The executive branch
The Cabinet or the Council of Ministers of the United Arab Emirates is the executive branch of the federation. It executes all internal and external affairs of the Federation as per the provisions of UAE Constitution and the federal laws. It works under the supervision of the President and the Federal Supreme Council.
The Cabinet consists of:
- the Prime Minister
- two Deputy Prime Ministers
- the Ministers of the UAE
- an active General Secretariat composed of a number of employees to assist it in the conduct of its work.
The first Cabinet was led by late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who formed the first government on 9 December 1971 after the UAE was formed.
The second Cabinet was formed in 1973 and the third Cabinet was formed in 1977. Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum continued to be the Prime Minister until 1979.
On 30 April 1979, the Supreme Council decided to task H. H. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with the formation of the fourth Cabinet for the UAE. Then, Sheikh Rashid became the Prime Minister and served that position until the formation of the fifth Cabinet in 1990.
The current Cabinet
On 19 October 2017, H. H. Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced through his twitter account a reshuffle of the UAE Cabinet.
The announcement came after consultation with H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and after the approval of H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE.
The current Cabinet being the 13th, replaces the 12th Cabinet which was announced in February 2016 and was the largest structural change in the history of the UAE.
The new government shake-up came after the government’s annual meetings which took place on 26 and 27 September 2017 to discuss the future of the UAE and achieve the Centennial Plan 2071.
The new reshuffle introduced new ministry portfolios and made structural changes to existing ones. Six new ministers were appointed, including three women. The new government is set to develop knowledge, support science and research and involve youth in leadership of the nation towards 2071.
Members of the current Cabinet (2017)
Currently, there are 31 members in the Cabinet; of whom 9 are women. The members of the current Cabinet are:
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
- Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
- Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs
- Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum - Cabinet Member, Minister of Finance
- Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan - Cabinet Member, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
- Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan - Cabinet Member, Minister of Tolerance (replacing Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi)
- Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi - Cabinet Member, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Future
- Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri - Cabinet Member, Minister of Economy
- Dr. Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed bin Nasser Al Owais - Cabinet Member, Minister of Health and Prevention and Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs (replacing Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi in the latter capacity)
- Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash - Cabinet Member, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
- Obaid bin Humaid Al Tayer - Cabinet Member, Minister of State for Financial Affairs
- Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy - Cabinet Member, Minister of State for International Cooperation
- Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Al Mazroui - Cabinet Member, Minister of Energy and Industry
- Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi - Cabinet Member, Minister of Education
- Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif AlNuaimi - Cabinet Member, Minister of Infrastructure Development
- Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi - Cabinet Member, Minister of Justice
- Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi - Cabinet Member, Minister of State for Defence Affairs
- Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi - Cabinet Member, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development (replacing Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan)
- Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi - Cabinet Member, Minister of Climate Change and Environment
- Nasser Thani Al Hameli-- Cabinet Member, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation(replacing Saqr bin Ghubash Saeed Ghubash)
- Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid - Cabinet Member, Minister of Community Development(replacing Najla bint Mohammed Al Awar)
- Jameela bint Salem Al Muhairi - Cabinet Member, Minister of State for General Education
- Dr. Ahmad bin Abdulla Humaid Belhoul AlFalasi - Cabinet Member, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and chair of the Federal Authority for Human Resources
- Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber - Cabinet Member, Minister of State
- Dr. Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi - Minister of State
- Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi - Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing
- Shamma bint Sohail Faris AlMazrui - Minister of State for Youth Affairs
- Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh - Minister of State
- Maryam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Mehairi - Minister of State for Future Food Security
- Sara bint Yousuf Al Amiri - Minister of State for Advanced Sciences
- Omar Sultan Al Olama - Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence
Abdullah Mohammad bin Touq is appointed as the new Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet.
Read news coverage relating to Cabinet reshuffle 2017 on WAM, The National and Gulf News.
The Cabinet as per the UAE's Constitution
Article 45 of the UAE's Constitution provides that the Cabinet or the Council of Ministers is the third of five federal authorities.
Articles 55 to 67 in section three of the Constitution outline the establishment, eligibility, jurisdiction and competence of the Cabinet.
Appointment of the Cabinet
According to Article 54 of the UAE's Constitution, the President appoints the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministers.
