The United Arab Emirates University and FAO collaborate to foster sustainable agriculture, food safety and healthy diets

Photo © Giulio Napoletano

15/07/2020 - 

With the aim to build capacities for research and development to achieve food security and nutrition, the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 15 July, 2020 to promote and disseminate best practices and innovations on sustainable agriculture, food safety and healthy diets.

 Founded in 1976 by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAEU is a public institution delivering undergraduate and graduate programmes at very high levels with the objective to promote knowledge creation, dissemination and enhance research capacity of the country. FAO gives special attention to UAEU’s College of Food and Agriculture which aspires to become an internationally-leading teaching, extension and research institution in fields such as plant science, animal science, animal health, fisheries, forestry, food safety and technology, health and nutrition, among others.

 During the negotiations of the agreement, the parties developed a work plan with activities aiming at contributing to the transformation of food systems as part of their strategies to meet the 2030 Agenda. For the broad area on food security and nutrition, the focus is on gathering evidence and engaging stakeholders on the role of sustainable diets and food systems in the prevention of obesity and non-communicable diseases in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

 According to Dino Francescutti Motis, FAO’s Subregional Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council States and Yemen, “the importance of this partnership is to jointly identify trends and best practices in various dimensions of the food systems such as food supply, environment, and consumption, including the challenges of overweight, obesity and non-communicable diseases”.

 Planned activities on biodiversity and conservation, and transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases will strengthen the capacities of livestock institutions including effective control and eradication of priority animal and zoonotic diseases. Additional objectives consist of implementing the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources and One Health.

  Finally, for the broad area of research and innovation, the focus is on the analysis of potential opportunities to achieve food security and use it for economic, social and environmental impacts. According to Dr. Bhanu Chowdhary, Dean, College of Food & Agriculture of the UAEU “this collaborative effort will strongly support the national food security and wellness efforts, create new strengths in One Health and allied biosecurity disciplines, exploit indigenous resources for food production enhancement, and develop national and international alliances to fulfill these objectives. Concurrently, the joint effort will bolster education, research and training mission of CFA and create societal awareness on key issues related to food security and health”.