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Al Sila’ Marine Festival to kick off on December 9

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Al DHAFRA, 5th December, 2021 (WAM) — Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, the Al Sila’ Marine Festival will run on December 9-11 at the beach of Al Sila’ City, in the Al Dhafra region, Abu Dhabi.

Coinciding with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, more than AED3 million will be given away in cash prizes during the Al Sila’ Marine Festival, which will be organised by the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club (ADMSC) and the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi.

Major General Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Commander-in-Chief of the Abu Dhabi Police and Chairman of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi, said, "Al Sila’ Marine Festival represents a valuable addition to the roster of seafaring traditional festivals that translate the UAE wise leadership's interest in preserving heritage and national identity."

"Such festivals contribute to delivering the UAE's message of shared humanity to the whole world and passing on our heritage to future generations. They fall in line with the UAE’s strategic vision to promote and preserve our national identity and launch initiatives that will maintain values of the community. The value of cultural heritage isn’t in cultural manifestation only, but in the wealth of experience and skills passed down from generation to generation," Al Mazrouei said.

He valued the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to support all the initiatives that preserve the UAE cultural heritage. He also hailed H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed’s constant follow-up of the various heritage festivals being organised in the emirate in continuation of the noble efforts that had been made by late Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to promote public awareness about quintessential Emirati values and cultural heritage.

He also praised the efforts of the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club and its valuable contribution to the maritime activities and competitions that help promote interest in and awareness about aquatic sports among the festival visitors and heritage enthusiasts.

"These activities and initiatives significantly contribute to preserving the UAE heritage, and passing it on to future generations. In the meantime, they help promote our islands and coastal areas, hype marine and heritage sports, and ultimately drive tourist development and stimulate economic growth in Al Dhafra region," he added.

For his part, Ahmed Thani Murshid Al Rumaithi, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club, thanked the UAE wise leadership for their "constant support of sports and athletes in general and marine sports in particular, including both time-honored and modern sports."

"The Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club diligently seeks to strengthen engagement with maritime heritage lovers through an impressive lineup of large-scale events that contribute to expanding the marine sports practice footprint as well as instill love of UAE’s seafaring traditions in the hearts of young people," Al Rumaithi added.

"Organising Al Sila' Marine Festival with a 43 feet traditional dhow race corroborates the cherished status this sport enjoys in everyone's hearts in this region, where the people are well known for their special affinity with authentic Emirati heritage.

"This partnership with the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festival Committee at the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi, ensures greater successes will be made over the coming period in continuation of the successful events co-organised before by the Club and the Committee," he noted.

Al Rumaithi expressed his full confidence in the commitment of all the event participants to the health and technical protocols in place, citing the public compliance with the Covid-19 countermeasures shown during the heritage events that had been organised since relaxing the pandemic restrictions over the recent period. He wished resounding success for all the event participants.

"We are hopeful Al Sila' Marine Festival would achieve the aspired goals by increasing the number of sailors and expanding the base of marine sports practitioners in general and heritage enthusiasts in particular," he added.

Essa Saif Al Mazrouei, Vice Chairman, Committee for the Management of Cultural and Heritage Festivals, said that marine heritage festivals have garnered increased interest amongst marine sports lovers and the general public over the past period. He underscored the Committee’s constant endeavors to continue to promote heritage festivals and call attention to the country's seafaring traditions and culture.

"Al Sila' Marine Festival features the 43-foot Dhows Race, and meets the various needs of visitors in terms of edutainment and shopping through an impressive lineup of exciting competitions, including the fly-fishing, Carrom , dominoes, bicycle race, beach volleyball & soccer and traditional arts & crafts competitions. Th festival also includes the Child Village, where there will be a plenty of theatre performances, art, cookery and Bedouin dance workshops, as well as Al Mekshat tents, and a food court," Al Mazroui explained.

He underlined the keenness of the Festival's Organising Committee to ensure compliance with all Covid precautionary and preventative measures as part of the efforts made to recover from the pandemic and restore normalcy.

