The Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi, which oversees the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination 2020-2024, held the first-quarter meeting for the leaders of the strategy’s taskforces, including the executive directors of the 13 entities implementing the strategy. The meeting was chaired by His Excellency Mohamed Helal Al Balooshi, Executive Director - Office of Strategic Affairs at DCD. The taskforces’ leaders provided updates on the implementation progress and focused on presenting the action plans and expected outcomes for the current year.
Built on six pillars – education, employment, social care, universal access, health and rehabilitation, and enablers – the strategy aims to transform Abu Dhabi into an inclusive and accessible society through the collective and integrated efforts of public, private and third sectors so People of Determination (POD) can exercise their full rights and avail equitable opportunities in all aspects of life.
During the meeting, H.E. Al Balooshi reiterated the importance of continuing the efforts in implementing the strategy by all relevant parties within well-defined plans and targeted and meaningful outcomes,, so it creates the desired and positive impact on the lives of POD and their families, pointing out that the strategy conforms to the vision of the leadership to support POD and is in line with the social-sector agenda to provide a dignified life for all members of society.
HE added out that DCD continues its efforts in cooperation with all partners to achieve the highest rates of happiness and life satisfaction by POD to build a society where every individual enjoys the utmost quality of life and is able to fulfill their dreams and aspirations. This way, Abu Dhabi will emerge as a model for empowerment and inclusion of diverse segments of society.
HE stated that the executive plan of the Abu Dhabi Strategy for POD for 2022 includes 21 strategic initiatives that will be implemented across its six pillars and this year, we will focus on translating the policies and systems that were designed in the strategy's first year into tangible results for POD and their families. Al Balooshi emphasized that effective communication and linking all strategic pillars are key to attaining the strategic goals.
The DCD Enablers’ taskforce, led by Her Excellency Dr. Layla Al Hyas, Executive Director of the Social Monitoring and Innovation Sector and Acting Executive Director of the Community Development Sector at DCD, presented the key initiatives that were implemented including the completion of the design phase of the initiative “establishing an integrated care system for POD and their families” that resulted in the design of the Abu Dhabi service catalogue for POD and their families, encompassing inclusive health and rehabilitative services, inclusive education services and inclusive living services and the sustainable funding solutions for 22 prioritized services across the three aforementioned areas which will enable POD and their families to access these services at an affordable cost. And this year, the focus will be on the phased implementation of this system of care.
The team also presented the plan of “the training and capacity building on inclusive practices” initiative, as its second phase will be implemented this year, further enabling the entities with the necessary knowledge and skills in the area of disability inclusive development to enhance POD inclusion and empowerment. Attendees addressed the initiative as well of the “Integrated system of governance for the POD sector”, in addition to the “Social Protection scheme for POD” initiative that will ensure safeguarding of POD rights.
The Social Care taskforce, led by H.E. Abdullah Al Kamali, Executive Director of the POD Sector at the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, highlighted the full and successful completion of the initiative of “the POD database in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which was launched last year. The database will inform the policy and programme development process across all taskforces with comprehensive and accurate data on POD and their current status. Discussions were also held regarding the” community awareness program on the rights-based disability model” that will focus on the importance of educating people of determination and their families about their rights, in addition to the initiative “a comprehensive support scheme for caregivers and families of POD” , as well as the initiative of “ the service officer for POD”.
The social care taskforce concluded by presenting the completion of 70% of the initiative “Abu Dhabi disabilities classification alignment with the unified national classification of disabilities in the UAE” by adopting and disseminating the third edition of the Disability Classification Manual in Abu Dhabi that is aligned with the Unified National Classification of Disabilities to the relevant authorities
The Universal Access taskforce led by H.E. Mohammed Hamad bin Fahd Al Muhairi, Executive Director of the Transport Sector at the Department of Municipalities and Transport, discussed the achievements, and plans of the seven initiatives under this pillar that are being implemented in partnership with the relevant entities.
