UN Food Systems Summit+2: UAE Minister Mariam Almheiri Advocates for Climate Action for Food Systems and Agriculture (Photo Source: Mariam Almheiri Twitter)
UN Food Systems Summit+2: UAE Minister Mariam Almheiri Advocates for Climate Action for Food Systems and Agriculture (Photo Source: Mariam Almheiri Twitter)

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, the Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, played an active role in advocating for transformative changes in global food systems during the second day of the UN Food Systems Summit +2 stocktaking moment in Rome.

One of the sessions that Almheiri co-hosted was with the World Food Program (WFP), addressing the School Meals Coalition. She emphasized the interconnectedness of climate change and food security while highlighting the UAE’s commitment to transforming food systems. As part of the Year of Sustainability 2023, the UAE has been diversifying school meal menus with local produce, integrating climate education into the curriculum, adopting clean energy practices, and substantially reducing food waste.

Almheiri expressed optimism about the potential of school meal programs to drive food systems transformation and combat climate change. She mentioned the significance of a white paper from the Research Consortium for School Health and Nutrition, which calls for a two-fold policy approach to improve school meals immediately and in the long term.

Furthermore, the Minister participated in a plenary session that discussed the successes, challenges, and future prospects of food system transformation. She proudly shared UAE-based achievements in organic farming, vertical farming, AI solutions, robotics, and hydroponics. Projects like the “Bustanica” vertical farm, a joint venture between Emirates Flight Catering and Crop One, along with the Food Tech Valley in Dubai, were highlighted.

Acknowledging the financial challenges faced by governments in transforming food systems, Almheiri called for innovative ways to incentivize the private sector to embrace sustainable practices.

Another crucial topic of discussion was science, technology, and innovation in agriculture. Almheiri spoke about the UAE’s leadership in the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), a collaborative effort with the United States and other partners. The initiative focuses on investing in agricultural innovation and technology to mitigate climate change, cater to growing populations, and boost economic growth.

During the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment, Almheiri announced the COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda. She urged governments worldwide to sign a Leaders Declaration on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Climate Action. This declaration aims to address global hunger, meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and work towards limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

It calls on nations to align their food systems and agriculture strategies with their climate commitments and celebrates countries leading the way in incorporating food systems and agriculture into their climate action plans.

First published on: 26 Jul 2023, 09:12 IST

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