FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Harnessing Research, Technology and Innovation for sustainable and resilient food systems in the UAE and KSA

Abu Dhabi, 14 December – The FAO Subregional Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council States and Yemen (SNG), in collaboration with the Food and Water Security Office in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in the UAE, organized a virtual event and Inception Workshop on “Harnessing Research, Technology and Innovation for sustainable and resilient food systems”.

The workshop came within the framework of improving and transform food systems to ensure sufficient, safe, and nutritious food stably and sustainably all the time in the country. The goal is to activate the knowledge-based, highly productivity, and competitive economy to achieve the National Food Security Strategies 2051 and accelerate progress towered achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG2 ‘Zero Hunger’.

"The importance of research, technology and innovation for the transformation of food systems cannot be overemphasized. Evidence suggests that investment in agricultural research and innovation generates significant economic returns and wide societal returns, notably through its impact on productivity and food security. It also delivers environmental and social benefits even though these are harder to quantify. FAO acknowledges and believes that innovation in agriculture is the central driving force for achieving a world free from hunger and malnutrition" said Dr. Dino Francescutti Motis, FAO Subregional Coordinator and FAO representative in the UAE.

The Minister of Food and Water Security in the United Arab Emirates Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohamed Almheiri said "The UAE gives utmost importance to enabling a strong food sector by using scientific research and modern technology and applying them in the entire food value chain in order to enhance local production of food, and enhance the sector’s readiness for any future changes, which we seek to achieve through the UAE National Food Security Strategy. Today's workshop represents the first step in implementing a project aimed at promoting research, technology and innovation in this field, in cooperation with all relevant parties. We aim to help shape the features of the next plan and to take concrete steps to enhance our food security in cooperation with the FAO, which has unrivalled economic and technical expertise in this field "

"In cooperation with the FAO, we are looking forward to creating a global pioneering model for food security enabled by modern technology in order to enhance our national food security and increase our contribution to eliminating hunger in the world." she added.

This project expected outputs and overall implementation approach of the project is to develop agenda through an inclusive consultation from FAO and participation of relevant stakeholders in both UAE and KSA, which will last for 10 months. The outcomes expected from the project will contribute to the operationalization of the national food security strategy, as the latest has identified the establishment of a national research and development agenda as one of its key enablers.

The first workshop in the programme, this first session was devoted to discussing R&D in the UAE’s food system. It will be followed by another workshop dedicated to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with a final joint workshop that includes the outcomes of alignment and cooperation in R&D between the two countries.


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