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Beyond2020 enhances water access for 18000 Filipinos in upland rural areas



DUBAI, 15th December, 2021 (WAM) — UAE Initiative, Beyond2020, returns to Southeast Asia following key sustainable engagements in Indonesia and Cambodia, with a deployment that is uplifting the lives of 18,000 people in the Philippines by enhancing water access and reducing water costs by 85%.

Four hydraulic ram pumps and 13 kiosks are being used to facilitate 3,000 residents in the village of Cabagnaan in the Province of Negros Occidental and 15,000 people in 14 villages across Altavista in the Province of Leyte.

The innovative technology is an enhancement of a system created more than 240 years ago that brings water uphill without the use of electricity or fuel and the emission of harmful gasses.

Launched by the Zayed Sustainability Prize in partnership with several leading organisations, the Beyond2020 initiative exemplifies the humanitarian legacy of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan by donating sustainable technologies and solutions to vulnerable communities worldwide. The Philippines marks the tenth deployment of Beyond2020, which effectively addresses some of the world’s most pressing sustainable development challenges, by providing quality healthcare, nutritious food, essential energy, and access to safe water for drinking and sanitation.

Mohammed Obaid Al Zaabi, UAE Ambassador to the Philippines, said, "As a wide-reaching humanitarian initiative spearheaded by the UAE government and its wise leadership to drive sustainable economic growth globally, Beyond2020 offers crucial and life-transforming solutions to beneficiaries worldwide. The initiative’s deployment in the Philippines offers communities innovative water technology solutions that aim to improve the health and wellbeing of rural residents through long-term impact, paving the way for an easier, safer and more sustainable lifestyle."

Al Zaabi added, "The UAE and the Philippines share a common vision towards building a more prosperous and sustainable future for their people, in accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, the collaboration complements our historically close bilateral relations across multiple avenues. By tackling water scarcity, the drive to further optimise a vital resource for the benefit of communities in the Philippines, also coincides with the recent launch of the UAE’s ‘Principles of the 50’ that seek to stimulate socio-economic growth through humanitarian aid. They are important guiding principles inspired by the enduring legacy of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed, based on his core values of sustainability, humanitarianism and global cooperation."

The communities of Cabagnaan and Altavista, that are located on different islands, share the same challenges, whereby water is not available and has to be fetched from a source located further downhill from the community. The deployment utilises a holistic ram pump water system by the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI), a 2020 Zayed Sustainability Prize finalist under the ‘Water’ category.

The Philippines Ambassador to the UAE, Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, added, "We are pleased to see the introduction of these essential, environmentally-friendly and life-changing solutions by the Beyond2020 initiative. The notable reach and impact of the technology supports the Philippine government’s drive to improve public services and the health of our citizens, with water being a key priority for social welfare and sustainable development."

"We are confident that the mobilisation of international action that empowers and supports our communities’ ability to access and manage water resources will promote widespread benefits to the daily lives of impacted beneficiaries. We therefore extend our gratitude to the initiative and its partners whose involvement has been central to the realisation of the project on the ground today."

Ólafur Grímsson, Chair of the Zayed Sustainability Prize Jury and former President of the Republic of Iceland, said, "Beyond2020’s latest project in the Philippines demonstrates the power of leveraging an innovative solution by our global community of winners and finalists and exploring its long-term capacity for beneficiaries. The initiative also demonstrates the power of collaboration as the Prize and its partners have impacted communities in 10 countries to-date, with further deployments scheduled for 2022."

In addition to providing clean water for drinking and sanitation, the carbon-neutral technology offers residents the opportunity to improve or pursue water-related livelihoods such as vegetable gardens, aquaculture, and livestock breeding, while facilitating a more conducive environment to avoid several waterborne diseases stemming from dirty water. Furthermore, access to improved hygiene grows in prominence given the importance of handwashing in preventing the spread of COVID-19, which is a pressing concern for vulnerable communities worldwide.

Ten deployments have been rolled out to date under the umbrella of Beyond2020, with another nine in progress. Completed deployments include vital energy, health, water and food-related solutions in Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda, Jordan, Egypt, Cambodia, Madagascar, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.

Beyond2020 brings together a leading number of partners, which include Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Mubadala Petroleum and Masdar.

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Zee Stores becomes Ghitha Holding in strategic expansion



ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — Zee Stores, the trading and distribution firm listed on the ADX Second Market, has announced that it will rebrand to Ghitha and expand its strategy to become a Key Player in the food industry, which will support the UAE’s food security agenda.

The holding company will add a number of related businesses to its existing portfolio, through future acquisitions and subsidiaries’ formation, which will enhance its core capabilities in wholesale importing and trading fresh and canned foods; packaging; and providing food services to industrial sites such as gas and oil fields. Its ticker symbol will then change to GHITHA from ZS.

