DUBAI, 26th June, 2016 (WAM) – The UAE government today signed an agreement with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to host the next four editions of the Annual Meeting for Shaping the Future. The first of these meetings will be hosted in Dubai on 13 and 14 November 2016, featuring 50 specialized councils and more than 700 experts with the aim of preparing a clear future agenda to tackle the many challenges the world faces today.

The UAE-WEF partnership will aim to boost efforts of studying and foreseeing the future in a number of vital sectors related to sustainable development, improving life standards, and finding effective solutions to anticipated challenges. The partnership will also help create platforms for the experts of the Global Future Councils to facilitate communication between government organizations, private enterprises, expert houses and consulting firms. These platforms will enable collaboration in building capacity through training courses, workshop, papers and publications related to vital sectors.

Signing the partnership agreement with the WEF on behalf of the UAE Government, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Future, said: “Foreseeing and mapping the future is one of the UAE’s major contributions to international society. The future is interlinked and connected, challenges are shared and common. In this context, it is important that we work with global councils to foresee the future and support governments around the world in formulating their strategies and preparing for the future.”

Al-Gergawi added: “The UAE has always believed in planning and working with a futuristic vision. The directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, are to build local capacities and global partnerships that empowers the UAE to shape the future. Our nation is extremely active in playing a key role in foreseeing the future. The UAE is well positioned to help shape many of the vital sectors in the short and medium terms, led by a leadership that is continuously driving us forward to explore new development areas and build new economic sectors.”

Al-Gergawi said: “The agreement that we have signed today with the World Economic Forum will help us build on our past partnership with WEF to forge new synergies.”

As part of its agenda, the Annual Meeting for Shaping the Future will set the fourth industrial revolution as a key topic of discussion. In addition, the sessions will examine challenges in energy, food security, transport, infrastructure, artificial intelligence and other vital sectors. Furthermore, the councils will discuss the future of economic, social and political systems in light of technology integration in human lives and changes in traditional geographical borders.

The outcomes of the Annual Meeting for Shaping the Future in November 2016 will set the agenda for the upcoming WEF annual meeting in Davos, which will bring together 2,000 international leaders. The UAE will chose the councils for education, health, energy, cities of the future, and artificial intelligence.

Commenting on the new partnership, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said: “The fourth industrial revolution indicates the convergence of technologies, especially in the digital sphere. This is anticipated to have a major impact on the future of political, economic and social systems. This revolution will not just change what we do but will also change what we are. We have to be ready for the change, governments need to be prepared and willing to keep up with and adopt technological innovation. They need to get outside their comfort zone and their bureaucratic hierarchal structures and adopt new solutions to interact with their people.”

Schwab added that the UAE’s long term vision and ability to foresee the future qualifies the nation to lead the mandate of future innovation.

Al-Gergawi said: “The UAE government aims through this partnership to develop a global platform that brings together the best experts and minds in the domain of foreseeing and shaping the future. They will share ideas, possible scenarios and solutions that will lead to future models capable of dealing with future trends, challenges and opportunities such as the fourth industrial revolution.”

Confirming that the partnership between the UAE government and the WEF will support the future of government sectors in the UAE, Al-Gergawi said the agreement will also support the nation’s strategic future projects such as the World Government Summit and Dubai Future Foundation.