massive challenges to come. How will this crisis affect trade, globalization, and economic production, for example? How will we take care of those who have lost their jobs? As we celebrate the IPU’s anniversary and International Day of Parliamentarism, I remain convinced that parliamentary democracies do a better job of answering those questions than any other system.”
In the past 12 months, Member Parliaments celebrated the IPU’s 130th anniversary milestone in various ways.
This year, despite the pandemic, IPU Members have also found creative ways to celebrate International Day of Parliamentarism

Dubai Customs organises regional interactive anti-drug workshop

DUBAI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — Dubai Customs joined the world in observing the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is observed on 26th June every year.
The government organisation held a regional interactive workshop under the auspices of Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director-General of Dubai Customs, which aimed for more knowledge and experience exchange, and more cooperation in fighting illicit trafficking.
The Federal Customs Authority, the Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices, RILO, in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Customs, local customs departments and more than 200 participants took part in the online workshop, which was facilitated by Khalil Saqer bin Gharib, Director of the Corporate Communication Department.
The workshop discussed the recommendation of Dubai Customs to connect the GCC countries with a unified risk management system, which, if implemented, will foster security and unify the efforts against illicit trafficking in the region. Hazardous shipments will be tracked and intercepted more efficiently with such a unified system.
“The success of the first workshop urges us to organise it annually on the same date,” said Khalil Saqer bin Gharib, Director of the Corporate Communication Department. “These events help us exchange expertise and knowledge on different methods used by smugglers, and feed the information banks of the GCC customs organisations with the latest technologies and methods of fighting this danger and intercepting high-risk shipments.”
This year’s theme “Better Knowledge for Better Care” is an expression of the International efforts and determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
Munira bint Khalid Al Rashid, Director of RILO, stressed on more exchange of intelligence information around customs seizures in cooperation with the local offices. She said there are three local offices in the UAE in the Federal Customs Authority, Dubai Customs and Abu Dhabi Customs.
Ahmed Abudallah Al Eisa, Director of the Control Center at Saudi Customs, said the coordination between customs authorities in Saudi takes place at the highest level to ensure safety and protect the society from the hazards of prohibited materials.
Huda Hamid Abdulla Belhoul, Director of Risk Management Department, Federal Customs Authority, said, “Complicated smuggling methods are one of the main challenges that customs authorities face nowadays, which urges us to have more cooperation in this regard,” she said.
Belhoul revealed that customs authorities thwarted 39 percent of seizures in the UAE in 2019.
Mohammed Al Hamli, Acting Manager of Investigation Section at Abu Dhabi Customs Authority, called for more cooperation between customs authorities and the RILO office to fight illicit trafficking and securing the borders.
Mohammed Ibrahim Al Raisi, Director of Khatm Melaha Customs Center in Sharjah Customs, talked about their role in fighting drug smuggling using the latest technologies and professional teams.
Khalid Ahmed, Senior Manager of Dubai Customs’ Passenger Operations Department at Dubai International Airport, Terminal 1, said training of inspection officers and continuous development of skills is a priority. The Department made 476 drug seizures in 2018, 1,222 seizures in 2019 and 360 seizures in Q1, 2020.
Fuad Al Swaidi, Senior Manager of Jebel Ali and Tecom Customs Center, said the different departments and sections of Dubai Customs work together as one team which have thwarted many smuggling attempts including 5,715 million captagon pills and 53,760 lyrica pills.

Dubai Economy engages with over 1,574 firms, 10 business groups to gauge COVID-19 impact and enhance resilience

