Geographic and Governmental Profile of United Arab Emirates

Background
The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defense and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states - Abu Zaby, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn - merged to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They were joined in 1972 by Ra's al Khaymah. The UAE's per capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. Its generosity with oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed the UAE to play a vital role in the affairs of the region. For more than three decades, oil and global finance drove the UAE's economy. However, in 2008-09, the confluence of falling oil prices, collapsing real estate prices, and the international banking crisis hit the UAE especially hard. In March 2011, about 100 Emirati activists and intellectuals posted on the Internet and sent to the government a petition calling for greater political reform, including the establishment of a parliament with full legislative powers and the further expansion of the electorate and the rights of the Federal National Council (FNC), the UAE's quasi-legislature. In an effort to stem further unrest, the government announced a multi-year, $1.6-billion infrastructure investment plan for the poorer northern Emirates. In late September 2011, an FNC election - in which voting was expanded from 6,600 voters to about 12 percent of the Emirati population - was held for half of the FNC seats. The other half are appointed by the rulers of the Emirates.
Location
Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates
24 00 N, 54 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Middle East
Area
total:
83,600 sq km
rank:
115
land:
83,600 sq km
water:
0 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Maine
Land boundaries
total:
867 km
border countries:
Oman 410 km, Saudi Arabia 457 km
Coastline
1,318 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate
desert; cooler in eastern mountains
Terrain
flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert wasteland; mountains in east
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point:
Jabal Yibir 1,527 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas
Land use
arable land:
0.77%
permanent crops:
2.27%
other:
96.96% (2005)
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Irrigated land
2,300 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
0.2 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
2.3 cu km/yr (23%/9%/68%)
per capita:
511 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
frequent sand and dust storms
Environment - current issues
lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified:
Law of the Sea
Geography - note
strategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
Country name
conventional long form:
United Arab Emirates
conventional short form:
none
local long form:
Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah
local short form:
none
former:
Trucial Oman, Trucial States
abbreviation:
UAE
Government type
federation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates
Capital
name:
Abu Dhabi
geographic coordinates:
24 28 N, 54 22 E
time difference:
UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
7 emirates (imarat, singular - imarah); Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi), 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah (Sharjah), Dubayy (Dubai), Ra's al Khaymah, Umm al Qaywayn (Quwain)
Independence
2 December 1971 (from the UK)
Constitution
2 December 1971; made permanent in 1996
Legal system
mixed legal system of Islamic law and civil law
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
none
Executive branch
chief of state:
President KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 3 November 2004), ruler of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) (since 4 November 2004); Vice President and Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006)
head of government:
Prime Minister and Vice President MUHAMMAD bin Rashid Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers SAIF bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 11 May 2009) and MANSUR bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 11 May 2009)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers appointed by the president
there is also a Federal Supreme Council (FSC) composed of the seven emirate rulers; the FSC is the highest constitutional authority in the UAE; establishes general policies and sanctions federal legislation; meets four times a year; Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) and Dubayy (Dubai) rulers have effective veto power
elections:
president and vice president elected by the FSC for five-year terms (no term limits) from among the seven FSC members; election last held 3 November 2009 upon the death of the UAE's Founding Father and first President ZAYID bin Sultan Al Nuhayyan (next election NA); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president
election results:
KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan elected president by a unanimous vote of the FSC; MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum unanimously affirmed vice president after the 2006 death of his brother Sheikh MAKTUM bin Rashid Al-Maktum
Legislative branch
unicameral Federal National Council (FNC) or Majlis al-Ittihad al-Watani (40 seats; 20 members appointed by the rulers of the constituent states, 20 members elected to serve four-year terms);
elections:
last held on 24 September 2011 (next to be held in 2015); note - the electoral college was expanded from 6,689 voters in the December 2006 election to 129,274 in the September 2011 election; elections for candidates rather than party lists; 469 candidates including 85 women ran for 20 contested FNC seats
election results:
elected seats by emirate - Abu Dhabi 4, Dubai 4, Sharjah 3, Ras al-Khaimah 3, Ajman 2, Fujairah 2, Umm al-Quwain 2; note - number of appointed seats for each emirate are same as elected seats
Judicial branch
Union Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders
none; political parties are not allowed
Political pressure groups and leaders
NA
International organization participation
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CICA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OIF (observer), OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Yusif bin Mani bin Said al-UTAYBA
chancery:
3522 International Court NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 243-2400
FAX:
[1] (202) 243-2432
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Michael H. CORBIN
embassy:
Embassies District, Plot 38 Sector W59-02, Street No. 4, Abu Dhabi
mailing address:
P. O. Box 4009, Abu Dhabi
telephone:
[971] (2) 414-2200
FAX:
[971] (2) 414-2603
consulate(s) general:
Dubai
Flag description
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and black with a wider vertical red band on the hoist side; the flag incorporates all four Pan-Arab colors, which in this case represent fertility (green), neutrality (white), petroleum resources (black), and unity (red); red was the traditional color incorporated into all flags of the emirates before their unification
National symbol(s)
golden falcon
National anthem
name:
"Nashid al-watani al-imarati" (National Anthem of the UAE)
lyrics/music:
AREF Al Sheikh Abdullah Al Hassan/Mohamad Abdel WAHAB
music adopted 1971, lyrics adopted 1996; Mohamad Abdel WAHAB also composed the music for the anthem of Tunisia
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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