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The Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi and UNDP Prepare the First HDR for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

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The Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi and UNDP Prepare the First HDR for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

Saturday, July 30, 2011
The Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi in cooperation and coordination with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is working on the launch of the first report on human development in the Emirate at the end of the year. The report will help offering specific recommendations to further raise the level of human development in the emirate, based on critical and scientific review of reality.The first HDR for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi focuses on five major issues which include data and statistical indicators, economic growth and its implications on social aspects, demography, education and labor related issues. H.E. Mohammed Omar Abdullah, Undersecretary of the Department, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Human Development Report, said that this report is part of analytical studies aimed to aid decision makers, and provide specific recommendations on topics that are addressed, adding that the report is centered on concepts of human development, such that the humanitarian concerns are the focus of attention and not only the economic side.Abu Dhabi DED Undersecretary emphasized the importance of the HDR as a reflects on economic and social development, education and demography in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in the light of rapid growth which the emirate experienced over the past years, within the policy set by the leadership and the government to achieve the objectives of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, and to place the Government of Abu Dhabi among the best five governments in the world.H.E The Undersecretary noted that the first HDR for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi would help the Government of the Emirate in achieving a set of general envisioned objectives, such as the adoption of new policies to further raise living standards, enhance social progress, setting up leading and innovative indicators  for human development,  rationalization of national investments to address the key aspects of sustainable development as well as helping the local community in Abu Dhabi to conceive  the concept of progress in the twenty first century. On her part, Dr. Elissar Sarrouh, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to the UAE, explained that the program has realized the importance of the role played by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in development and growth of UAE in all fields, and thus there is a need to shed light on human development issues through the first report on human development for the Emirate. Dr. Sarrouh said that citizens are the most concerned stratum in the process of achieving sustainable development, pointing out that the indicators of quality of life are not confined only to wealth and employment opportunities, but also the physical environment, health, education, social life and entertainment; as quality of life as a concept has already become an explicit objective of policy. The UNDP Representative in Abu Dhabi said that there is global consensus on the need to develop a more inclusive vision of progress that takes into account social, environmental and economic indicators, rather than focusing mainly on the economic indicators, which undoubtedly constitute an important criterion of economic activity, but is not enough to be the only criterion for the progress of the nation or the general standard of living for citizens. “The Human Development Reports, which began to be released by UNDP since 1990, aim at putting humans back in the heart of the development process, with a focus on human well-being as an important goal of development.”Dr. Sarruoh said.The UNDP Resident Representative said that the Department of Economic Development would begin drafting the first Human Development Report to highlight the problems that hinder progress and formulate strategies that would raise the living standards of individuals and provide opportunities for a better life in line with the emirate's economy growing.Dr. Sarrouh added that this report is a separate document that will reveal the facts and point out development trends, while retaining its own national identity, citing the priorities of the Government of Abu Dhabi to achieve sustainable development embodied in the 2030 Vision. “Based on international experience, and Arab human development reports, taking into account the varying characteristics of citizens and non-citizens in the GCC countries in general and UAE in particular, it was agreed to adopt two approaches as far as this HDR report is concerned: first, this report is to be considered as one of a series of reports to be prepared once every two or three years, so that development issues would be addressed later as per the priority accorded to them. Secondly, the different indicators will be calculated and the characteristics of population as citizens and non-citizens and total population will be addressed”, Sarrouh said. She said that it is important for the report to come out with findings and recommendations to help strengthen the process of human development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, through in-depth and objective study of the demographic characteristics of citizens and non-citizens in the Emirate.Dr. Sarrouh explained that the Higher Committee for the HDR, has set organizational and administrative arrangements, taking into account the aims of the report to provide specific recommendations to raise the level of human development in the Emirate, noting that the Committee members include all human development concerned entities in the Emirate , the Secretariat of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Education Council, Health Authority- Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council , Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi, the Western Region Development Council, the Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi, as well as the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.Sarrouh emphasized the importance of calculating the Human Development Index HDI in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as a measure of three main aspects namely health, knowledge and decent standard of living, pointing out that in 2010 the Human Development Index of the World calculation included life expectancy at birth in  measuring the level of health.  The average years of schooling and average expected years of schooling were included as well to measure the level of knowledge; and the per capita GDP to measure the standard of living.According to Dr. Sarrouh, five writers were selected for the preparation of report chapters, and that work is under way to review the chapters before they are sent to specialized reviewers to express their opinions, so as to send modified drafts to specialized working teams for scientific reviewing according to scientific method used in the submission of development policy proposals. This  stage precedes the,  the compiling of the final draft, which will be so presented to a national forum for review and giving opinion, before it is finalized and submitted to decision makers. H.E Rashid Al Zaabi, Acting Executive Director of Planning and Studies Division, the Director of the HDR Project, said that the first part of the HDR “statistical indicators  will lay emphasis on the  HDI Human Development Index  with regards to  the three categories of constitution  population, namely, citizens and non-citizens and the total population. Rashid Al Zaabi noted in this regard that the project team is currently working on the preparation of research, data collection, analysis and writing. Several workshops are scheduled during the next phase for the exchange of ideas in order to put all the chapters of the report together under final implementation, in the presence of representatives from all government entities and strategic partners involved in the preparation of the report.Rashid Al Zaabi said that these workshops are expected to review the research prepared by writers, conduct quantitative and qualitative assessment of data provided by government sources, in order to be submitted to consultants and experts for feedback to enrich the report. The second chapter Economic Growth and its Social Impact, will focus on t areas of economic growth in all sectors and their role in achieving growth rates on the social level; whereas the third chapter “Demographic Realities” addresses issues of fertility, death and birth, marriage, divorce, immigration and other related issues.His Excellency Rashid Al Zaabi explained that fourth part of the report on Education Characteristics, intends to highlight educational issues related citizens in terms of rates of enrollment in the various stages of education and dropout rates, with emphasis on quality of education. Part five “Properties of Labor Force will shed light on rates of unemployment the distribution by professions and economic activity, focusing in particular on employment and problems of Emiratization of the labor force.
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