Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor, and organised by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), the fifth edition of Crisis and Emergency Management Conference (CEMC) 2016 began on Sunday at St. Regis Resort Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. The two-day conference titled ‘Innovative approaches towards a safe nation’ witnessed the participation of a prominent group of local, regional and international experts, as well as specialists in the field of emergency crises and disaster management.
Present during the opening ceremony were His Excellency Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention of Society, HE Saif Sultan Al-Aryani, the Secretary General of the Supreme Council for National Security in the UAE, HE Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, Commander in Chief of Abu Dhabi police, HE Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Health Authority, HE Lieutenant General Saif Abdullah Al Sha’far, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior, HE Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Hosni, Director General of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), HE Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), HE Jassem Al Zaabi, Director General at the General Authority for the Security of Ports, Borders and Free Zones, members of the diplomatic community of the UAE, as well as other senior officials.
His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “Nowadays, crisis and disaster management has become a matter of critical concern that haunts many countries. Sometimes this can be due to the lack of strategic planning and good management, and some other times this can be due to the lack of predicting and foreseeing them. Some believe that we are living in a period of multi-level, complex crises, whether it is a war or an internal unrest, terrorist attacks, or even devastating natural disasters. Consequently, these require examination, discussions and thinking in order to confront and address them
and their consequences in a scientific manner, based on systematic and accurate researches.”
His Excellency Salem Obaid al-Hisan Shamsi, a member of the Federal National Council, addressed the audience on behalf of Her Excellency Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, Chairman of the Federal National Council, at the official opening. He said: “In order to face a crisis effectively, we must create opportunities for community participation, engaging all segments of society, including organisations, groups and individuals. Active participation of all members and entities of a community in the face of a crisis is an essential pillar of planned response, and is now being pursued by states and stakeholders facing such emergencies.”
His Excellency Abdul Rahman Al Owais said in his keynote address: “We now live in a complex world, characterised by accelerating changes, and people are exposed to a variety of risks and threats. Many disasters and crises ravage our world, and globalization at unprecedented levels has impacted our communities.”
At the conclusion of his speech, H.E Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Hosni, Director General of the National Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA), thanked the Authority’s partners for the organization of this very important conference.
For his part, Campbell McCafferty, Director, Civil Contingencies Secretariat in the United Kingdom, said in his keynote speech that security is the key to prosperity, and that there should be a national security council for every country.
Préfet Henri Masse, Director of the Studies at the National Administration Academy and a Former General Commander of the French Civil Defense spoke on the topic ‘Crisis from a Security Perspective’.
The first session of the first day’s conference discussed an overview of security. The session was presided by Dr. Sultan
Al Nuaimi, a researcher and an academic specialist.
The second session, which discussed the modern methods of disaster and crisis management, was presided over by Dr. Saif Juma Aldhaheri, Director of Safety & Prevention, NCEMA. During the session, Dr Robert MacFarlane, Assistant Director (UK Resilience Doctrine and Training) in the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, Cabinet Office-UK, explained the innovative techniques in responding to disasters, while Mr. Alex Stephen – General Manager for Government and Public Safety & Security in Telstra – Australia, presented the Australian experience in the creation of a national system to inform and alert the public. Additionally, Mrs Luna Abu-Swaireh, Head of the Regional Office
for Arab States of the United Nations Office for UN Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in Cairo, outlined the priorities of the Sendai Framework.