Majid Ateeq Al Muhairi, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Festival's 43-foot Dhow Race, said, "We are truly delighted to organise the Festival and the Race in an area cherished by every Emirati. We’re confident the Festival and Race will secure significant community involvement and attendance."

He added that the partnership with the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee in Abu Dhabi always yields optimal results, as demonstrated by the successes achieved previously, including in the Dalma Traditional Sailing Festival and the Al Dhafra Marine Festival.

"In the meantime, there will be no space for complacency in implementing the COVID-19 countermeasures. Safety comes on top of the Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club's priorities," Al Muhairi stressed. He underlined the necessity of adhering to specifications and selection criteria for bearings, which, he stressed, will be comprehensively scrutinised before the race starts.

"The past period has witnessed increased involvement on the part of marine heritage lovers and enthusiasts in the races and events organised by the Club. This demonstrates the rigorous work being carried out by the Club to enhance public engagement with heritage events and promote our traditions and heritage among our young people."

Al Sila' Marine Festival aims to preserve the diverse range of marine and terrestrial ecosystems boasted by the UAE, shed light on Emirati heritage and art, and pass it on to future generations. It also seeks to promote Emirati coastal cities and islands, encourage engagement in marine and heritage sports and drive tourist and economic development in Al Dhafra region.

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Emirates

UAE private sector pledges to accelerate gender balance in leadership

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DUBAI,18th January, 2022 (WAM) — In a first of its kind initiative for the UAE private sector, 18 leading local and multinational companies from diverse sectors have signed a pledge to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).

This pledge by the private sector aims to increase gender balance in the workplace, with an emphasis on increasing the representation of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2025 through policy, programme, and initiative developments that are aligned with UAE government direction.

The pledge was signed during a ceremony hosted by the UAE Gender Balance Council, the UAE’s National Committee on SDGs and the UAE’s Private Sector Advisory Council on SDGs. The ceremony was attended by Mona Ghanim Al-Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council; Abdulla Nasser Lootah, Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Vice President of UAE National Committee on SDGs; Shamsa Saleh, Secretary-General of the UAE Gender Balance Council; Hanan Ahli, Acting Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre; as well as representatives of member companies of the Private Sector Advisory Council and representatives of international organisations working on the SDGs.

Companies that signed the pledge include Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC, Masdar, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Dubai Holding, Unilever, Standard Chartered Bank, MasterCard, Michelin, UPS, General Motors, Schneider Electric, PepsiCo, Mondelez International, BASF, Mars, Nestle, and General Mills.

Each of the signatories committed to taking key actions before 2025 to strengthen gender balance in leadership positions, including by: ensuring equal pay and fair compensation; promoting gender equitable recruitment and promotion; mainstreaming gender balance through policies and programmes; and being transparent about progress with fellow signatories and government.

H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment, and wife of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, commended this voluntary initiative, which reflects the unique partnership between the government and private sector in the UAE to achieve the national goals and a future vision by the wise leadership that will enable the country to be a leading global economy in the next fifty years. She stressed on the pivotal role of the private sector in supporting the government’s efforts to enhance the UAE’s global competitiveness.

She affirmed that gender balance is a key priority for the government, and that the private sector is an indispensable partner in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 5 (Gender Equality). She stressed that the pledge will be an inspiration for the region and the world.

Sheikha Manal said: "The UAE is highly committed to the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 and has integrated them into its strategic plans, and prioritized them in its local and international partnerships. A national committee for these goals was established in 2017, comprising several ministries and federal agencies, which share the responsibility of implementing these goals at the national level. The UAE Gender Balance Council also launched a host of local and global initiatives to accelerate the implementation of SDG 5 (Gender Equality), in cooperation with government entities and international organisations. These efforts have resulted in remarkable progress for the UAE in global competitiveness reports on women and gender balance, leading the region in some of the most important indexes and climbing to eighteenth place globally in gender equality in a report issued by the United Nations Development Programme. We have witnessed other notable successes, which include ranking first in Middle East and North Africa in the ‘Women, Business and the Law’ 2021 report issued by the World Bank, and first in the Arab world in the Global Gender Gap Report 2021, issued by the World Economic Forum, as well as successfully ranking first globally in 9 competitive indicators related to the progress in achieving the fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2021."

