Dr Anwar Gargash calls on world to learn lessons from Covid-19 pandemic

Diplomatic adviser to UAE President says robust government response was key to overcoming global challenges

Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President, said the world must be braced for future challenges following the huge disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Victor Besa / The National
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Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President, has called on the international community to be fully prepared for future emergencies and learn lessons from the devastation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also warned that no nation could be immune from the impact of crises and disasters, underlining the importance of remaining on high alert.

Dr Gargash highlighted the UAE's resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic — which killed nearly seven million people, disrupted economies, halted travel and triggered lockdowns all over the world — during an address at a National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority conference held in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

The Emirates served as a global model for how to successfully manage the pandemic, he said.

The success of Expo 2020 Dubai — which attracted more than 24 millions visitors from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022 — was an example of how the country had risen to the challenge of rebuilding its economy while protecting public health, Dr Gargash added.

“It became very clear that a country's national efficiency, organisation and ability to manage society was a main factor in dealing with crisis regardless of the nature and make-up of its political system,” he said.

“Perhaps the most important lesson learnt from the major crises that faced the world during the past few years is to reach a firm conviction that the national state possessing strong institutions and co-ordinating mechanisms can excel in managing crises and disasters and spare its people the repercussions and negative effects in the event of any crisis or natural disaster.”

Dr Gargash also spoke of the UAE's economic growth, the boost to foreign trade and the surge in tourism in 2022, at a time when many parts of the world were still struggling to turn back the tide of the pandemic.

He said it was crucial to have frameworks to mitigate the impact of emergencies such as the pandemic.

Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, National Security Adviser and Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi, stressed the importance of being proactive in remarks made before the start of the conference.

“We in the UAE recognise the importance of pre-emptive action and preparing for the future, especially in the field of emergency, crisis and disaster management, whose consequences can negatively affect the lives of human beings,” said Sheikh Tahnoun, who has served as served as National Security Adviser since 2016, when the late President, Sheikh Khalifa, appointed him to the position.

“And human beings are, and always will be, our top priority.

“In this spirit, we spare no effort in equipping the human capacities with skills and training, and in providing the foundations of a dignified and secure life for all residents of this good land, thus paving the way for a safer future for coming generations that could otherwise be affected by the ramifications of crises and environmental, social or political disturbances.”

UAE response to Covid-19 pandemic

The UAE took urgent steps to safeguard the health of the public while protecting the economy as the virus rapidly spread around the world.

Stay-home measures and deep-cleaning operations were introduced in the early stages of the outbreak. Offices and schools were closed as a precautionary measure and flights were suspended.

Authorities introduced social-distancing rules and made the wearing of face masks in public mandatory.

The UAE launched a nationwide vaccination campaign to limit community transmission in December 2020.

Within a year, the UAE announces its vaccination drive had administered enough shots to inoculate 100 per cent of the eligible population with at least one dose.

In November 2022, authorities lifted almost all remaining Covid-19 safety restrictions, including the wearing of masks both outside and in indoors.

Updated: May 09, 2023, 6:34 PM