CHANGE FOR GOOD

Dubai 2016 | ECONOMY | FOCUS: GOVERNMENT RESTRUCTURING

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is known for his innovative approach toward his country's future, but no one saw this change coming. The 12th Cabinet, with new ministers of happiness, tolerance, and youth, amongst other changes, is set to lead as an example not only in the region but also around the globe.

On February 10th, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the biggest structural change in the UAE government's history, on Twitter. During a three-hour “Dialogue of the Future”, HH Sheikh Mohammed outlined the proposed modifications for all sectors as well as the creation of new ministerial posts and government panels.

Declared by Decree No.28 for the year 2016 and with the approval of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, the new Ministers of the 12th Cabinet of the UAE government took the oath on February 14th before HH Sheikh Mohammed, at Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The new competent, gender-sensitive and young team will run the government with an eye on the future, and another on happiness, youth, climate change and education. The new 29-member UAE Cabinet has eight new ministers, of which five are women. The new additions mean that the 12th Cabinet now includes a total of eight women and a total average age of 38 years old. The new government will have fewer ministries but more ministers administering the ministries' strategic duties. It will also follow a roadmap for outsourcing most government services to the private sector.

In relation to the government and its realm of foreign affairs, the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development will merge with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the latter will have two ministers of state tasked with overseeing foreign aid and enhancing UAE bilateral relations. The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs will now be called the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future, and it will be in charge of preparing the UAE for a post-oil future. Moreover, a new post has been created in the Minister of State for Tolerance to formalize the tolerance that the UAE already displays into a legal framework

In the realms of economy and labor, the Ministry of Economy will now be connected to the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities. The Ministry of Labor will become the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and the country's human resources authority, Tanmia, will be attached to it.
When it comes to health, the Ministry of Health has been restructured and renamed the Ministry of Health and Prevention in order to focus more on the prevention of diseases; and an independent entity has been created to oversee and manage public hospitals. On the education side, the ministries of Education and Higher Education have been merged but it will be supported by two ministers of state. The new ministry will now supervise all levels of learning from nurseries to higher education. Furthermore, a Higher Council of Education and Human Resources has been created.

With regards to environment and science, the Ministry of Environment and Water has been renamed to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment; and a UAE Council of Scientists has been established to review national policy on science, innovation and technology

Finally, in the areas of culture and society, the Ministry of Culture will become the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. The Ministry of Social Affairs has been renamed the Ministry of Community Development. The most notable changes have been the creation of a Minister of State for Happiness with the mission of channeling policies and plans towards creating a happier society; and the new UAE Youth National Council, which will comprise young men and women who will serve as advisers to the government on youth issues, led by a female Minister of State for Youth who is no older than 22 years old.