The Department of Municipalities and Transport which leads the “Universal Access to Buildings, Facilities and Transport” initiative, outlined the completion of the analysis of the “UAE code for universal design” and communication with all relevant entities to examine and action the codes and standards that fall under their jurisdiction.
Then, the Abu Dhabi Housing Authority which leads the “Universal Access to housing” initiative stated that they are in the phase of conducting the gap analysis in the housing provisions for POD with the aim to develop a comprehensive plan to address potential gaps.
The Abu Dhabi Digital Authority continued the presentation of the universal access pillar by detailing the expected outcomes of the "Universal Access to the Electronic and Smart Systems, Services, and Information” initiative that they lead., this initiative aims to include digital accessibility standards for people of determination within the “Tamm” application and platform as part of the improvement plans of digital channels in 2022. As for the “Universal access to inclusive cultural, entertainment, and touristic programs” initiative led by the Department of Culture and Tourism, the team shed the light on the expected plan and outcomes including a detailed assessment of the accessibility of all cultural sites and a workplan to improve accessibility to these facilities, in addition to adopting an accessibility classification system for events and tourism establishments such as hotels, based on studied criteria.
As for the “Universal Access to inclusive Sports Programs”, The Abu Dhabi Sports Council which leads this initiative elaborated on 2022 plan which includes making sport clubs accessible and inclusive to accommodate POD needs. The Abu Dhabi Airports team presented the achievements of the "Inclusive Air Travel Experience" initiative and outlined the plans for 2022 that include equipping the new airport with arrangements and services to be inclusive for POD. And lastly, Abu Dhabi Ports concluded the presentation on the universal access pillar by reviewing the achievements of the "Inclusive Marine Travel Experience" initiative, which aims to make the cruise ship terminals 1 and 2, Sir Bani Yas and Marsa Mina accessible to people of determination. A situation assessment and gap analysis were undertaken of improve these facilities up to international standards.
The taskforce representing the health and rehabilitation pillar, overseen by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi and led by Her Excellency Dr. Hind Al Zaabi, Executive Director of the Healthcare Facilities Sector, highlighted the key findings of the current situation assessment and gap analysis for the initiative called "Developing a Unified, Comprehensive and Integrated Assessment Framework for People of Determination". The 2022 plan included completion of the development of the unified, comprehensive and integrated assessment framework for people of determination.
H.E. Eng. Thamer Al Qasimi, Executive Director of the Special Projects and Partnerships Sector of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, presented the achievements and outcomes of the “Early Childhood Integrated Intervention system”, initiated under the health and rehabilitation pillar and led by the Early Childhood Authority. The current state assessment is completed and showed four major challenges concerning early detection, diagnosis and early childhood intervention. The future Integrated Early Childhood Intervention System framework has been developed including a number of initiatives that once fully implemented, the end outcome should be an integrated and seamless journey for children of determination and their families from early detection to intervention. HE stated that the efforts will be directed this year to developing and implementing 4 pilots that will have an impact on the lives of children of determination and their families.
The "education pillar" team of the Department of Education and Knowledge, led by Manal Al Dosari, Acting Executive Director of Planning and Strategic Affairs Sector, presented the department's plan to implement the “inclusive education model in Abu Dhabi, which includes the launch and implementation of the inclusive education policy and framework.
The "employment pillar" team of the Abu Dhabi Human Resources Authority, led by H.E. Hamad Al Shibli, Executive Director of the Policy, and Institutional Development Sector, said that the approval process has begun for the " Inclusive Employment Policy for People of Determination" initiative. The team highlighted its achievements and unveiled plans for a number of projects that have been activated within the “Inclusive Employment Program” initiative, including the functional vocational classification of POD; a job registry for people of determination in the Abu Dhabi government; an electronic system for job application and matching for POD; and an employer guide to employ POD in Abu Dhabi.
The meeting was concluded with an appreciation of the collective efforts and commitment of all parties and with a general discussion on the recommendations for the next phase of the Abu strategy for PoD.