DUBAI, 8th July, 2020 (WAM) -- The formation of key committees and the management of the country’s strategic stocks of food were two of the main topics on the table at the third meeting of the Emirates Food Security Council.
Chaired by Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, the virtual event also assessed the latest trends driving the food security domain, reviewed the recommendations of the council’s first two meetings, and appraised the work of the Abu Dhabi Food Security Taskforce and the Dubai Food Security Committee in their efforts to address food supplies during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting brought Almheiri together with council members representing the ministries of Economy, Climate Change and Environment, Energy and Infrastructure, Health and Prevention, and Education, as well as the National Emergency, Crisis, and Disasters Management Authority.
Other council members included representatives of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, Dubai Municipality, Sharjah Health Authority, Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain Municipality, Environment Protection and Development Authority of Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah Municipality.
"The UAE’s leadership has provided unstinting support to enhance the country’s food security system," Almheiri asserted. "This has been particularly evident throughout the current coronavirus outbreak, which has called for additional measures to secure food supply chains in the UAE and around the world."
"The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated our approach, which relies on collaboration and partnerships with relevant entities in the UAE. It has succeeded in ensuring that all food items are available. This third meeting of Emirates Food Security Council has enabled us to build on these successes and enhance our ability to secure our food needs both in the immediate term and for the future."
"To quote His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, ‘Anyone who thinks that the world after COVID-19 will be the same as the one before it is mistaken.’ With this foresight, we must begin a new stage in our mission to ensure our future food security, using any means and capabilities at our disposal," Almheiri noted.
The Emirates Food Security Council is the primary reference for all food affairs in-charge of following up on the implementation of the National Food Security Strategy with relevant authorities. Its tasks include overseeing plans and activities that seek to realise the strategy’s five strategic objectives; facilitating global food trade and diversifying import sources; developing sustainable, tech-enabled local production along the entire value chain; limiting food loss and waste; ensuring food safety and improving nutrition systems, and building up the UAE’s ability to face food security risks and crises.
The Abu Dhabi food security team confirmed that it has set strategic goals and an implementation action plan based on the guidance and directives of the leadership. The plan includes a set of initiatives to ensure the sustainability of the supply of food commodities, supports the entities involved in the food chain, diversifies the sources of imported food commodities, and supports local production.
Omar Bu Shahab, Chairman of the Dubai Food Security Committee, said, "The UAE government is working on proactive plans and mechanisms that contribute to the diversification of food supply sources and their sustainability, which were resorted to during the pandemic. Despite the pandemic’s challenges, the national food security system successfully demonstrated its readiness to manage and secure the necessary food supply across the country. This is a result of concerted efforts undertaken by the parties responsible for food security, and of our national leadership’s continuous support."
The third meeting of the Council included the formation of the key committees, who implement the Council’s activities and the National Food Security Strategy. The National Committee for Reducing Food Waste and Loss was established to set up initiatives to reduce food waste by 15 percent by the end of 2021 and is chaired by the Dubai Municipality.
The National Committee for Developing Local Production and Technology was also formed and tasked with launching initiatives to evaluate and quantify the progress made in tech-enabled agriculture by 30 percent by the end of 2021, measuring the growth in production of strategic food items by 15 percent by end of 2021 and is chaired by Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority.
The Advisory Committee for Food Security was formed to act as a neutral, scientific committee that comments on draft laws and national policies about the sector, conducting studies to identify developments and international food security threats.
The third Emirates Council for Food Security meeting also hosted a discussion on topics including the assignment of council members to provide a list of new legislation to be drafted, the work of the teams focusing on the National Food Security Strategy, and the preparation of a list of experts for membership of the advisory committee. It also assessed the availability of production capacity estimates for 2020.