The Prime Minister and the Ministers shall be collectively responsible before the President of the Federation and the Supreme Council of the Union for executing the general policy of the Federal Government internally and externally.
Each of them shall be personally responsible to the President of the Federation and the Supreme Council for the activities of his/her Ministry or post.
Article 60 of the Constitution lays down the powers of the Cabinet. They are:
- Implementing of the general policy of the Federal Government, both domestic and foreign
- Drafting federal laws and submitting them to the Federal National Council before they are raised to the President of the Federation for presentation to the Supreme Council for approval
- Drawing up the annual general budget of the Federation, and the final accounts
- Preparing drafts of decrees and various decisions
- Issuing regulations necessary for the implementation of federal laws without amending or suspending such laws or making any exemption from their execution; issuing regulations related to the organisation of public services and administrations within the limits of the Constitution and federal laws. By special law provision or by decision of the Council of Ministers, the competent Federal Minister or any other administrative authority may be charged to issue some of these regulations
- Supervising the implementation of laws, decrees, decisions and regulations at the federal and local level
- Supervising the execution of judgements delivered by federal courts and the implementation of international treaties and agreements concluded by the federation
- Appointing and dismissing federal public servants in accordance with the provisions of the law, provided that their appointment and dismissal do not require the issue of a decree
- Controlling the conduct of work in federal departments and the conduct and discipline of public servants in general
- Any other authority vested in it by law or by the Supreme Council within the limits of this Constitution.
The Cabinet's deliberations
The Cabinet holds a regular meeting once a week. The Prime Minister may call for an exceptional meeting, whenever it deems necessary or upon the request of any minister.
Attending the Cabinet sessions is restricted to its members and Secretary General.
A valid Cabinet meeting requires the attendance of majority of the members.
Article 61 of the Constitution provides: The deliberation of the Cabinet shall be secret, and its decisions shall be taken by majority vote of members. In case of even votes, the side on which the Prime Minister has voted shall prevail.
Since the time Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid took office as Prime Minister, he started organising informal retreats for the Cabinet. There, the ministers discuss important national issues and organise brainstorming sessions in an environment free of formal restrictions. The first Cabinet Retreat was held in 2007 at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort in Dubai.
Retreat to discuss the post-oil phase
The last Cabinet retreat took place in 2016 at Bab Al Shams Resort in Dubai, where the Cabinet discussed the post-oil phase.
Federal and local government officials took part in the retreat and discussed ideas and initiatives that could contribute in diversifying the UAE's economy and ensuring its sustainability. Discussions included the current state of the UAE's economy, opportunities for the development of the vital non-oil sectors in the UAE, future scenarios for the UAE economy that could be adopted by the government to make a quantum leap in achieving positive changes in various sectors, as well as the significance of developing national talents to lead these sectors.
At the end of the retreat, H. H. Sheikh Mohamed gave instructions to launch the UAE Post-Oil Strategy in the coming weeks. The strategy will include ideas and initiatives concluded in the retreat. It will work to strengthen the competitiveness of the current economic sectors, as well as gradually introduce new sectors, which will achieve a quantum leap in the UAE's economy, boost competitiveness and ensure its sustainability in accordance with the highest international standards.
Key bodies assisting the Cabinet
The General Secretariat of the Cabinet
According to Article 66 of the Constitution, the Cabinet shall establish a General Secretariat composed of an appropriate number of employees to assist in the conduct of its business.
The General Secretariat serves as a support unit to Ministry of Cabinet Affairs. Its mandate includes:
- preparing the Cabinet's agenda and arranging its meetings
- drafting the Cabinet's resolutions and following up on them
- providing legal, administrative and technical support on the issues presented to the Cabinet.
Read more about the roles and functions of the General Secretariat.
Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
The Prime Minister's Office provides support and consultation to the Prime Minister, the UAE Cabinet and Minister of Cabinet Affairs, assisting them in the decision making process.
Read more about the roles and functions of the Prime Minister's Office.
The Ministerial Development Council
The Ministerial Development Council, known before as the Ministerial Council for Services, was renamed after UAE Cabinet endorsed its restructuring.
The Council is mandated with many responsibilities such as implementing general policy of the government and taking the right decisions to improve the level of services provided to UAE nationals.
Read more about the roles and functions of the Ministerial Development Council.
