The country’s leaders declared 2020 will be the launchpad for ambitious plans to propel the country forward for decades to come, ahead of its milestone Golden Jubilee in 2021.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced that next year will be used to deliver a road map for the future and make preparations for grand celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the nation.
The bold vision – branded 2020: Towards the next 50 – was launched by Sheikh Mohammed in tandem with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces on Saturday.
Sheikh Mohammed unveiled a wide-ranging national strategy to guide the Emirates through to its centenary in 2071.
"Fifty years ago, the founding fathers shaped our life today, and next year, we will shape the coming five decades for the future generations", Sheikh Mohammed said.
"Together, we will build the Emirates of the future in 2020 with the winning spirit of the union, a spirit that strives for progress. Our development journey has no end.
“The UAE approaches its Golden Jubilee in 2021, a new milestone that celebrates 50 years of our young country and begins the journey to the next 50 years. Preparations for our new journey start next year 2020. Together, we welcome 2020: Towards the next 50.”
Two new UAE Cabinet committees are to be set up to shape the strategy.
One committee, to be headed by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, with Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, serving as his deputy, will lay out a comprehensive development plan for the next 50 years.
Its responsibilities will include developing vital sectors including health, education, housing, transport and food security across the country.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, supported by Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed, will lead the second committee, focused on the organisation of the major celebrations to be held in honour of the 50th anniversary of the UAE.
The committee will be tasked with mapping out the Emirates’ Golden Jubilee celebrations, developing a comprehensive preparation plan and forming teams to organise events and activities to mark the occasion.
The committee will compile a record of the country’s achievements since its formation.
It will also involve foreign embassies in the preparations for the Golden Jubilee celebrations to promote the UAE’s global image.
Sheikh Mohammed vowed 2020 would set the stage for growth in all sectors of society, from its infrastructure and economy to education and health.
He expressed his desire for 2020 to recapture the atmosphere of fevered excitement and hope that he himself witnessed in 1970, a year before the new nation was born.
"I lived through the formation of the union in 1970 and I will oversee the formation of the next five decades in 2020.
"We are united by team, united by spirit, united towards a promising future.”
Sheikh Mohammed said he saw the formation of a fledgling country with his own eyes and is now ready to oversee the design of the next 50 years of prosperity.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed believes the landmark 50th anniversary will usher in an important new chapter in the country's success story.
"With the willpower and unity of our people, we will work tirelessly to achieve our goal in making the UAE among the best countries in the world by the UAE centennial in 2071," Sheikh Mohamed said.
"Today, we continue preparing and foreseeing the future and building a strong foundation to meet our goals with full confidence and persistence in a rapidly changing world.”
The UAE leadership has long had it sights set on celebrating the anniversary in style.
The country's Hope Probe will blast off into space next year, and is scheduled to reach orbit around Mars in 2021, making for a moment of history in a banner year.
The Emirates Mars Mission is the first by any Arab or Muslim-majority country. A team of Emirati scientists, in collaboration with experts from the US and France, designed and built the probe.
The UAE has provided central themes for each new year since 2015, which was heralded the Year of Innovation.
The following year was named the Year of Reading, while 2017 was the Year of Giving.
The lasting legacy of the Founding Father of the UAE was recognised in 2018, labelled the Year of Zayed. This year is the Year of Tolerance.