By : Adel Farig
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the seventh World Green Economy Summit (WGES) is set to tackle some of the key sustainable development pillars, one of which is global food security and its role in green growth.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the World Green Economy Organization (WGEO) are organising this international event on 6-7 October 2021 at Expo 2020 Dubai. The 2021 WGES will be held simultaneously with the 23rd Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) and Dubai Solar Show, which DEWA organises from 5-7 October 2021.
During the Summit, attendees will discuss solutions, resources and research required to address the pressing global food security challenges and threats. They will examine and propose proactive measures to enhance stakeholder resilience and preparedness for any future changes.
These areas of discussion have become more relevant than ever today due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the importance of food security in achieving people’s prosperity, ensuring continued operation of the vital sectors, and meeting development requirements across fields.
Food security will remain as one of the top priorities of governments after the pandemic. WGES will look into ways to advance the food and agricultural technology sectors to fulfil the requirements of the circular or green economy and promote the sustainable use of natural resources, particularly water, during production processes. Several pioneering and leading food security initiatives have been launched worldwide to combat different challenges.
One of these is the Dubai Food Tech Valley, a major programme launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to leverage genetic engineering in agriculture, along with hydroponics and vertical farming, to ensure food security for residents.
“Amid the pandemic, the food security system implemented in response to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has proved that it is efficient and effective.
The wise leadership’s proactive vision has played a pivotal role in preserving the welfare of UAE citizens and residents and ensuring their access to high-quality food at all times,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy in Dubai, and Chairman of WGES.
“The upcoming WGES will discuss how to promote food technology and strengthen the food value chains, and capitalise on advanced technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. High-profile local and international guests, including heads of state and leading experts and specialists, will be part of the event.
This strengthens the UAE’s role in coming up with global sustainable solutions to improve people's lives all over the world. This will cement the UAE’s prestigious position as a leading global hub for food security that is based on innovation and knowledge.
WGES supports the UAE’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, including the ‘Zero Hunger’ goal, as well as the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051 launched in 2018 to develop an integrated and empowering national sustainable food production system,” added Al Tayer.
"Food security is a key strategic pillar to drive sustainable development and accomplish the ambitious green economy objectives that the UAE has set. Our leadership has long prioritised the food sector, building an advanced infrastructure and embracing the latest technologies to boost local production and ensure its sustainability in light of the significant challenges facing the UAE in this regard. Using advanced technologies and innovative solutions to ensure food security is indispensable for the green economy to thrive, which, in turn, is necessary for the entire food value chain in the UAE to flourish,” said Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security.
“The World Green Economy Summit 2021 is a pragmatic step that supports our efforts towards enhancing our national food security.
It is an opportunity to explore the latest technologies and innovative ways to use them. It is also a platform where we can exchange global expertise and visions, as the world collectively moves towards green economy solutions to support food systems around the world. We look forward to the Summit’s discussions, as well as the recommendations and pragmatic solutions, which we can build on to achieve the objectives of the UAE National Food Security Strategy,” added Almheiri.
“MOCCAE and its partners are committed to enhancing food security and sustainability – a strategic priority of the UAE – through an integrated host of enablers, such as adopting state-of-the-art technologies, scaling up R&D, and streamlining cross-border food supply chains and related logistics services,” said HE Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
“In line with the forward-looking vision of the UAE’s leadership, the country is advancing its shift to a green economy through developing sustainable solutions for each sector, particularly the food sector that has been under immense pressure globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a leading platform for addressing major global challenges, facilitating a robust transition to a green economy, and sharing success stories, the upcoming edition of WGES will significantly contribute to integrating climate action into the food sector, and leveraging innovative technologies to boost food security and sustainability,” added Al Nuaimi.
Mrs. Habiba Al Marashi, Co-founder and Chairperson of the Emirates Environmental Group, stressed that the green economy is a means to achieve sustainable development, and that making the economy environmentally sustainable in the region is no longer an option, but rather an imperative to achieve sustainable development goals and create more job opportunities without affecting the nature of the planet.
The food issue is complex; on the one hand, there is the problem of food waste, and on the other, there is the question of food security. On top of everything else is the imperative of sustainable agriculture and green growth. The issue requires concentrated, innovative, multi-sector partnerships and collaborative platforms. The UAE, in convening the World Green Economy Summit 2021, is to be lauded for its consistent effort and leading role in this regard.