DUBAI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — Dubai Economy has remained at the forefront of addressing the challenges faced by businesses and the economy of the emirate in general in pursuance to the preventive measures relating to COVID-19. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Dubai Economy continued its efforts in ensuring business continuity and competitiveness in the emirate and strengthening Dubai’s economic resilience, in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who said: “We have entered a new stage, the stage for a gradual return to economic life. Every person is responsible. All institutions and sectors are involved in protecting their staff. Health will remain a priority and responsibility. Returning the wheel of the economy is strategic and necessary.”
Around 1,574 firms took part in an impact survey hosted by Dubai Economy’s single business engagement platform EngageDXB polling the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and for a programme to assess the future economy. The purpose was to identify the challenges and repercussions of the pandemic within a short span of time and ensure the flexibility and sustainability of the emirate’s economy through consultations and maintain continuous engagement with ten business groups comprising over 2,000 companies.
Proactively moving to assess the challenges ahead, Dubai Economy launched a business impact survey in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic in Dubai through which about 1,324 companies took part across three stages, distributed as follows: 702 companies in the first stage during March, 251 companies in the second stage during April, while the third phase of the survey included 370 companies during May.
The survey, still underway, set out to explore various aspects, such as the size of the COVID-19 impact on businesses and employees alike, the role of economic incentives in supporting business continuity, and future prospects as well as expectations of companies and their readiness to deal with the crisis. Companies and businesses were evaluated based on their size, type, and nature of investment; revenue; top three concerns at present; changes in human resource management policies; layoffs; changes in employee salaries; corporate financial flows; sales; and awareness of the situation as well as changes taking place beyond COVID-19.
Interacting actively with the business community and understanding their challenges and impact as well as finding innovative solutions for them are the focal points of Dubai Economy’s efforts as people and businesses in the emirate are preparing for the post-COVID-19 phase.
Among the 370 companies surveyed in the third phase, 67 percent were micro-firms, 21 percent were small companies, 4 percent medium-sized companies, and 8 percent were large companies. Business owners/CEOs accounted for 87 percent of survey participants, managerial & supervisory personnel 11 percent, and experts, advisors, and consultants 2 percent.
Foreign investors accounted for 30 percent of total participants in the third stage, and, sector-wise, 32 percent came from retail and wholesale, 14 percent from food and beverages (F&B), 11 percent from trading, 10 percent from services, and 6 percent each from the real estate, tourism & events, and ICT sectors. The remaining were distributed across various sectors, including finance, construction, education, manufacturing, and others.
The responses received identified the nature of incentive plans and initiatives needed in the emirate, which in turn will optimally assist companies in restarting growth and developing strategies that will also contribute to overall economic recovery. The next stages of the survey will continue to monitor and measure the business impact during each stage of the market re-opening as well as identify the required precautionary measures.
Dubai Economy has also been using online platforms to sustain and accelerate its Business Community Engagement during the pandemic crisis. Representatives of 10 business groups with over 2,000 Companies in the retail, foods, automobile, wholesale textile & garment, banking, and manufacturing sectors have been engaged to seek feedback on the challenges and the way forward. Dubai Economy also met with business representatives to discuss concerns and co-develop the safety guidelines and protocols that are ensuring the safe re-opening of businesses. Consultations have been held with 52 Shopping Malls, 16 Retailers, 20 F&B manufacturers, five food aggregators, and five banks.
Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, CEO Corporate Strategic Affairs in Dubai Economy, commented: “We have an active Business Community Engagement programme in place to serve the interests of the various business groups and councils. We listen to feedback and ideas to improve our economy, especially as the COVID 19 crisis has further strengthened the engagement process, where both the business community and Dubai Economy have consulted each other to share ideas and feedback. Our digital engagement through EngageDXB has strengthened and enabled us to reach out to the business community instantly to hear and work on recommendations to resolve on-ground challenges. EngageDXB will be the business engagement platform for the economy to sustain public and private sector relationships.”
EngageDXB is the first virtual platform created by Dubai Economy to collaborate and engage with the business communities in the emirate. In line with Dubai Government’s aspirations to facilitate business and community outreach, EngageDXB introduced new enhanced features and services, including engaging polls and idea pooling, where all businesses and residents of Dubai are encouraged to share their sentiments, ideas, or suggestions on initiatives that can be introduced to improve overall social and economic well-being in the emirate.
All the latest guidelines and circulars from Dubai government entities can also be found on the EngageDXB website to help businesses stay well-informed on COVID-19-related regulations.
Dubai Economy is also engaging with businesses to understand their future-readiness and resilience based on an assessment framework established by the Future Economy Department. Under the programme, 250 businesses have already been engaged, and with businesses stepping into a post-COVID-19 future, innovative product and services, new business models, and new economies are emerging that will be critical for businesses to thrive in the new normal.
For more information, to take the surveys, and to register on the EngageDXB application, log in to

