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The Pearl Initiative, the leading Gulf non-profit organisation promoting a corporate culture of accountability and transparency, hosted 37 CEOs of leading regional and international corporations along with UAE ministers at Expo 2020 Dubai for its annual CEO Council meeting to discuss the increasingly important role of the private sector in realising national policy agendas.

The distinguished gathering of the Pearl Initiative’s network of corporate partners from across the Gulf region included CEOs and senior executives from Shell, KPMG, Chalhoub Group, FedEx, PwC, Crescent Enterprises, stc, Majid Al Futtaim, Tecom Group, Enoc, Sabic, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Crescent Petroleum, Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), Talabat, LetsWork, Coursera, Al Tamimi & Company, Tharawat Family Business Forum, Wamda Capital, and ASDA’A.

The convening also reviewed the Pearl Initiative’s updated vision strategy, PI Vision 2025, which builds on a decade of progress and looks to realise its mission to be the leading Gulf business-led organisation promoting corporate governance as a key driver of competitiveness, job creation, and sustainable economic growth. The discussion also addressed the development of corporate governance best practices in businesses across the region, particularly in light of a global push towards embracing environment, social, and governance (ESG) measures as a business imperative.

Mariam Bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, and Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, joined the discussion on ways the private sector and policy makers can work together to ensure alignment in achieving economic, environmental and social resilience and excellence across the Gulf Region.

Almheiri said, “Embarking on a journey of sustainability has brought new economic opportunities to the UAE. The country has invested $40 billion in clean energy ventures locally, and is home to three of the largest-in-capacity and lowest-in-cost solar energy plants in the world. As a major driver of energy diversification worldwide, the UAE has invested close to $17 billion in renewables projects in 70 countries. In addition to improving electricity access for the countries’ populations, the projects the UAE helps bring to life create job opportunities, support the development of local communities and economies, and cut down on pollution.”

Dr. Al Zeyoudi highlighted, “The UAE has been engaging in efforts to retain talented expatriates through revising visa policies and regulations. This includes the roll out of Golden visas and Green Visas for skilled professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, and young talents, the extension of residency durations and grace periods for skilled workers, and the introduction of freelance visas on the mainland.”

Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Founder of the Pearl Initiative, stated, “It is inspiring to witness the Pearl Initiative’s evolution over a decade of unwavering commitment by its community of partners and stakeholders, building a unique action platform by business and for business. It is becoming clearer by the day that the individual components of E, S, and G, are not mutually exclusive, but rather strongly interlinked. While environment and social goals are two sides of the same coin, the governance dimension is really the edge of this coin which binds everything together. Strong corporate governance is the ultimate enabler of financial, social and environmental progress.”

Jamal Fakhro, Managing Partner of KPMG Bahrain and the Chairman of the Pearl Initiative Board of Governors, added, “The Pearl Initiative’s annual CEO Council and Board of Governors meeting is an opportunity for the organisation’s leadership to align and engage with our corporate executives, stakeholders, as well as leading government ministers on the strategy and actionable ways to work together in the upcoming years on the key corporate governance and sustainability priorities.”

Meanwhile Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, has toured the Youth pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

During the visit, Sheikh Khaled praised the young Emirati team behind the design and implementation of the pavilion, which aims to connect youth from around the world.

He toured the pavilion with Shamma bint Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, and Vice President of the Arab Youth Centre, and Saeed Al Nazari, Director General of the Federal Youth Foundation and Chief Strategy Officer at the Arab Youth Centre.

He was briefed on the pavilion’s experiences, which take visitors on an interactive journey of empowerment. He also discussed with the team the message of the pavilion, which represents a global platform for youth from around the world, and serves as an incubator for youth activities at Expo 2020.

It also highlights Emirati youth initiatives and their successful efforts to empower young people and engage them fully in contributing to the community.

Sheikh Khaled highlighted the key role of Emirati youth initiatives to engage young people in shaping the future of the UAE as the country prepares to celebrate its 50-year anniversary.

UAE Falcons Federation: The UAE Falcons Federation has announced Expo 2020 Dubai’s sponsorship of the upcoming season of Telwah Falconry Championship and Expo 2020 Dubai’s Shield for National Falcon Breeding.

Overseen by the UAE Falcons Federation, in cooperation with the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre, the Expo 2020 Telwah Falconry Championship will be held from Dec.7-15 and features three categories, namely: the Sheikhs Category; the Public Category; and another Public Category for owners. Carrying a total prize money of Dhs3.84 million, the Championship will include 15 rounds. The top three winners in all rounds will be crowned during a ceremony that will coincide with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Commenting on the occasion, Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the UAE Falcons Federation, expressed his happiness of Expo 2020 Dubai’s sponsorship of the UAE Falcons Federation championships.

He said that the Telwah Falconry Championship seeks to recognise the top winners in the traditional sport, who are playing a key role in preserving culture and heritage of their country and raising awareness of this art among a wider audience.

He also highlighted the importance of the global mega event, which is being held for the first time in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, in showcasing the UAE’s rich heritage, history and cultural identity to people from around the world. Sheikh Ahmed added that the UAE Falcons Federation organises various events and competitions as part of its objectives to preserve and promote excellence in the sport of falconry.

From her part, Reem Bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said that Expo 2020 is delighted to sponsor the championships, noting that the mega event represents a unique opportunity to shed light on Emirati culture and its authentic values as well as the country’s various achievements.

She added, “Expo 2020 provides a platform to introduce the world and millions of visitors to a traditional sport that was practiced by our forefathers as well as showcase the UAE’s various efforts to preserve its heritage and culture.”

To be organised on Feb.17, 2022, Dubai’s Shield for National Falcon Breeding features two categories which include one for the Sheikhs and another for the Public, with one round each and prizes totaling Dhs490,000 for the top ten winners. A Dhs50,000 prize each has been allocated for the best bred falcon in the UAE (individuals category) and best bred falcon in the UAE (falcon breeding centre category).

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