The new strategic direction will enable Ghitha Holding to become one of the largest and most important players in the regional food trading sector.

Mohammed Somar Ajalyaqin, Chairman of Ghitha Holding, said, "With the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy aiming to make the Emirates the world’s most food-secure nation by 2051, expanding operations in food and agriculture presents an ideal opportunity to deliver shareholder value through commercial success while supporting the national development agenda. This transformation of Zee Stores into Ghitha Holding represents the next stage in the company’s journey, and through our growing operations we will continue to play an even greater role in this sector."

Ghitha Holding is a subsidiary of International Holding Company (IHC), the Abu Dhabi-headquartered multi-sector conglomerate which has implemented an ambitious strategy of consolidating and listing subsidiaries to transform them into powerful multi-sector operators. IHC holds an extensive portfolio in its Agriculture and Food & Beverage verticals and has developed deep expertise in food farming, trading and processing, empowering it to make significant contributions to the UAE’s food security strategy.

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26,189 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered during past 24 hours: MoHAP



ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has announced that 26,189 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given in the past 24 hours.

The total number of doses provided up to today stands at 23,339,861 with a rate of vaccine distribution of 235.99 doses per 100 people.

The vaccination drive is in line with the Ministry's plan to provide the vaccine to all members of society and acquire immunity, which will help reduce the number of cases and control the spread of the virus.

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UAE to head ALECSO’s Permanent Committee for Arab Culture



ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) member countries have unanimously chosen the UAE to head the Permanent Committee for Arab Culture.

Salma Al Darmaki, Secretary-General of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, has been appointed to chair the Permanent Committee.

The decision comes after the 22nd edition of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, held in December 2021 at Expo 2020 Dubai. Al Darmaki is the second woman appointed to this position in ALECSO's history.

The Permanent Committee for Arab Culture is responsible for coordinating the work of various ALECSO member states in cultural fields. The Standing Committee is also mandated to prepare for the Conference of Arab Ministers of Culture.

On this occasion, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, Chair of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, said, "The UAE's selection to chair the Permanent Committee for Arab Culture reflects its pioneering position in the field of cultural and creative industries and is an affirmation of its ability to establish strong communication links between Arab countries."

"The UAE enjoys excellent cultural relations regionally and globally. The impact of its cultural project which aims to enhance people’s awareness and enhance their contribution to culture, comes in line with unique initiatives that reaffirms the UAE’s position as a global cultural hub, and an incubator for creativity and talent. The UAE’s strategic plan seeks to invest in culture as a crucial tool in developing communities and people alike," the minister added.

For her side, Al Darmaki said, "Thanks to the UAE's leadership and their long-term vision that today, Emirati talent is being acknowledged not just locally and regionally but also globally. The UAE has been investing earnestly in its youth, which has been instrumental in the success of young Emirati talent and the achievements of Emirati women. Our leadership's strategy, vision, and continuous guidance and support have helped us reach new heights of success in the Arab region and around the world."

"I will be working closely with ALECSO’s Permanent Committee for Arab Culture to launch new initiatives and projects to strengthen the role of Arab culture in our present and future endeavours," she added.

Al Darmaki has been an Assistant Under-Secretary for Knowledge and Cultural Policy at the Ministry of Culture and Youth since 2018. She has served as a Research Fellow at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development from 2017 to 2018. She was a researcher at the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations in Switzerland from 2016 to 2017; an expert on Social Policy in the General Secretariat of the Executive Council in Abu Dhabi from 2011 and 2016, and a parliamentary researcher in the General Secretariat of the Federal National Council from 2009-2010. She also worked for the Abu Dhabi Government Restructuring Committee in 2008.

Al Darmaki holds a post-graduate degree in International Law from the University of London, a Master's in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom, and a bachelor's degree in International Studies from Zayed University in the UAE.

As Secretary-General of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Al Darmaki managed the campaign for securing a seat for the UAE on the UNESCO Executive Board from 2019 to 2023. She played a crucial role in the first decision submitted by the UAE to the Executive Council of UNESCO on "A Framework for Arts and Culture Education" and the passing of a resolution on the "Building on the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development through Consolidated Action". Some of her other achievements include the declaration of World Futures Day by UNESCO as an annual international day after being proposed by the UAE. The UAE secured a seat in the intergovernmental committee of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Al Darmaki has been working with the national authorities to further the cause of cultural, educational and scientific endeavours, such as extending the registration of the falconry file for the fourth time in the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage to become the largest file in the history of the organisation. She also manages the UAE partnership with UNESCO in the pioneering "Revive the Spirit of Mosul" initiative. In addition to supporting the nomination of Abu Dhabi as a Creative City for Music, she has helped make Abu Dhabi the third Emirate to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network along with Dubai and Sharjah.

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