Dubai: The Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment has organized the third session of the “National Dialogue for Food Security” in the UAE with a focus on transitioning to sustainable food consumption patterns. The event, held at the Sustainable City in Dubai, aimed to facilitate constructive discussions between stakeholders from the public and private sectors to achieve inclusive, equitable, and sustainable food systems.
Collaborating with the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and HealthyPath, a food sustainability and nutrition consultancy, the event took place at the SEE Institute building. This remarkable facility, covering 50,000 square feet, is dedicated to sustainability research and education and is the world’s first building to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. The SEE Institute, a subsidiary of Diamond Developers specializing in research, development, and training, is based there.
Prominent attendees at the event included Ms. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, along with high-ranking officials from the ministry and representatives from various sectors. In a joint statement, the UAEU and HealthyPath emphasized that shifting towards sustainable and healthy food consumption patterns offers a significant opportunity to combat climate change and promote public health simultaneously.
The statement highlighted the importance of collaboration across the entire food value chain, starting with farmers and promoting sustainable farming practices. It stressed the need to encourage food manufacturers to innovate in the production of nutritious foods and alternative protein sources. Retailers were also identified as key players in ensuring that healthy and sustainable food choices remain affordable and accessible. Furthermore, research institutions were urged to provide essential data and research to guide evidence-based policymaking, while governments should establish supportive frameworks and policies for a successful transition.
HealthyPath and the UAEU have also aimed to incorporate this topic into the agenda of the upcoming COP28 conference. By involving stakeholders from government, private sectors, research institutions, civil society, and youth, they seek to identify the necessary requirements for transitioning to sustainable and healthy food consumption patterns. The role of research, national data, and education in promoting the widespread adoption of healthy and sustainable food systems was also acknowledged.
During the Third National Dialogue for Food Security, several dialogue sessions were conducted, covering topics such as policy, innovation, education, challenges, opportunities, and intersectoral collaboration in sustainable food systems. The session dedicated to youth explored their role in promoting food sustainability through a Youth Circle and a Collaborative Innovation Workshop.
By hosting such events and fostering multi-stakeholder dialogue, the UAE demonstrates its commitment to addressing food security challenges and creating a sustainable future for its citizens.