Other assisting bodies
There are a number of permanent committees and councils that assist the work and function of the Cabinet in various areas of government work.
For full details, refer to:
Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future
Ministry of Cabinet Affairs was established in 2006, upon the nomination of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid as the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. Later, the name was changed to Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future following a cabinet reshuffle in February 2016.
The main role of the ministry is to provide support to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Ministerial Council for Services, and all the established committees and ministerial councils. The ministry carries out its functions through the General Secretariat of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister's Office under the ministry's umbrella.
Key duties of the ministry
The ministry studies the issues and projects assigned to it by the Prime Minister or the Cabinet and follows up on related resolutions and directives. It also monitors government performance and contributes to its improvement and raises the quality of government services and the communication systems of the federal entities.
In addition, the ministry leads excellence efforts at the Federal Government, through research and studies relevant to the Federal Government strategy and vision. It also sets the frameworks and mandates of the Federal entities, and put up the appropriate recommendations to the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Shaping the future
Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future is mandated with the portfolio of the future of UAE by:
- developing a strategy that ensures readiness of all sectors for the future's variables
- employing tools to shape the future
- forecasting opportunities, trends, challenges and future implications
- analysing their impact, developing innovative solutions and alternatives
- building capacity for the future and long-term planning capabilities
- administering the post-oil portfolio
- emphasising on the advanced industries and scientific research for a better future for tomorrow's generations.
Read more about it on the official website of Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future.
Laws governing the UAE's Cabinet
Apart from the Constitution, the following laws govern the UAE Cabinet:
- Federal Law No. 16 of 2009 on the Determination of the Pays of the Prime minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers
- Federal Law No. 14 of 1974 on the Pensions and Retirement Benefits of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministers
- Federal Law No. 9 of 1982 on the amendment of certain provisions of the Law No. 14 of 1974
- Federal Decree - Law No. 11 of 2007 on the Regulation and Determination of the Jurisdictions of the General Secretariat of the Cabinet.
The Prime Minster
The current Prime Minister
H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the current Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE. He is also Ruler of Dubai. In the UAE, the post of the Prime Minster is a constitutional one. Articles 51 to 67 of the UAE's Constitution lay down the provisions relating to this post.
Prime Minister as per the UAE's Constitution
Appointment and resignation of the Prime Minister
According to Articles 47 and 54 of the UAE's Constitution, the appointment and acceptance of the resignation of the Prime Minister lies within the powers of the President of the UAE although with the consent of the Supreme Council.
Roles and responsibilities of the Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of the UAE assumes the following roles and responsibilities, as per the Constitution:
- To call a session of the Supreme Council to elect a new President and Vice-President (Article 53)
- To be a part of the Cabinet also called as Council of Ministers (Article 55)
- To preside over the meetings of the Cabinet, call it into session, direct its debates, follow up the activities of the ministers and supervise the coordination of work between the various ministries and in all executive bodies of the Federation (Article 59)
- To be jointly responsible along with all the ministers before the President and the Supreme Council for execution of the general policy of the Federal Government inside and outside the UAE (Article 64)
- To represent the Federal Government at the sessions of the Federal National Council (Article 93).
UAE Government Communication Office
In July 2018, the UAE Cabinet decided to establish the UAE Government Communication Office, with the aim of ensuring the highest standards of transparency and accuracy of government information in line with best practices in the field of government communication.
The office falls under the scope of General Secretariat of the Cabinet at Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, and will play a pivotal role in enhancing the channels of communication between federal entities to build up an integrated system for internal and external communication across the federal government.
The UAE Government Communication Office will undertake a number of responsibilities, including:
- Developing a general strategic plan for communication in the federal government
- Providing support and advice to federal entities to prepare communication plans
- Proposing and developing unified systems and standards for the federal government identity and coat of arms of the UAE
- Developing and standardising the media messages issued by federal entities
- Developing and coordinating training programmes for capacity building in the field of government communication
- Developing programmes for announcing government initiatives and projects
- Following up and coordinating with the spokespersons of federal entities
- Managing communication crises in cooperation with the relevant authorities.
The official website of the UAE Government Communication Office has been launched at https://www.gco.gov.ae/ to serve as a platform for communication with media outlets and government communication teams.
Updated on 24 Mar 2019