UNESCO’s choice of December 2, the National Day of the UAE, as World Futures Day, is a sign of appreciation for the UAE’s global role over the past 50 years to imagine and create the future, the country’s leadership has said.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE, wrote on his Twitter account that UNESCO unanimously adopted the UAE National Day as World Futures Day, in which “all countries of the world celebrate their visions for their future development and their readiness to create opportunities and plans for their future generations.
“The international recognition of the UAE as a country for the future, as a model for its vision, and as a major center for its industry, places even greater responsibility on us to develop our capabilities in envisioning the future, keeping pace with its changes and benefiting from its opportunities,” he said.
“I wish our country good health and prosperity, and a better, bigger and greater future,” he said.
The adoption of World Futures Day was a unanimous decision at the 41st session of UNESCO’s General Conference, which concluded on Wednesday in Paris.
It came within the framework of the organization’s efforts to strengthen the capabilities of countries and governments to foresee the future and to develop new means to enhance international collaboration through conferences and workshops that encourage communities to participate in the process of creating the future.
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, said, “COVID has reminded us that we can and must change course. As new threats cast dark shadows on our present, we must harness the world’s incredible diversity to imagine and build our futures collectively.”
“This is the spirit of World Futures Day, through which UNESCO, as the United Nations’ intellectual and prospective agency, invites everyone to think about the future, in order to change the present,” she said.
World Futures Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of developing a “future mindset”, which can contribute to augmenting the preparedness of governments to address various challenges, invent new solutions that nurture comprehensive development, and promote international dialogue and cooperation aimed at stimulating creativity and innovation. It also aims to enhance countries’ knowledge of the future, drawing attention to the importance of anticipating the future, enabling countries to use scientific tools that contribute to shaping it, and enhancing public awareness of its importance as a concept that leads to sustainable development.
Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs said the UAE’s vision of its future has evolved over the five decades to “become a genuine culture, a specialized institution and an integrated system that everyone in the UAE lives daily, and which does not view excellence and leadership as a race to a finish line”.
Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Governmental Development and the Future, said the decision reflects the “global position of the country as a model for development based on building and forging the future”.
She said, “It is now an exceptional model for countries seeking to ensure a better and more sustainable future for their societies and future generations.”