Section 9: Ministerial Programme
Government engagement was a vital component of supporting the trade and investment focus of our Expo programme. Covid and the travel restrictions in place meant that all but the Net Zero Activation in March 2022 had no in market Ministerial presence, however Ministerial key note speeches and panel session participation was secured virtually where in person presence wasn't possible.
For the Net Zero Activation in March 2022 the Scotland Expo Team, working with SDI in market sector specialists, focused on build a comprehensive programme of engagements with relevant UAE energy officials and Ministers aligned to the Net Zero theme but also picking up on the important Ministerial engagements that couldn't take place from previous Expo Activations due to Covid.
UAE Government Engagement Process
The Scottish Team worked collaboratively with UK Government officials in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to complete the Note Verbal process – the required formal process for securing engagements with UAE officials. Overall this was extremely challenging mainly due to the Scotland Expo Team's inexperience and the bureaucratic nature of the process, however with the support of FCDO a programme of high level ministerial meetings, including a full day in Abu Dhabi with UAE energy officials was ultimately secured.
In addition to the Activation focused engagements bilateral engagements/visits with each of the Denmark, Netherlands and Ukraine Pavilions were undertaken. The Ukraine visit was an opportunity to show solidarity in a time of crisis, however the Denmark and Netherlands engagements had more of a business focus and produced outcomes and agreements that are being progressed.
Overall a targeted week of positive Ministerial engagements was delivered that helped to build and develop Scotland/ UAE connections and are now supporting work around potential future collaborative relationships, including a proposed visit to Scotland by the UAE Trade Minister that can help to support longer term work aligned to Hydrogen and other alternative energy sources.
The Ministerial Engagement Programme and Activation theme week attracted a significant level of media coverage including an interview with Minister McKee by leading UAE media title The National.
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