In line with the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s declaration of 2017 as the national Year of Giving, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today called for a national ‘Giving Retreat’ on Wednesday, February 1, 2017. The retreat will bring together over 100 cabinet ministers, government officials, and community and humanitarian leaders to carve out a permanent strategic framework for ongoing ideas and initiatives related to the Year of Giving. He pointed out that by doing so, the community can proactively drive the private sector’s role in social responsibility, and nurture a spirit of volunteering and patriotism for future generations.
Sheikh Mohammed said: “Since the declaration of the UAE’s national Year of Giving by the President, we have been receiving many ideas, and some initiatives look very promising. We decided to organise a Giving Retreat to discuss a unified plan for the country that covers all charity initiatives. We believe the retreat will further boost the UAE’s position as the region’s leading charitable hub and transform people’s enthusiasm for giving into sustainable institutional work which will make a tangible difference in people’s lives. We also plan to declare a permanent strategic charity framework in the UAE after the Retreat.”
Sheikh Mohammed added: “We aim to translate the Year of Giving declaration by the President into viable action so that 2017 becomes a year for enhancing the values of charity and generosity, and deepening the sense of responsibility among individuals, corporates and institutions towards their society and country at large. Today, our goal is to continue the legacy of the founding father of the UAE, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, through preserving the spirit of charity and generosity that has been evident in the UAE since the establishment of the Federation. These values shape our national identity and are the true indicators of national progress.’
The Giving Retreat aims to create an inclusive brainstorming session that will encourage ideas, suggestions, initiatives and projects built around the pillars of the Year of Giving. The Retreat will also define responsibilities and key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as define the roles of various entities to effectively ensure the implementation of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s vision for the Year of Giving.
The agenda of the Giving Retreat is based around six key pillars. A minister from a relevant field will take charge of each pillar to oversee the strategy and initiatives, liaise with national authorities on large-scale implementation, follow-up on achievements and present regular reports to the Higher National Committee for the Year of Giving. His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, will be in charge of the corporate social responsibility pillar. The volunteer work pillar will fall under the remit of Her Excellency Najla bint Mohammad Al Awar, Minister of Community Development. Her Excellency Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation, will oversee the humanitarian organisations pillar. His Excellency Dr Sultan bin Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of the National Media Council, will be responsible for the media pillar. Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, will head the pillar related to legislative system and government policies. Finally, Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth, will head the “Serving the Nation” pillar.
The Retreat aims to create a partnership between the public and private sectors as well as NGOs and society in general to shape a future defined by the values of values of charity and generosity. A first step in the journey of the UAE’s national Year of Giving, the Retreat will be followed by a number of projects and initiatives which are intended to serve as a global model for building national consensus and co-operation around giving.
The Higher National Committee for the Year of Giving will coordinate with local and federal entities as well as the private sector to identify new ways to organise and define charitable activities. It will also define the capabilities and roles of each sector in serving the goals of the Year of Giving. The Committee noted government KPIs would now include the evaluation of contributions to promoting a culture of constructive social responsibility and proactive volunteer work. In addition, future economic growth indicators will include the ease of doing business in line with social development and with a focus on non-profit moral and material aspects of business.
The Committee as well set up a web portal for the Year of Giving (www.giving.ae) to enable all stakeholders and the general population to keep up-to-date with developments throughout the year. Through this platform, companies, government organisations, and individuals interested in participating in the Year of Giving can get in touch with the organising committee. Furthermore, the website will outline the programs, plans and outcomes of the Year of Giving, and allow visitors to reach out directly to the ministry that is overseeing each pillar. A dedicated team has also been formed to receive the new ideas shared on the #YearOfGiving hashtag, assess them and direct them to the relevant entities for implementation and execution.