Nature and wildlife thrive in Abu Dhabi amid ‘Stay at Home’ measures

ABU DHABI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, has been observing the impact of “Stay at Home” measures on wildlife and nature in Abu Dhabi.
These extraordinary circumstances of reduced human and vehicle movement, as well as decreased business and industrial activity have allowed the EAD to gain fresh insight into how these factors affect wildlife as part of the EAD’s continuing efforts in conservation and monitoring.
The EAD found that wild animals and plant life have been thriving due to reduced human activity because of the Abu Dhabi government’s restrictions on movement.
In urban areas, a large number of mountain gazelles were spotted close to the golf course on Saadiyat Island. Reduced movement and a decrease in noise and light pollution have allowed the animals to roam freely with ease. Birds have also been returning to residential areas as a result of people being at home and feeding them.
Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of the EAD said, “During this period, we have recorded improved air quality, with a significant decrease in nitrogen oxide levels in Abu Dhabi. The decreased pollution levels across the emirate is further supported by our recent biodiversity survey that reveals a healthy and thriving ecosystem. We have been observing and monitoring key indicator species such as turtles, dugongs and birds, in line with our Biodiversity Adaptation Plan.”
In Jebel Hafit, a female Arabian Tahr has been sighted at the base of the mountain for the first time. This species is typically present only at higher altitudes of the mountainous area. Three nests belonging to the diminutive owl species were also discovered at Jebel Hafit. Due to lower levels of noise pollution, and high levels of rain recorded this year, more plant growth and diversity have also been documented.
Meanwhile, sea turtle nesting activity has reportedly increased along the mainland coasts of Abu Dhabi, particularly in Ras Ghanada Protected Area and Al-Sila. Often, turtle nesting indicates a healthy environment and ecosystem.
Bird species populations have improved in the emirate, with increased reproduction of small birds such as the Kentish bird and black-winged stilts due to the absence of human activity in the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve. Similarly, the EAD reports a rise in the rate of breeding among flamingos of more than 12 per cent in comparison to last year. Whereas there were 1,050 nests in 2019, this figure has risen to 1,260. In addition, flamingos have also been sighted near passages and areas that they have previously avoided in the past.
Dr. Al Dhaheri added, “The several months of ‘Stay at Home’ measures have showcased the real and apparent impact of human and business activity on the environment. This has allowed us to rethink how we as a community interact with the environment and how we need to play our part to ensure these environmental gains are sustained and continue to grow as restrictions continue to ease.”

RAK Ruler answers questions from first graders at Ras Al Khaimah Academy via video call

RAS AL KHAIMAH, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, met with first-grade students at RAK Academy in a virtual online session.
H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi connected with the children by regaling stories from his childhood, inspiring them with events from his life as a student and reiterating the importance of reading and education.
RAK Academy students were then given a chance to pose questions to H.H., who expressed that each one of us is very important and staying true to oneself is the key to success. H.H. added that his vision was to continuously strive to improve life for the people living in Ras Al Khaimah.
When asked what his one rule for the whole world would be, His Highness said that he would like the whole world to invest all we can in education to make a better world, stressing that students’ and teachers’ safety was top priority and that reopening schools in September will only happen once all precautionary measures have been met.
Sheikh Saud said: “Each year I look forward to meeting the first graders at Ras Al Khaimah Academy as their academic year draws to a close, and today I had the pleasure of talking to them remotely. During our conversation, I sensed their spontaneity, their great passion for learning and their infinite curiosity. We must all dedicate ourselves to providing our children with the love and support they need to prosper. I have confidence in our youth to continue the legacy of our Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed, in building a country that plays its part in creating a better future for humanity.”

