UAE Food and Water Security Office Renews Collaboration Agreement with Islamic Development Bank

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Signed by the bank and the UAE government, the agreement sees the two parties collaborate on managing and developing the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture

Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security

Dubai: The UAE government has revitalised its collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank in relation to the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) – a centre that enhances food security through research and development (R&D) into biosaline agriculture in marginal environments. 

Through the UAE Food and Water Security Office, the government has renewed its agreement with the Islamic Development Bank, with the new terms focused on R&D into food production from areas that suffer from limited resources.

The agreement was renewed during a virtual ceremony held on Sunday, November 29, 2020 and attended by Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security; H.E. Dr Bandar bin Mohammed bin Hamza Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank Group; and several officials and representatives from both entities.

Renewing the agreement effectively extends collaboration on the management and operation of ICBA for another five years. The agreement includes developing an action plan and performance indicators that will elevate the centre into a platform of excellence in biosaline agricultural research in marginal environments, utilise biodiversity to serve food security, exchange experiences and insights about the centre’s performance, and design its work plan. The agreement will support the centre in innovation, experiments and capacity building that serves the region and countries in other areas that suffer from marginal environments.

“Our collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank that extends for nearly 25 years now has been critical for the development of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture,” said H.E. Mariam Almheiri. “The centre plays a significant role in supporting scientific research in the food sector and helping find solutions for the challenges that the UAE and many other parts of the world face in producing and managing food production, especially n marginal environments that have limited water resources and infertile soils. The UAE is making great progress in its plans to enhance its food technology abilities and meeting its National Food Security target of generating a 30% increase in yield improvement from new technology-enabled food production by next year.”

“We are committed to collaborating with all stakeholders to fulfil the strategic visions of our wise leadership and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” H.E. added. “We value highly the partnership with the Islamic Development Bank and are always striving to provide support to the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture for the sustainable solutions it provides to help boost agricultural and food productivity, as well as enhance the efficiency of water consumption, in the UAE and around the world. Renewing this agreement reflects the significance of our partnership with the Bank, which we are confident will bring the needed support to the centre’s efforts to develop advanced and innovative technologies that help strengthen food security globally,” H.E. Almheiri concluded.

For his part, H.E. Dr Bandar bin Mohammed bin Hamza Hajjar expressed the Islamic Development Bank’s pride in the unique and distinguished relationship with the UAE’s government that his organisation has enjoyed since its establishment. “We are very proud of the unique relationship between the Islamic Development Bank and the UAE government that has extended over many decades and which has resulted in the establishment of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture. We aim to continue supporting it throughout its development journey,” he said.

The renewed agreement between the Food and Water Security Office and the Islamic Development Bank calls for maintaining cooperation and continued financial support for ICBA’s budget and activities, which, in turn, will help finance programmes, projects, research, capacity-building and logistical expenses to generate research and scientific activities. It underlines the importance of achieving financial sustainability for the ICBA by securing resources to support its activities, as well as developing action plans and performance indicators to improve its outputs.

The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture conducts research and development programmes that seek to enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability in saline and marginal environments. The centre contributes to meeting the SDGs by developing technologies that use both conventional and non-conventional water, including saline water, treated wastewater, industrial water, agricultural drainage water and seawater, as well as advancing techniques that include water and land management, remote sensing and Modelling Climate Change Adaptation.