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Noura Al Kaabi reiterates UAE leadership’s commitment to develop cultural and creative sector

DUBAI, 7th December, 2021 (WAM) — Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, reiterated the UAE leadership’s commitment to nurture and develop the cultural and creative sector.

''Nothing has preoccupied my mind in the recent past as the present and future of the creative economy, and how we may enable the UAE to boast a vibrant cultural sphere which also contributes substantially to the local and global economy,'' Noura Al Kaabi said, in her keynote address to the 2nd World Conference on Creative Economy (WCCE), held today at Expo 2020 Dubai, under the theme ''Inclusively Creative, Cultivating the Future''.

The opening session was attended by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Sheikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia, Angelica Maria, Minister of Culture of Colombia, and high-level personalities.

''We in the UAE are excited and honoured to be hosting the second edition of the World Conference on Creative Economy after Indonesia. Our thoughts on this are not confined to just the UAE but are inclusive of all other nations in our region and beyond. We have always believed that global cooperation is key to realising the true potential of the creative economy," she told a gathering of global community of entrepreneurs, thinkers, thought leaders, creatives and policymakers, who gathered in Dubai for the three-day conference.

Al Kaabi indicated that the UAE launched a 10-year National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries which marks a shift in the nation’s efforts and ambitions towards a more sustainable creative ecosystem. This, she noted, comes in line with the WCCE, which in itself is very special as it is held on the sidelines of one of the world’s most important cultural events: Expo 2020 Dubai. This conference also marks the closing event of the International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.

''Like all countries around the world, the UAE’s creative sector has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. In 2020, we paused, we assessed, then we revived and jumped back stronger than ever. We placed the creative economy centerstage within our economic mindset. Much has changed since the first installment of the WCCE took place in Indonesia back in 2018. While the inaugural conference set the tone for building a vibrant creative ecosystem by focusing on social cohesion, regulations, marketing and financing, the UAE iteration will build a more profound discourse on these topics and discuss how to best position and harness the creative economy in a post-pandemic world,'' she added.

''Many countries, including ours, proved resilient enough to minimise the economic and cultural repercussions of the pandemic. The technological innovations that placed us in good stead during these trying months were themselves the results of human creativity. The creative sector redefined the meaning of ‘normal’ and was quick to adapt and create new ways of work and ingenuity. With many countries closing their borders due to the pandemic, traditional industries struggled to keep up with the demands of a globalised economy. In order to keep afloat, they began to rethink their business models and looked inward for sustenance and autonomy,'' she noted.

According to Al Kaabi, the cultural and creative industries, on the other hand, continued to expand their footprint and reach outward, they opened their heart out to the world transcending borders, cultural and language barriers. Art and culture became the lifeline of humanity and gave people hope in the face of despair.

"Concerts, shows, exhibitions, even museums went live with digitised content, for everyone to experience and enjoy. The virtual world became a great leveller and showed us that art was not just for the elite. Technology helped the democratisation of culture and art, on both ends of the spectrum. It not only accelerated the creative process leading to more opportunities for creatives but also enabled its access to larger audiences. The world discovered how digital transformation along with collaborations enhanced global reach and led to a wider cultural footprint. The cultural and creative sector became the sounding board for humanity and gave hope to the world.

''It is this resilience and adaptability that made the cultural and creative industries standout from the crowd and the whole world took notice. The fact that this conference takes place in a world regaining its footing as a result of a pandemic, makes it even more crucial to our narrative regarding the creative economy. We will continue to discuss this resilience over the course of the conference and find out ways to leverage it to make cultural and creative industries a thriving socioeconomic sector globally.

''We will hear from industry experts, thought leaders, ministers, lawmakers and policymakers, about what has changed from the first conference to now and how creatives and talents can harness this opportunity. As we work to build an inclusive and resilient economic framework, we need to ensure the long-term sustainability of the cultural and creative sectors. The linkage between Cultural and Creative Industries and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is clear. A thriving cultural economy is also an unquestionable guarantee for urban recovery and growth."

''Let us come together and present a model that supports the enablement of the creative economy, where we ourselves are creative and collectively work together in service of our shared humanity, building a bright and beautiful future,'' she concluded.

Addressing the conference, Azoulay said creativity has always been the lifeblood of humanity, even in the depths of time. ''Today, creativity continues to permeate society, as we see so clearly at the World Expo, just a few hundred metres away. The event showcases the incredible potential of culture and the creative industries to connect minds and create the future.''

