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UAE's Ministry of Climate Change & Environment Organizes 3rd National Dialogue for Food Security

The Third National Dialogue for Food Security consisted of several sessions, including discussions on sustainable food consumption patterns, policy and education opportunities, necessary policies for transitioning to sustainable healthy food systems.

Shivam Dwivedi
UAE's Ministry of Climate Change & Environment Organizes National Dialogue for Food Security (Photo Source: Pexels)
UAE's Ministry of Climate Change & Environment Organizes National Dialogue for Food Security (Photo Source: Pexels)

The Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment recently organized the third session of the "National Dialogue for Food Security," focusing on the theme of "Transitioning to Sustainable Food Consumption Patterns." The event aimed to address the challenges and opportunities in enhancing food security in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through constructive dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

The session, held in partnership with the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and HealthyPath, a consultancy specializing in food sustainability and nutrition policies, took place at the Sustainable Energy and Environment (SEE) Institute building. The SEE Institute, located within the Sustainable City in Dubai, is a renowned facility dedicated to sustainability research and education. Notably, it stands as the world's first building to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, covering an impressive area of 50,000 square feet. The building serves as the home for the SEE Institute, a subsidiary of Diamond Developers that focuses on research, development, and training.

Distinguished guests attending the event included Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment; Mohammad Saeed Al Nuaimi, Acting Under-Secretary of the Ministry; and Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Food Diversity Sector at the Ministry. Representatives from government and private organizations, academic and social institutions, industrial associations, youth groups, civil society, and national and private sector farms were also present.

During her speech, Minister Almheiri emphasized the significance of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), which will be hosted by the UAE in November. She highlighted the historic opportunity for global leaders to collaborate and combat climate change, with food security and sustainable food consumption among the key topics of discussion. Almheiri stressed the close relationship between climate change and food security, explaining how climate change impacts food availability, accessibility, and stability.

Almheiri further expressed that the food industry, which includes agriculture, transportation, storage, and the entire food value chain, has the potential to make a significant contribution to environmental preservation. However, the sector faces challenges due to climate change, such as desertification and water scarcity, which have a profound impact on agricultural and food production. In order to maintain a balance, it is necessary to adopt a more sustainable approach to managing the food sector and reduce its emissions, which currently rank as the world's second-largest source of emissions. Transforming food systems through wise food consumption, safeguarding livestock, preserving biodiversity, minimizing food waste, and diversifying food sources is imperative.

According to Almheiri, the National Dialogue for Food Security provides an opportunity for all partners to develop a comprehensive vision for improving national food security. This vision should take into account the country's food requirements and embrace sustainable and climate-smart technologies and systems. By achieving food objectives and contributing to global efforts in addressing climate change through the reduction of carbon emissions from the food and agriculture sector, it is possible to create an experience that benefits the world and builds a sustainable, secure, and hunger-free future.

Mohammed Mousa Alameeri highlighted the importance of the National Dialogue for Food Security, which aligns with the ministry's efforts in preparing for the upcoming COP28 conference and showcasing the latest developments and initiatives to enhance food security in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. The ultimate goal is for the UAE to top the Global Food Security Index by 2051. He stressed the significance of shifting populations toward consumption patterns that rely on alternative protein sources and local products.

In a joint statement, the UAEU and HealthyPath affirmed that transitioning to sustainable and healthy food consumption patterns represents a significant opportunity to mitigate climate change in the UAE while promoting public health. The statement highlighted the importance of addressing food consumption to make substantial progress and emphasized the need to enrich the discussion on managing demand systems and their impact on the supply side during the COP28 conference.

Collaborative efforts across the entire food value chain were emphasized in the statement, starting with farmers and promoting sustainable practices in fresh produce production. The statement also stressed the importance of enabling food manufacturers to innovate in the field of nutritious foods and alternative protein sources.

HealthyPath and the UAEU are working to include this topic in the agenda of the COP28 conference, engaging key stakeholders from the government and private sectors, research institutions, civil society groups, and youth.

The aim is to identify the fundamental requirements for transitioning toward sustainable and healthy food consumption patterns, highlighting the role of research, national reference data, and education in achieving widespread adoption of healthy and sustainable food systems.

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