Enhancing the UAE’sfood security was the topic on the table at the first-ever meeting of the Emirates Food Security Council, which was held on February 10, 2020.
Taking place at the headquartersof the General Secretariat of The Cabinet, and Chaired by Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, the meeting was attended by council membersH.E. Obaid Rashid Al Hassan Al Shamsi, Director General of the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, H.E. Dr. Hussein Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for Centres and Health Clinicsat the Ministry of Health and Prevention; H.E.Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Welfare and Activities Sector at the Ministry of Education;H.E. Eng. Fatima AlFoora Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity and Future Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Industry;Dr. Hashim Al Nuaimi, Director of theCompetitiveness and Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Economy;H.E.Saeed Al Bahri Salem Al Ameri, Director General of Abu Dhabi Food Agriculture and Food Safety Authority; H.E.Eng. Dawood Abdulrahman Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality;H.E. Dr. Abdulaziz Saeed Al Muhairi, Director General of Sharjah Health Authority (SHA); H.E. Abdulrahman Mohammed Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman;H.E. Obaid Sultan Taiwirh, Acting Director General of Umm Al Qaiwain Municipality; and H.E. Eng. Mohammed Saif AlAfkham, Director General of Fujairah Municipality.
Her Excellency Mariam Almheiribegan the meeting by welcoming the members and stressing the council’s key role in leading the UAE’s food securitydrive, supported by strategic partnerships and community participation,which form central pillars in enhancing food security in the UAE.
“The Food Security Council is the central authority responsible for driving the implementation of the National Food Security Strategy. It aims to ensure a unified vision and will supervise the current and future direction to lead food security in respect of production and managementand the whole food value chain. The council’s work will also involve establishing pioneering food projects thatsupportsthe national economy and enhance the country’s competitiveness,” said H.E.Almheiri.
“We look forward to workingas one team to deliver social and economic benefits to the UAE,to addfurther accomplishmentsto the UAE’s food security profile, and to position our nation in the top 10 countries listed on the Global Food Security Index by 2021 andnumber one by 2051.The council will cement the UAE’s status as a food securitypioneer and an inspiringexample for other countries to follow in meeting their own food security agendas,” Her Excellencyadded.
During the meeting,the council members discussed several methodologies to improve food security in the country, adopted the role of the council’s general secretariat toorganise the council’s work, and agreed toreport periodicallyto all relevant actors. The members also defined the visual identity of the council, which reflects its importance andits essentialrole in leading the drive to enhancefood security in the UAE.
The council adopted national committees specialised in facilitating the worldwide food trade, diversifying food import resources, increasing GDP, developing technologies, and limiting food waste.The council discussed forming anAdvisoryCommitteethat is responsible for delivering substantive and technical supportfor suggested food security policies.
The General Secretariat of the Emirates Food Security Council
The tasks of the council’s general secretariat were approved during the meeting and a detailed report comprising its role was presented to the council. The secretariat will submit proposals by the advisory committee, which is responsible for providing technological support and policy proposals. It also assesses benchmarking standards on mechanisms to enhance food security, as well as proposes projects and initiatives related to the sector.
The general secretariat also studies proposed policies, reviews their legitimacy, establishes that there is no contradiction between the concerned policies and other applicable legislations, and ensures that the laws are easy to understand as well as apply.It also promotes efficiency and quality in the council's work plan, as well as creates and updates a database that includes all the reports and information produced from the council and its committees to serve as a reference for UAE food security stakeholders.
Priorities and Tasks
The Emirates Food Security Council works according to carefully considered priorities, plans and programmes that take into accountseveral strategic directions; namely emergencies and crises, strategic stocks, local agricultural production, food safety, international investment, diversification of food import sources, and nutrition.
The council reviews all legislation concerning food before it is approved at the federal level and ensures the implementation of The National Food Security Strategy. It proposes regulations, legislation and policies to enhance food security in the UAE, defines the investment agenda in the food system–both inside and outside the country– and conductsspecialised risk studies for the impact of global challenges on the food security system, such as climate change and drought.
The tasks of the council also include the expansion of initiatives for the comprehensive and diversified supply of food products, the development of annual reports for the food security system, andfollowing on indicators that determine the UAE’s progression on the Global Food Security Index.