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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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Hamriyah and Deira ports record AED 12.133b in customs declaration value for first nine months of 2023

Dubai Customs plays a crucial role as the frontline defense for community security, consistently advancing its customs centers to safeguard and facilitate maritime trade. H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, CEO of
Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, recently visited Creek Customs Center, Deira Port, and Hamriyah Port Customs Center to evaluate progress and oversee ongoing efforts for continuous customs service development. During this visit, several executive directors, department heads, and customs center managers were present.

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, accompanied by Rashid Al Dhabah Al Suwaidi, Acting Director of Seae Customs Centers Management, conducted inspections at Khor Customs Center, Deira Port, and Hamriyah Port Customs Center. Managers Abdulaziz Ibrahim Al Salman and Majid Salem Al Tawilah provided insights into workflow progress and accomplishments. Over the first nine months of this year, 62,454 customs declarations were processed, totaling AED 12.133 billion, with 19 seizures recorded during the same period. A visit to Hamriyah Port Customs Center showcased an advanced container X-ray inspection device, supporting increased inspection operations.

Subsequently, visits to Khor Customs Center and Deira Port highlighted achievements, including a notable seizure called the “Wheelhouse,” which successfully prevented an attempt to smuggle 243 kilograms of narcotics into the country. Commending customs employees, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih emphasized the pivotal role of maritime customs centers in ensuring community security and facilitating trade. The department collaborates for efficient goods clearance and acknowledges employee efforts
during the COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to the department’s support for global efforts to revive maritime navigation and international trade.

Musabih clarified that the department’s advanced capabilities in monitoring and inspection enable it to keep pace with the UAE’s rapid foreign trade growth. Supporting Dubai’s economic agenda D33, the department aims to double foreign trade and enhance economic partnerships with key global markets. Efforts to boost customs inspector efficiency continue through training courses, ensuring their ability to thwart smuggling attempts. Continuous development of X-ray scanning
devices and the K9 customs dog unit further enhances contraband control achievements. Rasheed Al-Dabah explained that the forthcoming period will witness the advancement of new initiatives and mechanisms in the realm of inspection and examination. These initiatives are grounded in a forward-looking perspective to introduce cutting-edge technologies utilized in examining maritime transport vessels, wooden ships, and ships engaged in fish trade.

He remarked, “Our endeavors are harmonized to enhance performance in sea customs centers, concurrently focusing on bolstering monitoring, tracking, and technical support activities to yield optimal outcomes through continuous and productive collaboration among all specialized teams within the department. The Customs centers in Deira, Al Khor, and
Hamriyah Port Customs Center shoulder their vital responsibilities in safeguarding society and facilitating maritime trade through Dubai Creek and Hamriyah Port, supporting the ongoing growth of the national economy.”

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Dubai Customs Hosts Sharjah Housing Delegation to Strengthen Government Communication Ties

Dubai Customs, represented by the Corporate Communication Department, warmly welcomed a delegation from the Sharjah Housing Department. The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the delegation with the duties and responsibilities of the
Corporate Communication Department and its affiliated divisions. The delegation also aimed to explore the awards received by the department, notably the recognition as the Best Government Communication Team in the Sharjah Government Communication Award for 2023.

Khalil Saqer bin Gharib, Director of Corporate Communication Department, along with department managers, extended a cordial reception to the Sharjah Housing delegation, which included Dr. Ahmed Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director of Government Communication, Nada Sivan, Head of the Public Relations and Events Department, and Hamad Saleh Al Hamadi, Head of
the New Media Department. Bin Gharib highlighted the department’s commitment to strengthening communication with government entities to exchange practical experiences and knowledge. The delegation was briefed on Dubai Customs exceptional performance in customs operations and other facets.

The meeting delved into discussions on potential avenues for collaboration, with the Sharjah Housing delegation. Emphasis was placed on the crucial role played by Dubai Customs’ Corporate Communication Department, customs administrations, and centers in ensuring security and safeguarding society. The delegation was presented with an overview of the department’s working mechanisms, awareness campaigns, events, and activities conducted internally and externally, aligning with Dubai Customs esteemed reputation.

Furthermore, the Sharjah Housing delegation acquired an understanding of the best media practices adopted by the Corporate Communication Department, showcasing its outstanding performance in enhancing knowledge and media dissemination to all partners. This has resulted in the department establishing and fortifying relationships with local and international media
entities. The presentation also encompassed the factors contributing to the department’s receipt of the award for the Best Government Communication Team in the Sharjah Government Communication Award.

Dr. Ahmed Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director of Government Communication at Sharjah Housing, expressed appreciation for the efforts of Dubai Customs Corporate Communication Department, acknowledging its excellence and significant contribution to enhancing the department’s standing. Dr. Al Nuaimi affirmed Sharjah Housing’s commitment to fostering ongoing visits and meetings with Dubai Customs, aiming to achieve the highest level of coordination and benefit from the Corporate Communication Departmen’s experience in securing numerous local and international awards.

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Zayed Sustainability Prize opens submissions for 2025 cycle

The Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE’s pioneering global sustainability and humanitarian award, has officially announced that the 2025 cycle is now open for submissions.  Submissions will be accepted until 23 June 2024 through the Prize’s online portal. Small to medium enterprises (SMEs), nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and high schools with sustainable solutions are invited to submit an entry for consideration in one of the six categories of Heath, Food, Energy, Water, Climate Action and Global High Schools. Commenting on the launch of the 2025 submissions cycle, H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and COP28 President, said: “Since 2008, the
Zayed Sustainability Prize has honoured the legacy of Sheikh Zayed by fostering inclusive sustainable and humanitarian development around the world. In this decisive decade for climate change, these values are more important than ever. I am optimistic that the Prize will contribute to global climate action in line with the UAE Consensus, which will pave the
way toward an effective response to the Global Stocktake decision.” In response to the pressing climate crisis, and to further support the UAE’s efforts to accelerate practical solutions needed to drive climate action and uplift vulnerable communities around the world, the Prize has increased its funds from US $3.6 million to US $5.9 million. The Prize will reward US $1 million to each winner in the organisational categories of Health, Food, Energy, Water and Climate Action. Within the Global High Schools category, which is split into six world regions, each school can claim up to US $150,000 to start or further expand their project. The six world regions of the Global High Schools category are The Americas, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Sub- Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia and Pacific. The most recent Zayed Sustainability Prize winners were recognised at an Awards Ceremony held during COP28 UAE. To encourage a broader range of organisations and high schools to participate, the Prize will be accepting submissions in multiple languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese. This will ensure that innovative solutions from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds can be recognised. For the Health, Food, Energy, Water and Climate Action categories, organisations should prove that they are improving access to essential products or services in their targeted communities and are able to implement a long-term vision for better living and working conditions. For the Global High Schools category, projects should be led by students, and must demonstrate innovative approaches to address sustainability challenges. The evaluation of each submission to the Prize consists of a rigorous, three-stage process. First, due diligence is conducted on all submissions to ensure that they meet the Prize’s evaluation criteria of Impact, Innovation, and Inspiration. This identifies the qualified entries and results in the selection of eligible candidates. Following this, evaluations are undertaken by a Selection Committee consisting of category-specific panels of independent international experts. From this shortlist of candidates, the finalists are chosen and then sent to the Prize Jury who unanimously elect the winners across all six categories.   Winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize will be announced at an Awards Ceremony during the 2025 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).

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