Trailblazing Emirati aims to lay foundations for government of the future

Meera Al Mheiri has set sights on boosting policymaking structures after graduating from the National Experts Programme

Meera Al Mheiri's blueprint is to be implemented by 66 ministries and federal entities. Photo: Ministry of Presidential Affairs
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The UAE's first Emirati female nuclear safety inspector is breaking new ground after setting her sights on re-energising government decision-making in the Emirates and beyond.

Meera Al Mheiri, 30, is one of the shining lights of the National Experts Programme, an initiative that aims to develop the leaders of tomorrow.

Some of the brightest young minds in the country have been paired with industry leaders, chief executives and government ministers as part of the mentorship programme, established by President Sheikh Mohamed in 2019, while he was Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Ms Al Mheiri graduated from the scheme in 2022 and is already seeking to usher in change.

Participants were required to complete a capstone project in order to graduate, with Ms Al Mheiri devising a model to help measure and improve government policies.

Improving government efficiency

Her goal was to modernise the federal policymaking process over a three-year-period — making it more agile and resilient in the face of an ever-changing world.

Ms Al Mheiri said that her project — titled Re-Engineering the Policymaking Process in the UAE — was tested in several sectors, such as energy, economy, security and education.

She hopes that the successful testing and piloting of the project will help get it officially approved and implemented in the near future.

“Policies are a translation of political will into implementing laws, regulations, treaties, entities, projects, and key indicators, which are continuously shaped by the dynamic strategic environment,” she said.

“These policies are crucial to maintaining a high-level of clarity towards shared visions and aspirations and guidance towards fulfilling common goals.”

Ms Al Mheiri has a wealth of experience to call on from an already impressive career.

She was the first Emirati woman to serve as a nuclear safety inspector at the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.

Ms Al Mheiri was chosen as one of the youngest board members in the UAE government, serving at the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.

She also obtained specialised certificates on concepts of non-proliferation, disarmament and counter-terrorism, and participated in Cambridge University's Youth Peacemakers Forum to promote interfaith dialogue.

She wants to create a strong framework for policymaking in government, with the aim of supporting the country's bold ambitions for the future.

“It is crucial to have a historical background of all policies that are available and active in different fields in the UAE and what elements embody each of these policies,” said Ms Al Mheiri.

“It will then be easier to understand the governance landscape and ensure alignment and integration between fields to reach the UAE’s vision.”

Her blueprint for the future is to be implemented by 66 ministries and federal entities.

“The capstone project will enhance the UAE rank in global index because it enhances the whole UAE policymaking by finding and pinpointing the gaps.

“If we know the gaps early, we will definitely be changing the whole arena of governance,” Ms Al Mheiri said.

“The UAE is playing a leading and influential role in the world by providing solutions globally. This is already done and shall continue in terms of proactive policymaking that should be also communicated properly to the public taking into consideration addressing diverse audiences.”

Ms Al Mheiri hopes her work can help lay the foundations for good governance that the world can follow.

“I want it to become a global model to follow, aiming to design and acquire a quality certificate for policymaking … we will be the first country to do that,” she said.

Updated: March 27, 2023, 8:41 AM