Dubai, a Disability-Friendly City by the Year 2020
The Executive Council of Dubai announces the Dubai Inclusive Development Forum
Al Shaibani: All the concerned authorities in Dubai are coming together to provide important and essential services for persons with disabilities.
Al Kamda: Allocating special workshops during the forum contributes even more to the exchange of experiences and knowledge.
Al Osaimi: We, in the UAE community, reached a high degree of great awareness on the capabilities of persons with disabilities.
Dr. Alshafei: An event taking place in Dubai for the first time with the participation of experts and specialists from the United Arab Emirates.
Six specialized workshops to discuss how to identify and address the obstacles and challenges to achieving inclusive development.
These workshops are steered by a select group of international experts and experienced speakers in support of persons with disabilities.
Dubai: The General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai held a press conference at Emirates Towers to announce the launch of the "Dubai Inclusive Development Forum" which will take place at Madinat Jumeirah on the 11th and 12th of October 2015. The press conference was attended by select representatives of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as local media.
Among attendees at the conference were H.E. Abdullah Al Shaibani, Secretary General of The Executive Council of Dubai and Vice Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; H.E. Khaled Al Kamda, Director General of the Community Development Authority and Member of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Mr. Majid Al Osaimi, President of the Asian Paralympic Committee, Vice President of the UAE Disabled Sports Federation and Member of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and Dr. Salem Alshafei, Director of Policies and Programs, Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the General Secretariat of Executive Council of Dubai.
The "Dubai Inclusive Development Forum" will be the first of its kind event in the Emirate. It is a key move to achieve the aim of the 'My Community' initiative in establishing Dubai as a fully inclusive, disability-friendly city by the year 2020. Joining together the efforts of all concerned authorities in Dubai is also central in providing important and essential services for persons with disabilities. We look forward to uncover future plans and steps that will be taken to take full advantage of the opportunities available, and overcome any obstacles that may stand in the way of persons with disabilities", said H.E. Abdullah Al Shaibani, Secretary General of The Executive Council of Dubai and Vice Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In this regard, H.E. Abdullah Al Shaibani pointed out the Law No. (2) Of 2014 on the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Emirate of Dubai." Issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the law aims to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy all their rights, enhances their respect, preserves their dignity and protects them from all forms of discrimination or abuse, as well as highlighting their potential abilities in contributing to the development of the community.
He added: "Furthermore, the new law envisages cooperation among all authorities concerned in Dubai to provide persons with disabilities health care, habilitation and rehabilitation services and educational opportunities that are equal to those provided to their peers at all stages. The law further stipulates providing persons with disabilities public services, including the use of roads, public transport, and utility services, in addition to an accessible environment ensuring their easy integration and access within the community".
Shaibani stressed that "His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, issued Law No. (3) Of 2014 on 'the establishment of the Higher Committee to protect the rights of persons with disabilities in the Emirate of Dubai, chaired by Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The law aims to implement the terms outlined and to supervise initiatives and activities being undertaken to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Hence, we confirm that joining efforts of the concerned government authorities in implementing successful concrete projects, have markedly contributed in complementing previous and current laws. We reassure today that this initiative has so far gained great support within the community and this, in turn, reflects the broad community awareness on the important and active role that persons with disabilities play as individuals who can make positive change like their peers".
"My Community... A City for Everyone" initiative aims at providing equal opportunities to everyone in the community, including persons with disabilities. The initiative also strengthens social solidarity, cooperation and inclusive unity to best serve the community, thus eliminating all forms of discrimination or abuse, and eventually turning Dubai into a disability-friendly city that ensures proper nurturing, justice and equal opportunities" said H.E. Khaled Al Kamda, Director General of the Community Development Authority and Member of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
"The Dubai Inclusive Development Forum" is a platform for collective cooperation on five strategic pillars upon which the strategy for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities is based, including: social protection, availing public services and utilities, employment, education, health, habilitation and rehabilitation. Hence, the Forum will offer the opportunity to shed light on international experiences in these areas. Additionally, organizing special workshops during the forum will help impart knowledge and discuss these challenges with select international speakers", added H.E. Khaled Al Kamda.
"We look forward to promoting our community's culture, and providing a flexible life with equal opportunity for all persons with a disability. It is our duty to provide proper alternatives to ensure they live their lives and become active in the community like every other person in our society. It is also our duty to eliminate that sense of pity and charity towards persons with disabilities that still exists in some segments of our society and replace it with empowerment and respect for all."
Building our Nation
"I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council for all his efforts in establishing "My Community.. A City for Everyone" initiative and the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, chaired by HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. These great efforts reflect the faith of our visionary leadership in persons with disabilities and their abilities to contribute in building our nation" said Mr. Majid Al Osaimi, President of the Asian Paralympic Committee, Vice President of the UAE Disabled Sports Federation and Member of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
"The people of the UAE have so far achieved a high level of awareness in recognizing the capabilities of persons with disabilities and are today increasingly involved in projects and collaborations with the concerned teams to implement bespoke policies and beneficial programs for persons with disabilities".
"The participation of persons with disabilities in such initial stages bolsters the success of these projects and programs. Through such steps, they can share insights and opinions based on their actual circumstances and practical needs. This complements our leaderships' vision in integrating persons with disabilities in the community and providing equal opportunities for them.
