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UAE, UNESCO sign agreement to establish ICSICH

SHARJAH, 9th December, 2021 (WAM) — The United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have signed an agreement to establish the International Centre for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Arab Countries in the Emirate of Sharjah.

The Centre, aimed at strengthening the efforts of the Emirate of Sharjah and the UAE in protecting and promoting intangible cultural heritage, will be based at the Sharjah Institute for Heritage (SIH).

The ceremony took place at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah, where the agreement was signed by Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and Chair to the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, and Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the UNESCO, in the presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and Founder and CEO of the UAE-based Kalimat Group (KG), Dr. Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Department of Culture, and Salma Al Darmaki, Secretary-General of UAE National Commission for Education, Culture, and Science, Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, UAE Permanent Delegate to UNESCO.

Al Kaabi emphasised the leading role played by the UAE in preserving and protecting intangible cultural heritage, saying that the country’s work in this field benefits all humanity. She added that global cooperation and partnerships are required to preserve this legacy for future generations, and to establish institutions capable of reaching this goal.

She pointed out that the establishment of the International Centre for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Arab Countries in the Emirate of Sharjah confirms UNESCO’s confidence in the UAE and its ability to deliver the necessary capabilities, as well as the Emirate of Sharjah’s distinguished position in the field of culture and heritage.

For his part, Dr. Al Musallam welcomed the announcement of the establishment of the Centre, which will undoubtedly boost the Emirate of Sharjah’s position, and that of the UAE, in the creative and cultural economy, establishing it as a pioneer in the preservation and promotion of the intangible cultural heritage at the regional and global levels, praising the directives and efforts of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, in supporting and preserving the intangible cultural heritage, and the parties involved in its promotion and preservation.

Al Musallam said, "Intangible cultural heritage is one of the key components of human civilisation and serves as an indication of the renaissance and progress of peoples and societies. Its preservation can help achieve reconciliation between cultures and nationalities, establishing among them the values of understanding, cooperation, and peace. The International Centre for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Arab Countries will serve as a beacon for achieving these goals, towards which all nations stive."

He stated that enhancing the capacity of those working in the field of intangible cultural heritage contributes to encouraging intercultural dialogue and fostering mutual respect among all. He added that protecting the identity and cultural diversity of a population is vital, and that all elements related to heritage, from customs, traditions, rituals, and practices to skills, arts, and crafts, should be protected and preserved.

Under the agreement, the Centre will focus on strengthening the 2003 Convention for the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage, implementing it in Arab countries, extending institutional capacities to protect intangible cultural heritage in Arab countries, promoting the purposes and objectives of the Convention, raising the level of community, group and individual participation in the protection of intangible cultural heritage, raising awareness of intangible cultural heritage, and strengthening regional and international cooperation to protect intangible cultural heritage.

Under the auspices of UNESCO, the Centre will work to implement short- and long-term capacity-building programs and activities in the field of intangible cultural heritage, based on the program developed by UNESCO for the effective implementation of the 2003 Convention, and to adapt capacity-building materials and data developed by UNESCO to fit the regional context and ensure its translation into Arabic.

The Centre will also build communication networks between concerned communities, groups, and individuals to support the transmission and dissemination of intangible cultural heritage, organise events and public meetings at the regional and international levels, and exchange information and knowledge related to the protection of intangible cultural heritage.

It is worth noting that the Emirate of Sharjah also hosts the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ICCROM-Sharjah), which was established in 2011 by the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), an affiliate of UNESCO, in partnership with the Government of Sharjah. This Centre seeks to enhance the capabilities of workers across the official heritage institutions of the Member States to enable them to sustainably manage cultural heritage sites, historical monuments, and museum collections.

WAM/Batool Kashwani

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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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