General Commission of the European Union hosts Ohood Al Roumi to Share UAE Experience in Preparing for the Future
Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, participated in the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) annual meeting, by invitation from the European Union to discuss the future of Europe.
The meeting, held in the presence of Her Excellency Ingrida Šimonytė, Prime Minister of Lithuania, His Excellency Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice-President for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight, hosted 27 ministers from the EU member states.
H.E. Al Roumi presented UAE Government’s experience in preparing for the future, at the meeting entitled "Shaping Europe's future: Global trends and strategic choices,” adopting future foresight in planning and preparing at the core of government, and UAE’s success story in achieving rapid major milestones over the past 50 years.
The European Commission Vice-President thanked the UAE government for sharing its experience in enhancing readiness for the future through promoting planning and scientific future foresight to determine future directions. "I am thrilled to welcome Her Excellency Minister Al Roumi at our 2021 ESPAS Conference. I am convinced that we should jointly strive to develop a global perspective on foresight, by creating a platform to exchange with our international partners, for instance on horizon scanning and future-relevant topics," HE concluded.
The 2-day annual meeting discussed trends affecting future of the European Union, ways to enhance governments’ agility and readiness in facing challenges and make use of opportunities, and the role of digital technology in achieving green transformation in alignment with digital transformation.
The meeting also touched upon the various mechanisms in employing future scenarios in an age of major transformations affecting the future of Europe and the world in 2040, as well as future changes with adopting digital technology.
In her speech, H.E. Ohood Al Roumi emphasized the importance of planning and preparing for the future. She said; “Since the founding of our nation, we were always blessed with wise leadership who had the vision to dream about the future, and the willpower to design it and execute it. We are also blessed with the continuity of our vision and directions for the future and the persistence to enhance our country’s ranking amongst best countries by its golden jubilee.”
“Future-orientation and foresight are also key drivers of the UAE government’s decision-making process and agenda. For example, when we launched our eGovernment program 21 years ago, there was no pressing need for it. But it was such foresight that cemented the resilience of our government, and helped safeguard lives and livelihoods during these tough times,” H.E. added.
Al Roumi pinpointed that the UAE government structure is inspired by foresight and that it revolves strategically around the future with a dedicated ministerial portfolios. “We currently have ministers for Climate Change, Food and Water Security, Advanced Technology, Youth, AI, Digital Economy, and Remote work Applications because we know these areas will be of extreme future importance,” she stressed.
H.E. presented the UAE 10 Principles for the Next 50, briefly touching upon 4 of them, namely building national talent and skills for the future and attracting and retaining the world’s top talent; building the best and most dynamic economy in the world through new economic models; enhancing digital and scientific power, as the power of nations will not only be measured by size, resources, political or economic powers; and preserving values and being a force for good, as the best future depends on having shared human values primarily openness, tolerance, respect and human fraternity.
H.E. Ohood Al Roumi noted that shaping the future is a main pillar in government work enhancing its agility and enabling it to face rapid global changes. She stated that while the future might pose new challenges, it will also bring new opportunities that governments need to take advantage of to serve their societies.
She highlighted that legacy models cannot keep up with the pace of transformation the future is bringing. They should be disrupted, and new models need to be created to assess the impact of policies. In addition, new and better indicators should be developed to assess future readiness, and global partnerships should be promoted to discuss and shape the future.
She added that pace of change is accelerating without bound, and in 20 years it will be 4 times what it is today, making work on the future even more complex. She also said that governments need to adopt a new model, based on three main pillars: adopting a multifaceted, multigenerational, whole-of-society approach that leaves no one behind; building stronger mission-oriented collaborations and strategic partnerships for a better future, and enhancing future-readiness and resilience for whatever the future may hold.
HE concluded her speech by sharing three reflections for ensuring future readiness. First, starting to create the future today. Second, balancing between being future-oriented and addressing current pressing needs by developing clear visions and directions with continuity over the long-term, and focused strategies with agility over the short-term. Third, building new mindsets and capabilities to tackle future challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.