"We expect extensive participation from persons with disabilities in the initial stages to support the success of the programs and projects undertaken as they offer their opinions and thoughts on their own experiences and their needs. This in turns allows the successful implementation of the vision towards an inclusive society and the provision of equal rights for persons with disabilities in the society. We also expect extensive participation of persons with disabilities in the forum as a way for them and the various attending parties to exchange experiences and insights and benefit from the learnings of worldwide experiments. Our invited speakers will be discussing their experiences and sharing their knowledge in various fields which the relevant authorities should consider in their goals towards the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities".
Held for the first time
For his part, Dr. Salem Ali Alshafei, Director of Policies and Programs, Rights of Persons with Disabilities at The Executive Council of Dubai explained that the "Dubai Inclusive Development Forum" is being held for the first time in Dubai on October 11 and 12, with the participation of select international and local experts, academics and specialists, and pointed to the distinct list of keynote speakers and participants associated with the cause, such as Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Global Disability Advisor at the World Bank Group. McClain-Nhlapo will present a key paper entitled "Inclusive Planning and Policy Development", which will discuss translating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) into national and local development Strategies.
Additionally, Victor Calise, Commissioner of New York City's Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, will discuss "Achieving Inclusion in a Global Mega-city, a Case Study on New York", through which he will shed light on the challenges faced in New York City since releasing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Mr. Calise will then move to tackle the possibilities that have led to significant progress in the integration of persons with disabilities in the community, in addition to highlight New York's future objectives and plans in this area.
Alshafei added: "We are also delighted by the presence of Dr. Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), who will join us to speak about the importance of making the tourism industry accessible for persons with disabilities. He will take the podium to acknowledge techniques and methodologies that help develop integrating sustainable and inclusive tourism developments".
Alshafei also pointed to Dr. Peyvand Khaleghian, Managing Partner at Avicenna Partners, who will be among the participants to discuss the important role of innovation in inclusive development, namely providing rehabilitative means for people with complex and severe medical needs, as well as offering great opportunities which upgrade their life quality.
A Local Experience
Alshafei pointed out that local experiences also occupy an importance in the forum, as Mrs. Aisha A. Miran, Assistant Secretary General of the Strategy Management Sector of the General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai will be addressing My Community's journey towards full inclusion in Dubai's vision for 2020. Mrs. Miran will also highlight corporate frameworks and strategic programs that will enable Dubai to achieve its ambitious vision of turning into an inclusive disability-friendly city by the year 2020.
One of the most important aspects of the forum is that it is comprised of six specialized technical workshops to identify and address the obstacles and challenges that stand in the way of full inclusive development in healthcare, education, social protection, employment, tourism and entertainment. A group of renowned experts will lead the workshops to impart experience to the task forces newly established by various departments, agencies and ministries of the local and federal government, which are responsible for monitoring the implementation of the programs, initiatives and projects in line with Dubai strategy for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities by 2020.
The forum complements "My Community... A City for Everyone" an initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council on November 9, 2013. The initiative aims at turning Dubai into an inclusive disability-friendly city by the year 2020. The initiative also aims to support the objectives of the Dubai Plan 2021 in creating a cohesive, coherent community, and to ensure that persons with disabilities can rely on themselves while being integrated into the community. The joint actions between all government authorities to support the development of strategic plans for Dubai will also contribute to empowering persons with disabilities, thus making Dubai a pioneering example for the world.
"My Community" is inclusive of all disabilities and stresses on equality for all people in the community. The initiative provides equal opportunities to persons with disabilities, through comprehensive policies and administrative procedures that go beyond the discriminating practices they face. Law No. (2) of 2014 "to protect the rights of people with disabilities in the Emirate of Dubai" was thus issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as the Ruler, in collaboration with various parties in Dubai, and provide health, education, employment and essential public services on an equal basis for everyone.
This forum comes in line with the Dubai 2021 goals and objectives to unleash Dubai's potential for diversity based on joint civil values that go beyond the relationships between a specific segment of society or cultural group. This includes religious and spiritual values along with cultural traditions and customs. These values can help achieve social cohesion and economic dynamism, as well as strengthen innovation and cultural development.
The forum will discuss integrating persons with disabilities, in addition to translating the UNCRPD into local laws and policies. The forum's main objective will be to take practical steps towards successful implementation. The discussions will focus on assessing the current situation in order to integrate persons with disabilities into the community. It will also address the quality of services provided to them, as this will help develop a comprehensive and equal environment for all. The forum will rely on successful international studies as criteria to determine Dubai's global role in empowering persons with disabilities.
The forum will witness participation from select spokesperson, academics, policy makers, researchers, government representatives and persons with disabilities, to concentrate and join their efforts to achieve a pioneer position in such areas. The forum will be a unique platform to assess and guide local and international experts on this segment of society. This will help develop the necessary training programs to implement the best practices and policies to overcome discriminating practices against persons with disabilities.
The "Dubai Inclusive Development Forum" will take place at the Jowharah Ballroom in Madinat Jumeirah on October 11 and 12 2015. For more information on the initiative, you may visit the website: (www.mycommunitydubai.com).