Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change & Environment, chaired the second session of the Emirates Food Security Council of 2023.
The meeting aimed to foster National Agricultural and Food Sustainability, establish food sector standards in line with the Year of Sustainability, and prepare for hosting the COP28 conference.
The virtual meeting was attended by representatives of several governmental bodies, including the Ministry of Climate Change & Environment; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Economy; Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure; Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology; Ministry of Health and Prevention’ Ministry of Education; National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority; Federal Authority For Identity; Citizenship, Customs & Port Security; Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority; Dubai Municipality; Department of Agriculture and Livestock – Sharjah, Ajman Municipality & Planning Department; The Environment Protection and Development Authority in Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah Municipality.
H.E. Mariam Al Mheiri said: “The UAE is committed to addressing food security issues. Our goal is to increase agricultural productivity in a healthy, secure, and sustainable way. This approach seeks to strengthen a vibrant agricultural sector that meets current and future food needs while also providing access to new opportunities in the national economy”.
H.E. Al Mheiri said: “As the host nation of COP28 this year, the UAE has emerged as a pivotal force in furthering global food security. The recent announcement of COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda emphasises our increasing responsibility to accelerate ongoing efforts spanning food systems, agriculture, and climate action. This includes aspects such as production, consumption, and combatting food loss and waste”.
H.E. Al Mheiri added: “Strengthening collaboration among Emirates Food Security Council members and partners from the federal, local, and corporate sectors is critical to improving national food security. This initiative also seeks to improve community awareness about food waste and boost local food production. Our task teams are given confidence to carry out strategic directions that strengthen the entire food value chain”.
The meeting included updates on the plans of the national committees as well as the development of local and global agriculture and food sustainability projects and initiatives. Past meeting proposals were evaluated, as well as recent Council accomplishments. The goal was to track performance indicators and analyse milestones to increase national food security.
The Council discussed international agriculture and food trade sector updates, as well as analysed the challenges faced by the agriculture sector to guarantee proactive readiness and response.
The meeting also discussed the work plans of National Committees, the progress of activities within cohesive frameworks as facilitators for food security strategic plans, and strategies for enhancing innovative agricultural research through platforms. This approach provides data and research outputs, reinforcing local production of vital food items in accordance with climatic conditions in the UAE.
The meeting discussed proactive initiatives for diversifying import sources and ensuring a sustainable food supply. It emphasised the importance of using technology to promote local production and to help farmers and livestock breeders in the UAE adhere to sustainable agricultural practises.
Efforts to reduce food loss and waste, including the national action plan, were discussed. The meeting’s goals included ensuring widespread access to nutritious and sustainable diets, implementing effective dietary processes for improving the nutrition system, reducing malnutrition, and addressing risk factors linked with noncommunicable diet-related diseases.
The National Farms Sustainability Initiative was also reviewed. It was launched during the UAE Government’s annual meetings with the primary purpose of bolstering food security by empowering national farmers and encouraging agricultural and food companies. The Council plays a critical role in supporting this project, directly influencing the development of local produce, and creating sustainable markets for farmers.
The approach to developing and improving standards in the food industry was also examined. Furthermore, a nationwide transformative programme aimed at diversifying sources for importing food commodities and animal feed was undertaken. The Abu Dhabi Platform for Smart Agriculture and Food Security Data was also discussed. Moreover, the outcomes of the National Dialogue for Food Security were studied, which serves as a conduit for communication among governmental authorities, business sectors, and institutions. All these activities are aimed at creating prospects for achieving sustainable food security.