The UAE's path to continued stability in the new year

Despite geopolitical upheavals in the region, the UAE is on track to deliver on its national goals and be reckoned with on the global stage

Abu Dhabi's skyline. The UAE's trajectory for 2024 looks like one of calm progress. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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At the start of another annual cycle of time, hope and optimism are often most needed. This applies to people as much as to nations. It is fitting then to take stock of what the next 12 months might hold – for the world, the region and specifically for the UAE.

The significance of the UAE's growing stature is especially notable in a turbulent Middle East with misery raining down on Gaza every day, and in a year packed with general elections in at least 50 countries – including the more agenda-setting ones such as the US elections in November.

In this context of geopolitical upheaval, one of many signs of the growing importance of middle powers is the UAE’s ascension into the Brics bloc, that comes into effect today. The membership into the group carries weight for a number of reasons – not least of all for the fact that Brics countries make up more than a third of global gross domestic product, overtaking that of another prominent (and mostly western) grouping, the G7.

The UAE has established itself as being astute in managing complex diplomatic manoeuvres. And the coming year could reveal opportunities for the country to balance its strong economic partnerships with China and India on the one hand, and its investment and security partnership with the US on the other.

In just a few weeks, some of the global trade agreements could take a new shape at the World Trade Organisation conference in Abu Dhabi in February. In the ever-churning world of business too, the UAE will be pushing ahead, realising its climate change-tackling efforts by boosting the climate finance system or the Alterra Fund.

Plenty of work will be under way this year to deliver on plans already formulated, be it tangible ones such as road and rail and housing infrastructure projects or at the policy level, towards domestic improvements on laws pertaining to marriage, residency, property and other social matters that affect all citizens and residents in varying degrees. Nation building is a continual process that includes maintaining the strength of a country's foundations, especially in times of global uncertainty, achieving its objectives and looking ahead with confidence.

The UAE's trajectory for 2024 looks like one of calm progress

In recent weeks, the UAE's voice has been resonant at the UN Security Council, in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. That voice will carry into the new year as the country seeks an end to the war, despite Israel's expressed intent of continuing to fight for "many more months". While the UAE’s term on the UN Security Council ended, its diplomacy will continue to be vital.

In such fractured global times, cohesiveness and unity remain important to the UAE's identity. And it is fitting to appreciate the continued harmonious existence of people belonging to different faiths and cultures in this country.

Islamic culture and Emirati traditions will be key features of a mosque set on the water that will be ready in Dubai by September. Before that, next month, a Hindu temple being inaugurated in Abu Dhabi, by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will provide a perhaps unmatched example of acceptance and the freedom to practise one's religious beliefs in the UAE – no small feat in a divided world.

The UAE's trajectory for 2024 looks like one of calm progress. Residents and citizens of the country can be confident of goals being delivered on the domestic front. As for better developments and peace on the international front, we can remain optimistic and hopeful.

Published: January 01, 2024, 3:00 AM
Updated: January 02, 2024, 9:57 AM