Jurisdiction of the local governments
Similar to many countries around the world, the UAE Federation keeps certain powers within the scope of the individual emirates, which already had their own governing institutions prior to the establishment of the Federation in 1971.
Under the UAE's Constitution, Rulers of the emirates may give up certain areas of authority to the Federal Government. Moreover, as a result of the country's rapid economic and social development, local governments in each emirate may assume or re-assume some functions that had previously been voluntarily assigned to the Federal Government.
Article 122 of the Constitution states that the emirates shall have jurisdiction in all matters not assigned to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federation in accordance with the provisions of Articles 120 and 121.
Structure of the local governments
The local governments of the seven emirates differ in size and mechanisms depending on factors such as population, area and degree of development. In each emirate, there is an executive council which works under the supervision of the Ruler's Court of that emirate, in addition to a number of autonomous agencies with clearly specified powers. Here is a brief on the structure of local governments in each of the seven emirates.
Abu Dhabi has its own central governing organ, the Executive Council, chaired by H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The Council assists the Ruler to carry out his duties and powers.
Under this Council, there are several departments and municipalities, which carry out the emirate's plans and policies.
Abu Dhabi has three main regions and each has a municipality to administer its internal works. In addition, Abu Dhabi has National Consultative Council (NCC) of 60 members selected from among the emirate's main tribes and families.
The Dubai Executive Council (DEC) is the main decision-making government entity in Dubai, with regard to maintaining the city's security and order, providing public utilities and achieving its economic and social progress. The Council assists H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai in preparing development plans for the emirate and formulating local legislation. The Council is headed by Crown Prince H. H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The eight principles of Dubai governance
On 5 January 2019, marking the completion of 50 years of his service, H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai shared eight principles upon which Dubai was founded and has been governed over the years.
As the Ruler of Dubai, H. H. called on all those in a position of responsibility in the emirate to abide by these principles, ensuring their implementation at all events and times. These principles will “ensure the well-being of our people, the sustained progress of our nation and the welfare of our future generations”, said H. H. in a signed letter.
The eight principles are:
- The Union is the Foundation
- No One is Above the Law
- We are a Business Capital
- Three Factors Drive Growth
- Our Society has a Unique Personality
- We Believe in Economic Diversification
- A Land for Talent
- We Care about Future Generations.
Read the full document of the Eight Principles of Dubai (PDF, 300 KB).
Sharjah has an Executive Council in addition to a Consultative Council. Sharjah, with three enclaves on the country's east coast, has adopted the practice of devolving some authority on a local basis with the branches of the Emiri Diwan (Court) which is headed by Deputy Chairmen in Kalba and Khor Fakkan.
A similar pattern of Councils, municipalities, departments and autonomous agencies exists in the other emirates.
Refer to the links below for a list of local government entities in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah:
Every emirate has a Crown Prince. H. H. General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
H. H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum is the Crown Prince of Dubai.
H. H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi is the Crown Prince of Sharjah.
H. H. Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi is the Crown Prince of Ajman.
H. H. Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla is the Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain.
H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi is the Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah.
H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi is the Crown Prince of Fujairah.
Dubai has two Deputy Rulers; H. H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and H. H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Sharjah too has two Deputy Rulers; H. H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi and H. H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem bin Sultan al Qasimi.
H. H. Sheikh Nasser bin Rashid Al Nuaimi is the Deputy Ruler of Ajman.
H. H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Rashid Al Mu'alla is the Deputy Ruler of Umm Al Quwain.
H. H. Sheikh Hamad bin Saif Al Sharqi is the Deputy Ruler of Fujairah.