''Moreover, culture and creativity have the power to heal, to weave together societies that have been ripped apart. We see this in UNESCO’s flagship initiative to 'Revive the Spirit of Mosul', to which the United Arab Emirates contributes so much. Culture and creativity also offer answers as we seek to build a more sustainable and peaceful future. We saw this at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, where the UAE Pavilion was awarded the Golden Lion for its innovative and ecological project in response to the fundamental question 'How will we live together?'"

Speaking about the impact of COVID-19 on the culture and creativity sectors, Azoulay said, globally, royalties fell by 10 percent, or over US$1 billion in 2020.

''These times of crisis have also highlighted, more than ever, the essential role of culture in the cohesion of societies, and for each of us as a fundamental dimension of our humanity. Learning from the crisis, we need to seize the long-term opportunities offered by this largely underestimated economic sector, which employs more young people than any other field. That is why culture must be at the heart of recovery plans,'' she stressed.

''UNESCO is committed to placing culture high on the international agenda – as we did through the G20 Culture Ministers’ Meetings, in cooperation with Saudi Arabia last year and Italy last summer. This collective engagement is crucial if we are to tackle the structural challenges affecting culture and creativity.''

The UNESCO chief addressed three of the challenges facing the sector: protecting the creators, digitsalisation and data.

She explained that UNESCO relaunched in July the Aschberg Programme, created 65 years ago to improve the social and economic protection of creators. Through this programme, we will study the impact of public policies on artists, and accompany governments and cultural actors as they work to create effective regulations in this field.

The digitalisation of culture creates many opportunities – as shown by the success of the Theatre of Digital Art in Dubai and around the world. Digital platforms now play a decisive role in providing access to creative works,'' she said.

With regards to data, she added that in a sector whose contours are so complicated to establish, reliable and precise data are essential, better information means a better understanding of needs – which leads to better action.

''This is why we are conducting a global study with the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism to assess the impact of the pandemic on culture. It will be released in March next year. Secondly, looking beyond the crisis, data is essential to understand structural challenges facing the cultural sector. For this reason, in March, we released the report 'Gender & Creativity: Progress on the Precipice'. It highlighted the urgent need for accurate global data to fight key issues such as the gender pay gap, or the lack of women in executive positions. Lastly, data can help cultural industries realise their full potential,'' she concluded.

The first World Conference on Creative Economy (WCCE) hosted in Indonesia in 2018, offered a forum for policymakers and industry players to exchange ideas, resolve challenges and identify opportunities within the creative economy. This year, the UAE hosts the second WCCE 2021 at Expo 2020 Dubai, featuring the world’s thought-leaders, aspiring creatives and innovators.

Over the course of three days, a large global community of entrepreneurs, creatives and policymakers will come together in person and virtually, where they will be joined by world-leading speakers, thinkers and policymakers. This is the place to collaboratively and practically engage with the future of the creative economy, helping to build it on inclusive, responsible, and human-first foundations.

WCCE 2021 will see the key players and game changers from around the world come together in the UAE on a dynamic platform to engage with one another and take concrete steps towards a more sustainable creative economy. As the pace of innovation and technological disruption continues to accelerate, WCCE 2021 will serve as a unique forum and an ideal opportunity to share knowledge, analyse trends and debate ideas.

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Integrated Transport Centre introduces smart Taxi-Top Billboard Initiative

ABU DHABI, 8th June, 2023 (WAM) — The Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) in Abu Dhabi has announced the launch of the Smart Billboard project for taxi vehicles in collaboration with operating companies and the relevant strategic stakeholders.

This step is in line with the ITC’s efforts to deliver innovative and high-quality advertising content to the public. The initiative entails smart advertising billboards being planted on taxi rooftops to market products and services in collaboration with advertisers from local companies and businesses in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The ITC said that the project started with 50 taxi vehicles from the Tawasul Transport company, and intends to reach 100 taxi vehicles from the same company after the trial period is over. It is worth noting that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is operating 6,400 taxis in total.

The Integrated Transport Centre explained that the initiative is in line with its commitment towards reinforcing digital transformation in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, and improving public access to its digital services system.

The ITC strives to fulfil future requirements and promote the vision of Abu Dhabi through investing in modern technologies that serve the community and create smarter cities in the Emirate, in terms of services and commercial practices. The project also aims to use new marketing and digital promotional strategies for these services, and to use cutting-edge technology to strengthen the digital marketing field by reaching various segments of society with efficient and creative marketing messages.

According to the ITC, setting up advertising billboards on taxi rooftops contributes to delivering diversified and engaging advertising content to passengers and pedestrians in accordance with the innovative advancements in the digital marketing field.

Furthermore, it improves the city's marketing communications and helps raise community awareness on various services, events, and activities. It also provides local businesses with the opportunity to promote and market their products and services.