She added: "I would like to thank our partners in this initiative that supports the UAE's commitment and continuous pursuit to achieve the sustainable development goals. Eliminating obstacles to gender equality is essential to achieving economic prosperity, social stability and sustainable growth. The UAE, since its establishment, has invested in the capabilities of all members of its society without prejudice or discrimination, and this direction is being reinforced by our wise leadership with pioneering legislation and policies that consolidate the rights of women, ensure equal opportunities and leadership positions in the labor market and enhance their representation in decision-making areas. We are confident that the private sector will keep pace with the achievements made in government in this field, and this initiative constitutes an inspiring model for all private institutions in the country."

Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and Chairperson of the Global Council on SDG 5, said: "The signing of this pledge is a defining moment that deserves to be commended, as it enhances government efforts and confirms the important role that the private sector has in achieving the UAE’s vision and goals."

She added: "The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need to work together to come up with innovative solutions to some complex challenges facing our world. It has also demonstrated the extent to which women are affected by crises, noting that there are real gender gaps in leadership positions across the world, with women occupying only 22% of CEO-level leadership positions. We need to escalate efforts to increase the number of women in senior and middle management roles, as more women in leadership means stronger organisational performance and thriving economies."

She expressed her gratitude to the companies that signed the pledge and their cooperation with the government, adding that it represents a great opportunity for the rest of the private sector to join this important initiative, stressing the readiness of the UAE Gender Balance Council to provide support to the private sector to progress in this field.

Abdulla Lootah, Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, and Vice President of UAE National Committee on SDGs, stressed the important role of the private sector in supporting national efforts to achieve sustainable development goals, as well as promoting national initiatives and projects aimed at consolidating gender balance across various fields.

He said: "The pledge, signed by 18 national and international pioneering companies, constitutes an important step in the UAE’s path to empowering women. Progress in gender equality started with Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the wise leadership continues to build on it because of women’s pivotal role in the advancement of countries and societies."

He added: "This initiative reflects the strategic vision of the UAE Gender Balance Council and H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Completing the sustainable development goals is a joint responsibility between the public and private sectors, and success in this field requires joint efforts to launch initiatives that empower women working in the private sector."

The pledge is the result of the tireless efforts of the UAE’s Private Sector Advisory Council on SDGs, in collaboration with the UAE’s National Committee on SDGs as represented by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center (FCSC) and the UAE Gender Balance Council, after a focus group discussion on SDG 5 was organised in 2019.

The result of this discussion was the Private Sector Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance, an effort which will promote a culture that encourages all employees to realise their full potential, in line with SDG 5 (Gender Equality). Specifically, the pledge will drive the implementation of Target 5.5, which emphasizes the global importance of ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life.

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Emirates

Qatari FM condemns Houthi attacks on UAE in phone call with Abdullah bin Zayed

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ABU DHABI, 18th January, 2022 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, received a phone call from Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar who affirmed his strong condemnation and denunciation of the terrorist attack by the terrorist Houthi militia on civil facilities in the UAE.

He pointed out that such terrorist acts contravene all international norms and laws, expressing his sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this terrorist attack, his wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured, and for continued security and stability to the UAE.

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Emirates

Maldives FM condemns terrorist Houthi attack on civil facilities in UAE in phone call with Abdullah bin Zayed

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ABU DHABI, 18th January, 2022 (WAM)– H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, received today a phone call from Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives.

During the phone call, Shahid expressed strong condemnation and denunciation of the terrorist attack by the terrorist Houthi militia on civil facilities in the UAE. He also affirmed the Maldives' full solidarity with and support for the UAE in the face of this cowardly attack.

He offered condolences over the victims of this terrorist act and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

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