MBZUAI and Virgin Hyperloop partner to advance transportation sector in the Middle East through AI

ABU DHABI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, MBZUAI, the world’s first graduate-level, research-based artificial intelligence, AI, university, and Virgin Hyperloop, the California-based category leader in hyperloop development, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to initiate a collaborative approach to research and innovation in the field of AI.

In a virtual ceremony, the MoU was signed by Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at MBZUAI, and Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop, in the presence of Professor Sir Michael Brady, Interim President at MBZUAI; Dr. Ling Shao, Executive Vice President and Provost at MBZUAI; Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Executive Vice President for Outreach and Engagement at MBZUAI, and Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director Middle East and India at Virgin Hyperloop.

MBZUAI and Hyperloop will engage the best AI minds of both teams to pursue three core objectives: joint fundamental research in several key AI domains, such as computer vision; massively parallel cloud computing initiatives, and a range of solution-oriented commercial projects in the smart transportation industry.

Transporting passengers and goods at speeds exceeding 1,000km/h, hyperloop is a completely new form of transport with the ambition to become the most sustainable means of mass transportation of the 21st century. The potential of AI, which is fundamental to Virgin Hyperloop’s future operations in the Middle East, will form the core basis to explore knowledge exchange opportunities between MBZUAI and Virgin Hyperloop.

Speaking on the announcement, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said: “This partnership exemplifies the immense capacity of AI to reshape the world around us by breaking boundaries. Virgin Hyperloop will change the way we move around the world. MBZUAI will help enable this by providing access to some of the world’s most talented AI professionals, as well as superior research facilities, which can contribute to realizing Virgin Hyperloop’s vision.”

Sultan Bin Sulayem said: “Our region has great potential to emerge as a global powerhouse from the current economic situation. The transportation and technology sector – and that includes advancements in AI in particular – will define our regional capabilities in the long-term. Supported by AI, we are ultimately offering time with this disruptive, completely new, and sustainable technology that will help us to create an on-demand economy. We seek to revolutionize regional transport and trade sectors through a passenger and cargo hyperloop-enabled system, powered by AI. We can transport people and high-priority goods at the speed of an airliner, moving them between economic zones, cities and emirates. The UAE’s education sector, through partnerships such as our new collaboration with MBZUAI, will have a meaningful role in enabling and driving this very exciting and growing industry.”

Mr. Dhaliwal said: “With hyperloop, we find ourselves at an important crossroads of transport innovation. AI will play an important part and it promises to transform the customer experience, from seamless check-ins to smooth system operations. Together with our institutional partners at MBZUAI, we want to further accelerate the global hyperloop development, leading to the commercialization of the most sustainable means for mass transport in the 21st century.”

MBZUAI will offer Master of Science, MSc, and PhD level programs while also engaging policymakers and businesses around the world so that AI is harnessed as a force for positive transformation. The University has already begun the process of vetting the applications for 2021 intake, with thousands of applications received from over 80 countries.

Graduate students can apply to MBZUAI via the University’s website for 2021 registration. The first class of graduate students will commence coursework at MBZUAI’s Masdar City campus in January 2021.

The University will provide all admitted students with a full scholarship, plus benefits such as a monthly allowance, health insurance, and accommodation. MBZUAI will work with leading local and global companies to secure


Sheikha Fatima orders launch of virtual market for productive families

ABU DHABI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, GWU, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood,
and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, FDF, instructed the establishment of a virtual market for productive families, in light of her belief in the importance of adopting innovative solutions to create equal investment opportunities and promote national products and small and medium-sized enterprises, SME.
“We must all benefit from available tools, invest in the energies of productive families, develop their skills, and enable them to contribute to the country’s sustainable development process, through employing modern technologies to create investment opportunities that comply with the current circumstances,” she said.
As part of Sheikha Fatima’s directives to support and empower productive families, the application, “Matjari (My Shop) Market for Productive Families” was launched in 2015 to facilitate community access to the products of productive families.
The application enables users to shop for customised products within a safe and flexible environment that allows easy delivery and payment.
The new application spares shoppers the burden of leaving their homes and enables them to buy traditional and heritage products, food, fashion and perfumes online, as well as speak directly to shop owners.
The application represents a boom in modern shopping, especially during the current crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has encouraged many people to do their shopping online, under the framework of relevant precautionary measures.
To register, visit

