Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF) and Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Centre for Endowment Consultancy (MBRGCEC) today hosted a joint press conference to shed light on the new Endowment Law that was approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in October 2017.
Complementing the country's vision for charity and generosity, the new law paves the way for the establishment of endowment institutions that meet societal needs through a comprehensive and modern legal framework that comprises substantive and procedural rules for the licensing and mechanism of endowment institutions, their management, obligations, and measures to be taken in case of violations of the terms and conditions of the licenses.
As per the new law, AMAF is mandated to receive all necessary documentation from endowment bodies that wish to formally register themselves and be a part of the wider waqf infrastructure. The Foundation will carry out a careful review of the documentation and issue waqf licenses to the applicants within 10 working days, and submit the licenses received to MBRGCEC. The Centre will issue the Dubai Endowment Sign to the concerned bodies, enabling them to operate as full-fledged endowment institutions and carry out their humanitarian, cultural, scientific and developmental agendas.
Held at The Executive Office in Dubai, the press conference was headlined by His Excellency Tayeb Al-Rais, Secretary General of AMAF, and Dr Hamad Al Hammadi, Secretary General of MBRGCEC. Several senior representatives from both entities also attended the briefing.
Addressing the media, His Excellency Tayeb Al-Rais said the UAE has always pioneered humanitarian action and leads the world's nations in issuing laws and laying down foundations to turn individual and corporate charity work into a daily and collective practice.
He noted that the vision and wisdom of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum have helped transcend dominant norms and proved that charity is more deserving of governance and encouragement than any other sector. He reiterated His Highness's belief that governance of charity leads to its sustainability and that it is only possible for the UAE to achieve its long-term goals through carefully nurturing charity and the spirit of giving.
Al-Rais said: “The new Endowment Law (Law No. 14 of 2017) that has come into force is a call to action and inspiration for individuals and institutions, paving the way for a new phase of development in the UAE society."
He stressed that the law aligns with modern-day requirements to enhance and streamline the role of endowments in the community, encourage charity work, and ensure it is directed towards sectors such as education, healthcare, culture, arts, environment, and sports.
Al-Rais added: “The Endowment Law has special directives for the establishment of endowment institutions. Licensed by AMAF, these institutions will enjoy independence in the management of their financial affairs within the framework of the licensing rules and regulations as well as the prevailing governance system of endowment institutions. AMAF will monitor these institutions to ensure they achieve their goals and remain committed to this law and preceding laws pertaining to endowments."
For his part, Dr Hamad Al Hammadi said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum believes in the historic role of waqf or endowment in community development and as a tool that can inspire change in various societal issues. The waqf initiatives launched by His Highness have all been designed to revive the historic role of endowments and encourage entrepreneurs and private businesses to become active participants of the waqf community with the law facilitating related procedures and their sustainability."
Al Hammadi added: “In enforcing the Endowment Law, His Highness aims to create an optimum legislative environment for waqf organizations. Furthermore, the law will ensure the establishment of new waqf institutions and permit them to play a constructive and contributory role in the areas of science, research, medicine, youth, environment, and culture.
“Thanks to the waqf initiatives of Dubai's leadership, the endowment sector has gained a vital social status. For example, we have medical research, environmental programs, and culture-related programs for children that are all funded by the waqf. The innovative endowment sector launched by His Highness and strengthened through this new law offers an opportunity for private sector institutions of all sizes to deploy endowment initiatives that contribute to the development of our society."
Al-Hammadi affirmed that the law will particularly enhance the role of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Centre for Endowment Consultancy in granting the Dubai Endowment Sign to institutions that are engaged in community work based on the concept of waqf. He said the law mandates that institutions that hold the Dubai Endowment Sign will be granted special privileges in aspects such as government procurements, setting up and selecting contracts.
Al Hammadi invited all entrepreneurs to secure a license for their respective waqf institutions in order to implement community programs in various fields. He said: “The Dubai Endowment License will help strengthen the concept of innovative endowments and increase the social role of institutions in the private sector. This is an opportunity for private sector institutions to come together and consolidate their community activities under the umbrella of one authorized waqf body."