ABU DHABI // The Cabinet met in a 500-year-old castle on Sunday to approve the designation of 2015 as the Year of Innovation, in a plan to make the UAE a world innovative leader.
At its special meeting in Fujairah’s historic fort, the Cabinet directed all federal government bodies to boost cooperation and to revise their policies to develop a nurturing environment for innovation.
“Announcing 2015 as the Year of Innovation comes to support federal government efforts, attract national skills, increase distinguished research, as well as boost efforts to build a national cadre who are able to lead our future in this field towards more progress, prosperity and innovation,” said Sheikh Khalifa, the President.
The first phase of the strategy includes 30 national initiatives to help the UAE reach the top global benchmarks for innovation.
Sheikh Khalifa praised local government efforts in adopting innovation for sectors including renewable energy, transport, technology, water and space.
“We live today in a world witnessing rapid changes and continuous developments, full of opportunities, discoveries and inventions,” he said.
“We must prepare and equip our generations in such a manner that they fit in the world in which we live, ensure their position among nations, and make a prosperous future for us similar to our present.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said the initiative should be seen as an opportunity for the nation to unite its efforts to boost its capabilities for innovations.
“Today, more than any other time, we need to boost innovation among young people, build nurturing environments in our society, and encourage our schools and universities to equip our youth with skills in research and discovery methodologies,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
“We want our public and private sectors to explore new horizons to develop our economy. Innovation is our only way to build a great history of the UAE.
“The future will be for those who adopt innovation.”
He said the Cabinet had convened in Fujairah rather than Abu Dhabi or Dubai to show that all emirates were important in this united country.
“We convene today in a 500-year-old castle,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Our vision is setting the foundation to build a future that will be for hundreds of years to come.
Dr Ahmad Belhoul, chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s sustainable energy investment company Masdar, welcomed the announcement.
“Today’s announcement is far-sighted and will help unlock greater social and economic value for the UAE,” Dr Belhoul said.
“Masdar is committed to implementing the Federal Innovation Strategy across the various priority sectors, be it renewables, transport, water or education.
“Through Masdar City, Masdar is fostering a culture built on innovation, where the Masdar Institute is investing in cultivating talent of the future, while over 190 companies have chosen the Incubator to launch their innovative entrepreneurial businesses.
“Looking to 2015, we will redouble our efforts in growing this innovation ecosystem for the wider benefit of the UAE.”