The Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi organised a virtual introductory meeting, which focused on DCD’s role in licensing Third-Sector organisations in Abu Dhabi, as well as its strategy to develop the sector. The meeting was attended by 97 representatives of 67 associations, institutions and social solidarity funds declared by the Ministry of Community Development and located in Abu Dhabi.
In participation of H.E. Eng. Hamad Ali Al Dhaheri, Undersecretary of DCD; H.E. Mohamed Helal Mohamed AlBalooshi, Executive Director of Strategic Affairs Office at DCD; H.E. Mubarak Salem Al Ameri, Executive Director of the Licensing and Control Sector at DCD; H.E. Mazen Al Dahmani, Executive Director-Financial and Administrator Affairs at DCD, as well as other executive directors and senior officials, the meeting highlighted the importance of empowering Third-Sector entities, so they are able to carry out their operations and provide services in an integrated manner within an organised legal framework.
H.E. Hamad Al Dhaheri said: “DCD’s launch of the licensing of civil associations and institutions of public interest service aligns with the directions of the wise leadership and the department’s vision and strategy to provide a decent life for all members of society and improve the quality of social services in Abu Dhabi. The Department is working to stimulate generations to enable them to serve their communities in various fields.”
Al Dhaheri added: “The department is working on strengthening partnership with various authorities to boost social entities in government, private and third sectors; and activate social responsibility that supports capabilities and the provision of more services and initiatives to raise the quality of life and achieve social cohesion. The department believes in the capability of civil associations in supporting Abu Dhabi’s community.”
H.E. Mubarak Al Ameri said: "The development of civil associations and institutions of public interest is part of the department's continuous efforts to organise the work of the social sector based on policies, laws and strategies, which aim to enhance the quality of life in the emirate. Over the past years, progress has been achieved in the comprehensive development of NGOs, as well as organisational strategies and frameworks.”
Mubarak pointed out that during the past year the department signed an MoU with the Ministry of Community Development to activate the role of NGOs, organise the Third Sector and define its roles and powers according to the relevant legislation regulating it within the geographical scope of Abu Dhabi. This framework also activates the supervisory role over associations through a set of effective oversight mechanisms that contribute to achieving common goals, strengthening ties, partnerships and cooperation in implementing initiatives and priority issues that affect society.
H.E. Al Ameri also mentioned that licensing is a pre-requisite to establish cooperation between DCD and civil associations and institutions in the emirate, and to ensure that these organisations are able to carry out their operations. He pointed out that the department will activate a follow-up and monitoring system to ensure that associations and institutions of public interest are able to carry out their work under a unified umbrella, within a supportive environment.
An integrated system of social work
The department delivered three visual presentations that dealt with the strategy of the social sector and the role of DCD in advancing positive change in society. The first one included public and private entities, as well as for-profit and nonprofit entities that are concerned with family affairs in general, and women and children in particular, including minors, and orphans, as well as youth, needy, people of determination, the elderly and those with unknown parentage.
The presentation also touched on the department's tasks of organising and setting policies, developing, and promoting social programmes, increasing community participation, generating and supporting investments and innovation in the community sector. It also clarified that the department would continue to develop policies to regulate the social sector, grant licenses and accreditations to individuals and institutions.
The presentation highlighted DCD’s endeavours to ensure a decent life for all members of society by building a sustainable society and economy that is transparent and responsive to the needs of the growing community in Abu Dhabi. It also touched on the future goals that focus on the provision of appropriate housing options; as well as enabling factors for social protection, family cohesion and an inclusive society, in addition to nurturing a multiculturalism, and increasing physical activity and community sports.
Third Sector’s role
The second presentation also dealt with the role of DCD and its vision of the Third Sector. It highlighted the department’s role in enhancing community participation and raising the level of community contributions in Abu Dhabi through the development of strategies, policies and supportive programmes.
Based on this specialisation, a project was carried out to develop regulations for Third- Sector institutions, in cooperation with partners from government agencies, and with the participation of a number of existing associations in Abu Dhabi, where their needs and challenges facing the sector were identified. After completing the studies, the department established the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an to strengthen and support the Third Sector and raise the standards of existing institutions within the sector in Abu Dhabi. Through the authority, a number of supporting actions were launched, such as government accelerator, social incubator and social grant.
The presentation indicated that after the issuance of Federal Decree No. 35 of 2020, work was carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Community Development on the most important measures that will be taken to organise the work of public associations and ensure the launch of operations in an easy manner to serve existing and emerging associations.
The presentation clarified that the department's community participation programme supports the Third-Sector system from a comprehensive strategic perspective, as it has begun to identify the main actors working under the Third-Sector system, especially since all the factors supporting the sector were reviewed, whether in terms of financing, incentives or regulations. It also shed the light on ways to develop and build the capacities of NGOs and institutions to optimally use their resources to achieve their goals and objectives.
The presentation pointed out that the Third Sector can help fill the gaps in public services, deal with emerging challenges by providing innovative solutions and by taking support from public and private sectors.
The third and final presentation gave an overview of licensing services and the next steps. The presentation indicated that the provision of licensing services for civil associations and institutions of public interest was announced in November of 2021. Work started soon after that. In the coming period, the focus will be on intensifying introductory meetings and collecting information and data. In February, field visits to licensed civil associations and institutions of public interest will be intensified.
The presentation also highlighted services provided by DCD to civil associations and institutions of public interest, the most prominent of which is the issuance of licenses for an association or a civil institution of public benefit and solidarity funds or union, as well as the renewal of these licenses, and handling of requests for new ones.
It also dealt with opening of a branch of an association, civil institution of public benefit, solidarity fund or union within the emirate, as well as requests for a no-objection certificate to open branches of societies, institutions, or solidarity funds outside the emirate, in addition to other services.
It requires that the association conducts its activities for public interest alone, not obtain any material profit, and opens its membership to all in accordance with Federal Law Decree No. (35) of 2020, which amended some provisions of Federal Law No. (2) of 2008 related to private associations and institutions of public benefit.
Those wishing to obtain more information about the licensing service can visit the official website of DCD via the link: www.addcd.gov.ae