The Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment recently organized the third session of the “National Dialogue for Food Security” in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The event, held under the theme “Transitioning to Sustainable Food Consumption Patterns,” aimed to address the challenges and opportunities associated with enhancing food security in the UAE. It brought together stakeholders from the public and private sectors to engage in constructive dialogue and discussions, with the goal of achieving inclusive, equitable, and sustainable food systems and consumption patterns.
Collaborating with the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and HealthyPath, a consultancy specializing in food sustainability and nutrition policies, the event took place at the SEE Institute building. This facility, located within Dubai’s Sustainable City, is dedicated to sustainability research and education and is the world’s first building to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. Covering an area of 50,000 square feet, the building is home to the SEE Institute, a subsidiary of Diamond Developers focused on research, development, and training.
The event was attended by Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, along with other key officials from the ministry and representatives from various government and private organizations, academic institutions, industrial associations, youth groups, civil society, and national and private sector farms.
During her speech, Minister Almheiri highlighted the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), which will take place in the UAE in November. She emphasized the importance of addressing food security and transitioning to sustainable food consumption patterns during the conference, as climate change directly impacts food availability, accessibility, and stability. Almheiri stressed the need for a more sustainable approach in managing the food sector and reducing its significant carbon emissions, which currently stand as the world’s second-largest emission source.
Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Food Diversity Sector at the Ministry, emphasized the significance of the National Dialogue for Food Security in aligning with the ministry’s efforts and preparations for hosting COP28. He expressed the commitment to develop strategies, policies, and plans that promote a balanced and sustainable food system in the UAE. The aim is to achieve measurable solutions and actions that reflect the UAE’s aspiration to rank first on the Global Food Security Index by 2051. Alameeri highlighted the importance of shifting consumption patterns towards alternative protein sources and local products to enhance environmental sustainability.
The Chairman of the SEE Institute, Engineer Fares Saeed, emphasized the institute’s commitment to accelerating climate action through education, research, and specialized events. The third National Dialogue on Food Security aimed to provide an effective platform for knowledge exchange and sharing experiences among stakeholders to enhance national food security. The Sustainable City in Dubai served as an inspiring model, showcasing solutions such as indoor and vertical farming, urban farming promotion, and efforts to combat food waste.
A joint statement by the UAEU and HealthyPath emphasized the significance of transitioning to sustainable and healthy food consumption patterns in mitigating climate change and promoting public health in the UAE. The statement stressed the need for collaborative efforts across the food value chain, including sustainable farming practices, innovation in nutritious foods and alternative protein sources, affordable and accessible healthy food choices, research institutions providing vital data, evidence-based policymaking, and education for widespread adoption of sustainable food systems.
The dialogue sessions covered a range of topics, including sustainable food consumption patterns, policy and education opportunities, necessary policies for transitioning to sustainable healthy food systems, challenges and opportunities in the UAE’s food systems, food innovation, and the role of youth in food sustainability. The sessions aimed to identify the requirements for transitioning to sustainable and healthy food consumption patterns and the role of research, data, and education in achieving this goal.