The whole world recognizes that security, safety and stability have been the distinguishing features of the UAE under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (may God protect him). These attributes are the fruits of a well-defined national strategy aimed at maintaining safety and security for every resident of the country. International Exhibition for Security and National Resilience (ISNR 2014), which was held in Abu Dhabi recently, provided a platform for devising the best ways to provide security and safety. The exhibition taking place in the UAE wasn’t an isolated development. It was the result of the country’s high levels of achievement across various fields, particularly security and risk prevention because of its state of preparedness.
It is easy to reduce the concept of security to mere safety. The fact is that there is a huge difference between these two concepts, even though they are two sides of the same coin. The concept of ‘security’ is considerably different from that of ‘safety’. While security entails providing all elements of safety and physical, psychological and social stability, safety involves risk prevention to ensure a sound social, professional, healthy and ecological environment that is convenient to work and live in.
There are safe places that lack the elements of safety and risk prevention because they are subject to domestic threats such as revolts, unrest, diseases, or external challenges such as wars and security threats, as is the case in some third world countries. On the other hand, there are places which have all the elements of safety yet they lack security, as is the case in some western countries. So, how has the UAE succeeded in acquiring such a distinguished record in both these elements?
Since the day of its establishment, the UAE has taken great interest in issues related to security, safety and risk prevention as these are fundamentals without which no one can live, work or go about his/her daily normal life. The UAE has directed considerable attention to internal and external security. Internal security comes from stability, which is essential to domestic development while external security is the sole guarantor of a balanced, vibrant domestic development process. The UAE has been keen to provide the necessary elements for achieving internal and external security at the same time, without advancing one at the expense of the other. Internal and external security has always been at the top of its list of priorities.
On the domestic front, the UAE has strived to become an oasis of security, safety and stability. Enactment and implementation of fair laws and punishing wrongdoers have laid a strong foundation of social justice and made everyone feel equal before the eyes of the law. Observance of human rights has also been a top priority for the UAE. People from hundreds of different countries live and work in the UAE and there are enough laws to protect their rights and dignity. By virtue of the appropriate legislations enacted by the State, expatriate workers have been able to live and work in a healthy environment and enjoy their rights. The establishment of social justice has contributed to the atmosphere of safety and stability, making the UAE an oasis that everyone seeks to work or live in.
On the other hand, the UAE has sought to provide all the elements of domestic security and risk prevention by enacting appropriate legislations. Elimination of all forms of discrimination among human beings, protection of public health against deadly diseases and promotion of an atmosphere of religious and ethnic tolerance have created a distinctly convenient, social, healthy and professional environment. Also, preservation of security, awareness of the dangers of health and social issues, protection of people’s lives and prevention of all forms of crimes have created a perfect environment and made it easy to predict potential dangers and address them.
Risk prevention is one of the most important ways to ensure safety and security in the society. It can only be achieved through constant preparedness against threats, whether they are political, security-related, health, or environment. The UAE has avoided political risks by adopting a balanced foreign policy, which has helped the country avert external threat and distance itself from regional and international wars and conflicts. Instead it has sought to build bridges of communication with all parts of the outside world.
The UAE has established a reputation all over the world of being an oasis of peace and development and an environment that accommodates the entire spectrum of human beings, irrespective of their differences. Indeed, protection of the State’s security, borders, coasts and seas have been a high priority for the country. That is why the country strives to equip its army and coast guard with all modern equipment to prevent external threat.
The country has also mitigated environmental hazards by preparing itself for oil spillage, environmental pollution or contamination of water and marine resources. The UAE has adopted appropriate legislations to preserve natural resources such as energy and water, and has boosted renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. An example of the UAE’s pursuit of clean energy is the establishment of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi to as the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The country has always fought infectious and deadly diseases such as AIDS, SARS and other deadly epidemics and is free of them.
Considering all this, the UAE’s high levels of achievements in areas of development, security, safety, prosperity and stability are not surprising at all. A survey, conducted recently by a foreign agency on the country the Middle Eastern youth consider to be the best, the UAE stood first. This was due to the availability of all means of living, which they want to be available in the society they aspire to live in. The UAE hosting ISNR exhibition not only establishes its international reputation in this field but also shows the world the effort it has made to achieve such high ranks in terms of safety, security, and protection of lives of all people living in it.