Mariam Almheiri to Committee on World Food Security: “A New Global Food System Is Needed to Overcome COVID-19 and Eradicate World Hunger”

  • Committee on World Food Security (CFS 47) reiterates need to cooperate to eradicate hunger and mitigate impact of COVID-19 pandemic on global food security.
  • H.E. Almheiri: We will work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – with oversight from the Committee and FAO – to implement the ‘Hand in Hand’ initiative to empower small farms and producers.

Dubai: Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security, participated at the meeting for the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 47) on Monday, February 8, and Wednesday, February 10, 2021 – part of a series of gatherings that is set to continue until next Thursday, February 11. 

The meeting was attended by a number of prominent experts and decision makers in the food security sector to explore effective tools and solutions to strengthen global governance of food security and nutrition – one of the most prominent pillars of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The annual meeting of the Committee provides a platform for discussion and coordination to boost collaboration efforts among governments, regional and international organisations, and all stakeholders in the sector. It aspires to enhance global food security and find solutions to the various challenges in order to create an environment capable of achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular SDG2, which aims to achieve zero hunger by 2030.

The CFS meeting discussed the state of food security in the world in light of the 15th High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition’s report, Food Security and Nutrition: Building a Global Narrative Towards 2030.

Furthermore, the meeting discussed the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition report, which was issued under the theme ‘Making a Difference in Food Security and Nutrition’. Participants also debated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the entire system, as well as the most notable steps needed to recover from the crisis, advance sustainable development, and accelerate efforts to eradicate hunger despite current challenges.

During her national statement, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri stressed the importance of coordinating global efforts to change and develop food and nutrition systems in light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the entire food ecosystem, which caused increased pressure on the food value chain in many of the most affected regions of the world.

“Despite the great challenges, the pandemic has carried many opportunities, among which is forcing governments around the world to urgently reappraise their food supplies, instigate immediate measures to ensure food security for their populations, and adopt new systems to keep pace with developments,” H.E. added, asserting that food security is a top priority with significant impact on people’s lives.

H.E. Almheiri stressed the importance of adopting food technology, especially modern agricultural technology (AgTech), to help the world develop its potential, increase the capacity of domestic food production, preserve natural resources, and build pioneering food projects that can contribute to meeting the world’s food needs in the future. In addition, Her Excellency added that the adoption of technology would also help to attract more women and youth into this vital sector.

Commenting on the report by the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, H.E. said: “The report focuses on the importance of adopting modern technology as a means to change the global food system. It also points to the increased awareness of the relationship between agriculture and the environment, where traditional agriculture systems were named as a main driver of climate change. This calls for immediate action and adoption of more sustainable and advanced agricultural systems.”

H.E. Almheiri highlighted the UAE’s role – both at the local and global level – in driving change across the global food system, and relying on AgTech to increase self-sufficiency to a certain degree by boosting production of main food products, which has become a strategic direction for the UAE. “This is evident in the efforts and innovative initiatives and policies that were launched in order to achieve the goals of the National Food Security Strategy” H.E. noted.

At the end of her speech, H.E. Mariam Almheiri expressed hope that the world would agree on a new roadmap to improve food and nutrition systems, stressing the UAE’s commitment to strengthening cooperation and promoting the exchange of experiences, practices, and information with all stakeholders in order to reach the common goal of zero hunger in the world and create a better future for coming generations.

Food Systems and Nutrition

While taking part in the discussion of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition report, H.E. Almheiri noted that food shortages and malnutrition are among the biggest challenges standing in the way of achieving the SDGs and eliminating hunger, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed efforts across the board.

“Nutrition is an integral part of global food security plans to end hunger by giving all individuals access to sufficient and healthy food at all times,” H.E. explained. “We need to establish an integrated global system to lead joint efforts, strengthen nutrition systems, develop the entire food value chain, and encourage the community to adopt healthier and more sustainable food consumption habits.”

H.E. praised the findings of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition report, which call for finding sustainable solutions to address nutrition issues in many regions of the world, all while developing specific mechanisms and policies to engage communities and all stakeholders in creating a new food system that is suitable for the current situation and provides long-term nutritional solutions for future generations.

H.E. highlighted the UAE’s efforts in that regard, where the UAE launched several initiatives to promote nutrition and public health, such as the policy to include nutritional facts about all  products on their label, in an effort to educate members of the community and help them make better choices easily and quickly. Another example is The National Nutrition Guidelines, which seeks to ensure better nutrition for all members of the community in the UAE for a healthier and more sustainable future. Furthermore, the national system for sustainable agriculture, which aims to enhance local production through sustainable systems to produce abundant and higher-quality crops.