UAE to merge Government ministries, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid says

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, held a live "Dialogue of the Future" on Twitter on Monday evening.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, tour the Museum of the Future on Monday. Mohamed Al Hammadi / Crown Prince Court – Abu Dhabi
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DUBAI // Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday announced the largest structural shake-up in the federal Government since the country was founded.

In an unprecedented three-hour social-media event during the World Government Summit, Sheikh Mohammed said ministries would be consolidated and new entities established in health and education.

He also signalled a plan to outsource “most government services” to the private sector.

See all the announced changes here: Changes to federal government, as announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

“Governments must be flexible. We don’t need more ministries, but more ministers capable of dealing with change,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“We want a young and flexible government that will fulfil our youth’s aspirations and achieve our people’s ambitions.”

Posts have been created, meaning the Government now has fewer ministries but more ministers handling strategic national issues.

New positions include a Minister of State for Happiness, who will have the responsibility to “align and drive government policy to create social good and satisfaction”, and a Minister of State for Tolerance, who will “instil tolerance as a fundamental value in UAE society”.

“We want a government that works on building the skills of its people, aside from providing services ... a government focused on putting the happiness of citizens at the forefront of its priorities,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“We need a government whose essence is human and family, education and aspirations to build their future.

“We need a government with its purpose to build a virtuous society, a forgiving environment, close families, educated generations and equal economic opportunities for all.”

Further to an earlier announcement about a young person on the Cabinet, Sheikh Mohammed announced a UAE Youth National Council would be set up, comprising young men and women who will serve as advisers to the Government on youth issues.

It will be led by a female Minister of State for Youth who will be no older than 22.

The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs has been specifically given the task of devising plans “preparing the country for a post-oil future”, and will be called the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future.

For education, an independent foundation will be set up to manage public schools, run by a board of directors that will report to the Government about the national education agenda.

“Public schools will enjoy a great level of power and independence,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

The ministries of Higher Education and Education will be combined under one minister, with two supporting ministers of state.

The ministry will be responsible for monitoring all stages of education, from nurseries to universities.

A greater focus on disease prevention is reflected in a renaming and restructuring of the Ministry of Health, while an independent entity will be created to oversee and manage public hospitals.

In foreign affairs, the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development will merge with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will now deal with UAE foreign aid.

Two ministers of state will be given the responsibility of overseeing foreign aid and improving international relations.

The Ministry of Labour will be renamed the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and will now incorporate Tanmia, the national human resources and employment authority.

The Ministry of Social Affairs will become the Ministry of Community Development, focusing on Emirati families and community issues, and be integrated with the Marriage Fund.

The Government will also have a Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, whose purpose will be to develop and monitor programmes and legislation to preserve a clean environment for the next generation of Emiratis.

Meanwhile, the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities will now be connected with the Ministry of Economy, which will set national targets to boost the gross national product.

A UAE Council of Scientists to review national policies related to science, technology and innovation will be created, while the newly named Ministry of Culture and Knowledge will focus on areas such as protecting the Arabic language and increasing knowledge in general.

The changes come ahead of anticipated challenges, Sheikh Mohammed said.

Sheikh Mohammed said the past decade had been one of establishing strategies and systems, and “the next decade will be a confident leap into the future with all its challenges, competitiveness and variables”.