United Arab Emirates Phenomenal Social Development

Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai and other leaders are keen to foster the pace of ongoing social development. They have already established the high values of social justice, rule of the law and interfaith harmony in order to ensure the political stability and to continue social development in the country. The holistic social development programs are going on in all the federating units of UAE under the visionary leadership of Sheikh Khalifa. It also shows sincere determination of the leaders to protect the social fabric of both the local as well as foreigners in the UAE. The unity and cohesion of UAE political system and articulated society is the resultant of tireless efforts of the late Sheikh Zayed and now being carried forward by Sheikh Khalifa in a bid to achieve new remarkable heights of social development. They have been passionate about the welfare of their people. They started short term and long term diversified but integrated programs to uplift the standards of living, healthcare, schooling, housing, clean drinking water, security and above all women empowerment. It is seemed that from dynasties to dynamics everyone is playing contributory role in the social development of the UAE due to which they have succeeded to bring sustainable social revolution and the caravans of prosperity, progression and political unity goes on and on. Social development is a continuous process due to which in the current UAE’s federal budget (2010) the government increased public spending by 3.4 percent next year despite the global economic downturn which shows its strong commitment towards the betterment of its people. It allocated a total of Dh9.8 billion towards many projects of schools and higher education which representing 22.5 percent of the total budget. A further Dh7.6 billion or 17.5 percent of the total allocation has been set for infrastructure development projects throughout the country. The social sector, education and health got the lion share i.e. 41 percent of total allocation, infrastructure development 17.5 percent and government services 39 percent. UAE’s millennium development goals (MDGs) also verify that social development is the strategic priority. It is that UAE government is proactive to achieve all goals of MDGs. It is eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achieving of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction child mortality, improvement of maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and the last not the least insurance of environmental sustainability the visionary leaders of the UAE are there to deliver. To achieve societal equilibrium and create balance among the different sectors of the economy UAE allocated farmland to farmers and secured cooperative marketing for their products. Financial and material support also already provided. Incases of education, UAE has succeeded to achieve universal primary education targets for 2015. The net enrolment rates for grades 1-5 is 98 % in 2005, which suggests 100% target ratio is achievable by 2015. UAE has the ideal place for gender equality not in the GCC but also in the world. The ratio of girls to boys in grades 1-5 and 6-9 was 94.8 and 92.9 in 2005. Enrollment in universities and higher education women has already surpassed the boys. The General Women’s Union (GWU) launched in 2006 a UAE gender mainstreaming project has achieved great success. UAE has phenomenal growth in the healthcare sector. Child mortality and infant morality rates have been reduced. The government of UAE under the people’s friendly leadership paid special attention to improving maternal health and they succeeded to do so. UAE is taking all possible measures to achieve sustainable environmental equilibrium. Rigorous environmental legislations and regulations have already been parasitized. Holistic Social Public Policy
(a) Health

According to the latest report of the Life Science Division of IIR Middle East (January 2010) the pipeline of healthcare projects in the region remains remarkably robust, particularly for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE social public policy is based on holistic-oriented. It reflects the dynasties willingness to provide every possible healthcare facility to its people. It speaks highly about providing good healthcare facilities to its people. It provides the organisational, legislative and legal frameworks based on International Best Practices (IBP). It will upgrade the private and public sector health services capabilities, and formulate a public policy that sets the priorities for health services development within the sector. Moreover, quality control systems would be implemented within public hospitals, together with the developing of primary health welfare units in the UAE.

Most recently, the UAE government passed the Anti-Tobacco Law that made consumption of tobacco and its products tougher for residents. The law has also set penalties, which include longer jail terms and heftier fines, for violators. Several public places in the UAE, including shopping malls, universities and government departments, are already following the curbs even before the law came into effect which also reaffirms the UAE commitment towards better healthy environment.

(b) Human Resource Management
In the modern arena HRM plays very important role in the social development of any country and UAE is not any exemption. UAE has excellent policy for the development of its population. It focuses on Emiratisation, through a well-planned policy that incorporates both federal and local efforts. The strategy also focuses on Emiratisation, through a well-planned policy that incorporates both federal and local efforts. The strategy aims at developing stable policies for the optimal organisation of the workforce. It guarantees minimum standards for work environment and accommodation. According to the 2005 Human Development Index Report compiled by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the UAE has risen in rank to occupy the 41st position among the developed nations of the world.

(c) Cultural and Community Development

The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) is launching many meaningful cultural activities which may also be beneficial to community development too. The Authority has the passions to conserve, protect and promote the cultural heritage of the UAE. It wants to strengthen the national identity. It also focuses on upholding loyalty to the country and its culture, specifically between the younger generations, through preserving the cultural and intellectual heritage of the UAE. Moreover, it aims at alleviating cultural awareness in society supporting the role of the country’s youth population in community development. It has to develop and renovate a number of museums and historic sites in the UAE. The Shaikh Zayed Palace Museum is at priority list. It is getting a much-needed face-lift, and the new Muwaiji Palace and Shaikh Zayed the 1st museums now being developed in Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain.

(d) Better Transportation Facilities

The six Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are planning to invest nearly $109 billion (Dh400 billion) on rail projects and almost $11 billion on road expansion projects during the next nine. The UAE has already initiated mega projects in this regards which are at the final stage of completion. Intra-city projects like the Dubai Metro which is the region’s first metro system verifies UAE’s leadership commitment towards its people by providing them excellent facilities of transport.

(e) Sustainable Urban Development

The government of the UAE is taking all possible measures to achieve sustainable urban development. The policymakers, planners, public officials, and environmental advocates are suggesting many effective tools to initiate many projects for the urban development.

According to the latest statistics of the ministry of economy the population of the UAE has been increasing by more than 5 percent annually for the past 15 years. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region, more than US$300 billion is being invested in building urban residential, commercial, tourism, leisure, and entertainment projects. According to estimates of the Arab Real Estate and Construction Association the UAE accounts for US$36 billion.

The UAE is also taking all possible measures to promote education for sustainable development, waste management, and separation of recyclable materials at source. It focuses water and energy conservation, renewable energy production, sustainable transportation and public transit. It has certain plans to combating desertification by expanding urban green spaces, promoting recourse efficient green buildings, and encouraging corporate social responsibility.

Concluding Remarks

Visionary leaders of the United Arab Emirates have been committed to the welfare of their people and succeeded to achieve new skies of excellence, efficacy, and productivity in the social sector. Now society is articulated, vibrant, and dynamic. People are enjoying the basic necessities of life and from dynasties to dynamics every one is working for the socio-economic growth of the UAE.

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  1. Mir Hadi Bux Bakhrani

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