Dubai: The agenda of the giving retreat highlighted six areas for the Year of Giving; corporate social responsibility, volunteering, serving the nation, the role of the media, developing a legislative system to achieve objectives, and the growth of the development sector and humanitarian organisations. Each area will be led by a minister in a related field, who will work on coordinating between federal and local authorities for major initiatives, following up on progress and achievements, and reporting periodically to the Higher National Committee for the Year of Giving.
1. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy — Corporate Social Responsibility pillar.
“We discussed many unique initiatives and programmes, with clear key performance indicators, that aim to find integrated policies to encourage companies to take part in CSR.”
Several challenges currently faced by the private sector were identified. Some include: a lack of a clear role for the private sector in the development of the state, as well as a lack of clear mechanisms that ensure effective contributions to development.
The following initiatives were developed to promote constructive partnerships between the private and public sectors and advance the development of the state.
Mandatory disclosure of a CSR strategy, and of previous monetary donations to the humanitarian sector, when updating business licenses.
Responsible Procurement initiative, which will include allocating a percentage of government contracts to companies and suppliers that prove their commitment to CSR.
An annual CSR National Index will be adopted to track companies in the UAE based on the percentage of their contributions to CSR initiatives.
Smart Platform for CSR will be launched through an app that includes all data related to CSR, as well as a set of guidelines, success stories, and the latest news.
An annual announcement titled the CSR Annual Results Announcement will also be made, and will include the results of the CSR National Index, honouring prestigious companies and hosting workshops to ensure continuous improvement.
2. Najla Mohammad Al Awar, Minister of Community Development – The volunteer work pillar
Volunteering is one of the key pillars of development and prosperity of our society, and the Year of Giving opens the door to all segments of society to volunteer in all their fields. One initiative is the establishment of a National Volunteer Platform, which includes a database that collates information for volunteers, including opportunities based on their interests. A programme for skills-based volunteering will also be introduced, urging professionals, including doctors, engineers, consultants and accountants to donate their time in their area of expertise. The government will also adopt an Opportunities in Government initiative, through which they will share volunteer opportunities for all segments of society.
3. Uhoud Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness — The Development of a Legislative System
“The development of nations is measured by their legislative ecosystem, and the UAE has proven its leadership among the most developed countries, through the adoption of a regulatory framework for the humanitarian sector.
The ministry will start working on two of the main regulations, which are a federal law for volunteering and a federal law for CSR. Federal laws for CSR, volunteering and endowment will be created to ensure a seamless legislative process that functions efficiently. These laws will be introduced before the conclusion of 2017. A Giving is Happiness programme will also be introduced, featuring several initiatives aimed at providing support and happiness to vulnerable social groups, including the elderly and orphans.
4 Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation — Humanitarian Organisations pillar
Among the initiatives adopted is the National Strategy for the Development of Humanitarian and Charity work. This is a five-year strategy implemented by the government, private sector and NGOs, and prepared in accordance with an extensive study of the current situation to ensure the advancement of humanitarian and charity work in the state. Partnerships will also be developed between local humane and charitable institutions, and global development leaders, in order to exchange knowledge and improve internal mechanisms. A smart podium for humanitarian and charity work will contain the latest information and news on humanitarian and charity work in the state. Its main mission will be to improve development work and link it to the nation’s overarching strategy, as well as the needs of government entities.
5. Shamma Suhail Faris Al Mazroui, Minister of State for Youth — Serving the Nation pillar.
Serving the Nation is one of the most important pillars in the Year of Giving as it targets young citizens who represent the future.
Initiatives primarily targeting youth were introduced, with support from the education sector.
Titled One Hundred Ways to Serve Your Country, this initiative aims to raise awareness of institutions and development projects among youth and guide them on how they can contribute.
Role Model, an initiative that highlights success stories, for example of doctors, architects, teachers, and more, who has adopted innovative ideas to serve their country.
Another initiative will be launched to celebrate the youth who have sacrificed their lives for the country; a national monument will be built in their honour and display all their names.
Community Service initiative, a programme that includes activities for university and school students to take part of, and the introduction of awards and competitions in the humanities field that highlight artistic expressions that serve the nation.
The National Youth Council will also organise visits to all the landmarks that symbolise Serving the Nation, such as the Etihad Museum and Wahat Al Karama.
6. Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of the National Media Council — Media Pillar
The initiatives presented were the following:
Billion in Giving, a CSR initiative for the local media to pledge to support the different initiatives across the Year of Giving by contributing with approximately one billion dirhams work of media coverage across all platforms, including print, radio and TV.
Giving Influencers; an initiative that engages thought leaders and social media influencers and urges them to communicate the key messages of the Year of Giving to the public.
A Giving App that collates all information regarding events, activities, news and contributions related to the Year of Giving will also be launched so that everyone can stay up to date on the latest progress and achievements.
A strategy for volunteer work in media will also be launched, with the goal of volunteering 150,000 hours on behalf of media to train students, give lectures and complete research related to the Year of Giving.
Giving Walkathon, an annual event that will engage media representatives in a walkathon that aims to raise awareness about the goals and objectives of the Year of Giving.
Launching several competitions for young people in the UAE in order to boost their participation and creativity, and incentivize them to create emotional and meaningful digital content, which will be shared on the #YearofGiving hashtag in order to increase engagement on digital platforms.