An Emirati minister said she was "beaming with pride" over the empowerment of young people ready to help to shape the green agenda before the UAE's hosting of the Cop28 global climate change conference next year.
Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth, hailed the UAE's efforts to invest in the next generation and harness their potential to drive the country's development.
Ms Al Mazrui said she was excited to see youth being given a platform to play a significant role in the decision-making process.
“I am very excited for the Federal National Council elections happening next year and the role of youth in parliament," she said.
Cop28 will be held at Expo City Dubai and the meeting of world leaders in November 2023 will seek to find solutions to the problems posed by climate change.
The Cabinet member was part of President Sheikh Mohamed's landmark visit to France last week, during which she shared the UAE's vision for youth with French contemporaries.
“Our discussion with the youth minister [of France] was more what they could also learn from the UAE," Ms Al Mazrui told The National.
"We shared our youth council model with them. We talked about how we can involve youths within the decision-making process and I think this is inspiring for them as well — to think about institutionalising and use their voice in their decision-making.”
UAE students make mark in France
During the visit, Ms Al Mazrui joined Sheikh Mohamed in meeting Emirati students attending universities in France.
He urged them to strive to achieve academic excellence, which he said would enable them to contribute to the UAE's growth.
Sheikh Mohamed said students studying abroad had an important ambassadorial role for their country, which included demonstrating the values of tolerance, co-existence and intercultural dialogue that underpin the Emirati community.
“What I think inspired me was to see how the UAE has empowered youths and given them opportunities to work in France and learn," Ms Al Mazrui said.
"That's exactly what the leadership believes is the most important investment. The fact that His Highness’s first stop, right after he landed was to see these young people and to hear their stories, to understand their aspirations, shows the power of the leadership listening to and engaging youth as the vital and most important aspect.
“I'm beaming with pride with the amount of responsibility that our leadership have given youth."
Ms Al Mazrui praised the policies in place to assist young people, such as ensuring representation for youth on federal bodies and ministries.
She said one of the biggest challenges facing youth ministers around the world was the difficulty of working across all sectors and communicating with ministers in each of those fields.
But she said that problem has been eliminated in the UAE, "because each minister already has a youth council".
"So the voice of youth has already addressed and reached leadership, which is a smart way of decentralising youth empowerment, by empowering the mass of youth,” she said.