Moreover, the digital billboards can be used to broadcast useful traffic safety tips to a large audience in a creative manner, as they use innovative technology to display content clearly in all kinds of weather conditions without distracting other drivers.

On the other hand, the initiative strengthens the collaboration with the private sector by creating new investment opportunities to promote the products and services of local businesses. It also helps the taxi industry utilise asset and diversifying revenue, thereby supporting local economy by enhancing the economic development in the Emirate.

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Saned urges entities in Sharjah to install ‘Aman’ safety system

SHARJAH, 8th June, 2023 (WAM) — Saned Integrated Facilities Management has urged all government and private entities, industrial and commercial facilities and residential buildings to install the early warning ‘Aman’ system, based on its objectives to provide the highest levels of safety in Sharjah,

The new system and device, implemented by Saned, is supervised by the Sharjah Prevention and Safety Authority. The device links fire systems in the facilities to the General Directorate of Civil Defense and Saned, with the goal to reduce response times to combat with fire hazards and emergencies.

Sultan Al Ketbi, CEO of Saned Facilities Management, stressed the need to install the early warning system ‘Aman’, which plays a great role in reducing response times for fire-related emergencies. The system works to monitor the validity of alarm and fire systems in facilities and ensure their effectiveness, which contributes to protecting lives and property and provides the highest levels of protection and safety in Sharjah.

Al Ketbi highlighted that the system has been successfully employed to aid in the early detection of fires; a tower in the Emirate of Sharjah recently benefited from the ‘Aman’ system and suffered no losses due to a recent fire emergency.

Al Ketbi added, "More than 7,753 Aman devices have been installed in various areas of Sharjah since the programme began. We are working diligently to ensure that all residential, commercial, and industrial facilities and areas in the Emirate are covered by the Aman programme, as it is mandatory for public safety."

He further explained, "We seek to reach 100% compliance from owners of real estate, facilities and amenities in Sharjah, to which the decision to install and connect a safety system to protect buildings from fires and accidents is in line with our goal to enhance the overall well being of all residing in the Emirate.”

Aman is an early warning system adopted in the Emirate of Sharjah to protect community members from fire hazards. The system is in direct contact with the Sharjah Civil Defense Authority and links to a control room that operates according to the highest international safety standards. In cooperation with the Sharjah Prevention and Safety Authority, the system strengthens the security and safety strategy of the Emirate of Sharjah and helps spread awareness of best practices in accident and fire prevention.

The system is managed by Saned Integrated Facilities Management, which is one of the projects of Sharjah Asset Management, the investment arm of the Government of Sharjah. Saned provides integrated facilities management, building maintenance and related technical services to commercial and government entities, in addition to energy management and sustainable initiatives. The Saned team also provides technical services specialised in the security and safety of facilities and amenities.

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UAE and Peru sign air services agreement

Lima, Peru, 8th June, 2023 (WAM) — The UAE and the Republic of Peru signed an air services agreement, with Mohammed Abdullah Al Shamsi, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Peru, signing on behalf of the UAE and Gervasi Díaz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, representing Peru.

This agreement will open new horizons for cooperation between the two countries and promote intra-trade.

Al Shamsi pointed out that non-oil bilateral trade with Peru for 2022 amounted to US$800 million, and UAE investments in Peru over the last five years exceeded US$700 million, while intra-trade reached US$4.4 billion in the same period.

He added, "The Memorandum of Understanding for political consultations in 2009 and the visa waiver agreement between the two countries in 2019 have already been signed, and today we are signing the air services agreement. In the near future, we hope to sign an agreement to protect and promote investment and avoid double taxation, in addition to other agreements that are expected to be in the interest of our two peoples and in line with our common aspirations for further development and prosperity.”

Al Shamsi stressed that this agreement will contribute to the growth of trade exchange in a manner that supports the development agenda of the two countries, promotes the sustainability of their economies, and bolsters bilateral aviation ties.

He added, "This comes as part of efforts to reinforce bilateral relations with the Republic of Peru and will also benefit our national airlines and several other sectors in the country, directly affecting the growth of air traffic between the airports of the UAE and Peru, which will help strengthen trade, economic, and tourism relations between the two countries.”

For her part, Díaz said that the UAE is an important partner, as it is the largest Arab country investing in Peru, stressing that the UAE is the first nation in the Middle East to sign an agreement on air services with the South American country.

She stressed that the signing of the air services agreement with the UAE will enable Peru to act as a communication center for the networks of airlines in Latin America, highlighting that the signing of the agreement is a significant achievement and a milestone in the strong relations between Peru and the UAE.

Díaz stated that the signing of the agreement will allow the establishment of new air routes that will promote travel for tourism and business purposes between Peru and Arab countries, as well as Asian and Pacific countries.

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