Middle East & North Africa

UAE drives discussion at annual UN Conference on rights of People of Determination

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NEW YORK, Jun 15 2018 (WAM) - The UAE delegation, headed by Abdullah Lootah, Director-General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authorities, has participated in the 11th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The UAE’s engagements focused on the empowerment of all people of determination in national development, and technologies, specifically artificial intelligence (AI) as mediums of inclusion.

During his statement before the conference, Lootah highlighted the UAE’s national strategy as a roadmap to include, enable, and empower people of determination in all spheres of life. He underscored that the UAE strives to build a society that is fully accessible to, and inclusive of people of determination, by prioritising the input of people of determination in policy design and implementation and promoting opportunities through education and employment, especially for women and girls.

“Since the launch of the National Strategy to Empower People with Disabilities, a dedicated advisory board and focal points in every service-oriented entity, coupled with targeted programming and policies, have worked to ensure that decisions made across the government prioritise the needs and rights of persons with disabilities and their families across the UAE,” said Lootah.

In line with the nation’s growing policy to utilise advanced technology including AI, the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN convened a discussion with the Permanent Missions of Canada, Denmark, and Singapore, on transforming the inclusion of people of determination using AI and other mediums. This event was part of a longstanding partnership with World Enabled and the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments. Other partners included with UN Habitat, Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies, Microsoft, IBM, CBM, and Institute on Disability and Public Policy. Panelists explored the ways in which AI can be utilized to level the playing field for people of determination, and discussed the impact of this technology from various perspectives, including that of industry experts, inclusion advocates, and policy-makers.

Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, UAE’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, delivered the opening remarks at the event, highlighting the concrete measures the UAE has undertaken towards greater disability inclusion. She reminded the audience that Abu Dhabi will be hosting the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, for the first time in the region, and the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, which is lauded as having the highest accessibility and inclusions standards.

In a video message to the audience at the event, Omar Al Olama said, “Our whole world is becoming smarter because of AI, and we must not forget that people with disabilities are a core component of this advancement. We believe that through AI we can help make their lives much better. We also believe that AI should a be a medium for inclusion – involving every citizen in society to ensure that prosperity cuts across industries, demographics, sects, and ethnicities.”

The UAE delegation to the Conference of State Parties to the CRPD also included Reem Al Fahim, Chief Executive Officer of SEDRA Foundation, Ghubaisha Al Ameri, Director of the Al Waqn Centre for Care and Rehabilitation, Sheikha Chaica Sultan Al Qasimi, Youth Delegate and Member of the SEDRA Foundation, and Yasmin Abdulrahman, Adviser at the SEDRA Foundation.

WAM/Esraa Ismail

 
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