Expo 2020 Dubai: UAE encourages people to adopt a healthy diet on World Food Day

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Dubai - Officials sign letter of intent that aims to improve public's nutritional intake and enhance food systems.

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sun 17 Oct 2021, 4:00 AM

The UAE is stepping up its efforts to encourage people to adopt a healthy diet and create sustainable food sources for the community.

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Marking World Food Day at Expo 2020 Dubai, top officials from the government, Emirates Nature-WWF, and the UN on Saturday signed a ‘letter of intent’ that aims to improve the public’s nutritional intake and enhance the country’s food systems.

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“(Better nutrition) is a fundamental pillar of the National Food Security Strategy 2051,” said Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, one of the signatories.

“It plays a critical role in strengthening the entire food system of the country and creating a significant impact on community development and public health. Its economic benefits are numerous and cannot be understated,” Almheiri said.

Among the other officials who signed the document were Dr Hussain AlRand, assistant undersecretary for public health at the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap); Laila Abdullatif, director-general of Emirates Nature-WWF; and Abdul Hakim El Waer, assistant director-general and regional representative of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

“This heightened interest in healthy diets reflects the UAE’s commitment to preserving the environment through sustainable food production patterns,” Almheiri said.

The letter of intent brings the UAE closer to establishing an integrated model for nutrition, the minister added. “That is our main area of focus as we move to expand our network of partners and collaborate with various relevant parties.”

AlRand said the document would support Mohap’s efforts to safeguard public health through proper nutrition.

“Promoting a healthy diet is a solid approach to protect the community from diseases that have emerged as a result of unhealthy eating patterns,” he said.

Abdullatif said poor diets are creating ‘dramatic impacts’ not only on health but also on the planet’s well-being.

“The letter of intent reflects our commitment to promote the transition towards healthier diets and sustainable food systems, which is beneficial for both people and the planet. To address the global and local challenges, this urgent initiative is needed to transform our connection between food and the environment.”

The UAE has been championing many of the transformative and innovative approaches in food and agriculture, El Waer said.

“Working together brings us a step closer towards transforming agri-food systems to achieve sustainable development goals by 2030, not only at the country level, but regionally and globally as well.”

New agreements to help achieve global

The UAE on Saturday renewed its commitment to helping the world achieve food security and eliminate hunger. The country signed two agreements with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The first agreement was about ‘Hand-in-Hand Zimbabwe-Smallholder Horticulture Recovery and Inclusion Project (SHRIP)’, while the second involved renewing the credit fund for the sub-regional coordinator for the GCC and Yemen.

The two agreements were signed in the presence of Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

“The UAE strives to strengthen its strategic partnerships with international entities that work to support food security, establish sustainable food systems and tackle the most pressing global challenges, including hunger, poverty and climate change,” Almheiri said.

“To achieve this, the UAE follows the highest sustainability standards and implements environment-friendly solutions as part of international-based support programmes.”

Under the SHRIP initiative in Zimbabwe, the UAE will financially support projects that aim to reduce hunger and poverty among smallholder farmers by effectively engaging them in the markets.


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