A still from the video. Source: Gulf News

The UAE has announced a bright plan for next year's workload. 

As the country closes in on its 50th anniversary in 2021, Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan decided to dedicate 2020 for the planning and preparation of the UAE's next 50 years.

Both leaders have announced that next year will witness the drafting of a new era for the emirates. Dubbed "2020: Towards the next 50," the coming 12 months will see the UAE put its efforts into focusing on a knowledge-based economy - depending greatly on knowledge, information, and high skill levels - rather than an oil-based one. 

"50 years ago, the founding fathers shaped our life today, and next year, we will shape the coming five decades for the future generations," Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said.

The rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai ordered the formation of two cabinet committees dedicated to 2020's objectives. The first will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan together with the Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future Mohammed  Al Gergawi.

This committee is assigned the task of formulating a strategic development plan for the UAE's coming 50 years. All the country's societal facets must be regarded in an attempt to prepare for an "unprecedented developmental leap."

The second committee is created to handle designing, organizing, and perfecting the UAE's Golden Jubilee Celebrations.

According to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE's readiness does not begin today nor next year. It rather began years ago through the establishment of long-term plans, visions, and strategies that were implemented at different stages throughout the country's lifetime.

"Today, we continue preparing and foreseeing the future and building a strong foundation to meet our goals with full confidence and persistence in a rapidly-changing world," he explained.

The "willpower and unity" of citizens and residents of the UAE, according to him, will allow for significant changes and a rise in their aspirations. The hope is for the year 2020 to be similar to 1970, when the country's first 50-year journey was drafted.

A summary on the UAE's creation

The UAE we know today did not exist 49 years ago. The country's cities were part of what were known as the Trucial States — a collection of various sheikhdoms that allied themselves to the British through a number of treaties.

On Feb. 18, 1968, the first sign of the union appeared in a meeting between Ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. They agreed to form a federal union between the two emirates. In the same meeting, other coastal emirates were invited to join the union, including Qatar and Bahrain.

A week later, on Feb. 25, another meeting was held in Dubai between representatives of the nine emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman, Ras al Khaimah, Qatar, and Bahrain.) Their meeting ended two days later with no final agreement in sight. 

Bahrain and Qatar withdrew in August and September 1971, respectively. Ras Al Khaimah followed suit. 

On Dec. 2, 1971, the UAE celebrated the federal unification of the six emirates, formally establishing the UAE of today. Ras Al Khaimah later joined the union on Feb. 10, 1972.