India extends free food for 800 million people till November

By Krishnan Nayar

New Delhi, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) – On the eve of the second phase of unlocking India in the process of managing the Coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today extended free
food grain distribution for approximately 800 million people till the end of November.
The measure will cost his government 900 billion Indian rupees (about $11.9 billion), he said in a nation-wide televised address.
With the onset of monsoon, “we are entering the season of increased cases of cough, cold and fever,” Modi cautioned. “I, therefore, beseech all of you to take special care of yourselves.”
The Prime Minister said “timely imposition of lockdown and other decisions have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. But since Unlock-1, there is increasing negligence in personal and social
behaviour. Earlier, we were very careful with respect to wearing of masks, social distancing and washing of hands for 20 seconds. But today, when we need to be more careful, increasing negligence is a cause of worry.”
Modi promised that “while taking all the precautions, we will further expand economic activities. We will work ceaselessly for Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-sufficient India). We will be vocal for local.”
Modi’s announcements came on a day when 13,099 COVID-19 patients were cured, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare here. India’s total
COVID-19 count to-date is 566,840, of which 215,125 are active cases. There have been 16,893 deaths while 334,822 patients have been cured so far, the Ministry said.


Kuwait announces 671 new COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths

KUWAIT, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — Kuwait on Tuesday announced 671 new coronavirus, COVID-19, cases, bringing the total infections to 46,195.
Health Ministry spokesperson Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad was quoted by Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, as saying that four additional fatalities were also reported in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 354.
Official spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad, said in a statement to KUNA that currently, there were 139 patients receiving treatment at intensive care units and count of the confirmed cases that remained under medical treatment amounted to 8,811.
The health authorities conducted 4,045 swab tests in the past 24 hours, raising the whole count to 386,887, Dr. Al-Sanad added.

FNC celebrates International Day of Parliamentarism

ABU DHABI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — The Federal National Council, FNC, is joining the world’s parliaments in celebrating the annual International Day of Parliamentarism today.
Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the FNC, said that the FNC celebrates the day with the rest of the world, which is a confirmation by the United Nations, UN, of the importance of the role of parliaments in fulfilling their national and constitutional responsibilities to serve their peoples.
He added that the FNC is continuing to fulfil its national role by contributing to the UAE’s development process, ingraining an advisory approach among the community, promoting the values of loyalty and national solidarity, and implementing the empowerment programme declared by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2015, highlighting the support of the wise leadership, led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, for the FNC’s work.
The FNC is keen to perform its duties under all circumstances, he added, noting that it is employing modern technologies and launching parliamentary programmes to ensure the continuity of its work and provide high-quality parliamentary services.
A remote work system was implemented for the first time by the FNC to enable it to perform its parliamentary and constitutional duties, he further added, explaining that the FNC held remote sessions through video conferencing despite the global crisis caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic.
According to the UN, the day celebrates parliaments and the ways in which parliamentary systems of government improve the day-to-day lives of people the world over. It is also an opportunity for parliaments to take stock, identify challenges, and ways to address them effectively.
Out of 193 countries, 79 are bicameral and 114 are unicameral, making a total of 272 chambers of parliament with over 46,000 members of parliament.
25 percent of the world’s members of parliament are women. 28.1 percent of the world’s members of parliament are under 45.

UAE had over 9,000 mosques in 2019: FCSA

ABU DHABI, 30th June, 2020 (WAM) — In 2019, the number of mosques and musallas in the UAE reached 9,083 and 163 respectively, according to statistics released by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, FCSA.
Mosques with a capacity of more than 100 worshippers accounted for 85 percent of the total number with 301 mosques each accommodating more than 1,000 worshippers.
Figures also showed that the workforce in these mosques, which included imams, muezzins, preachers and workers, stood at 6,089.