UAE one of seven countries to sign 'agile nations' pledge

States agreed to work together to promote technology-friendly regulations

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, December 8 – Visitors looking at the four-legged Spot Robot at the DEWA stand on the third day of GITEX Technology Week held at Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai. (Pawan Singh / The National) For News/Online.

The UAE signed an agreement on Wednesday to become one of the world's first "agile nations", a group of seven countries that agreed to collaborate and help innovators quickly test ideas with regulators.

The UAE joined Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and the UK in signing the agreement during a panel debate co-organised by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Economic Forum. The collaboration builds on efforts by the parties to support technological innovation through more effective regulation.

“The UAE government is proud to endorse the Agile Nations network, which would help adopt agile governance and innovation to build strong, capable and resilient governments, and enable them to tackle future challenges with proactive solutions,” said Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, the UAE's minister of state for government development and the future.

Charter signatories agreed to cooperate in helping innovators navigate each country’s rules, test new ideas with regulators and scale them across the seven markets. Priority areas that have been identified for cooperation include the green economy, mobility, data, financial services and medical diagnosis and treatment.

“Against a backdrop of a once-in-a-century global health and economic crisis, governments need to undertake a paradigm shift in their rule-making activities,” Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, the OECD's deputy secretary general, said.

“The Agile Nations network is an extremely timely initiative to truly foster international regulatory cooperation for better, innovation-friendly and up-to-date regulations worldwide,” he added.

The OECD also established a set of principles on effective and innovation-friendly rulemaking for its 37-member states, while the World Economic Forum published a guide to improve the regulation of emerging technologies.

“Too often, rules and laws are designed with the past in mind,” Murat Sönmez, managing director of the World Economic Forum, said.