FAO praises the UAE Food Bank Initiative
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations praised the decision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, to institutionalise the efforts of fighting hunger and food waste, through launching the UAE Food Bank Initiative.
Mr. Nabil Gangi, FAO Representative to UAE & Coordinator ad interim to the Sub Regional Office for GCC States and Yemen said that this initiative “reflects the true spirit of giving which has always characterized the UAE communities, and the vision of the father of the country, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”
He added: “Launching the UAE Food bank as the first initiative during the year of giving, confirms the political will to institutionally fight hunger and food waste, which will definitely lead the regional efforts in managing food loss and food waste.”
Mr. Gangi praised the initiative of Sheikh Mohammed to turn Dubai into the first city in the region, and probably the world, to achieve zero food waste, and confirmed FAO’s readiness to continue to work hand-in-hand with the UAE Government & Stakeholders on ensuring the success of this Initiative within a sustainable Food Diversification Strategy.
FAO welcomes a Dubai Zero Waste (D0W) future and looks forward to include UAE’s spearheading D0W best practices among its global “Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Losses and Wastes”. (http://www.fao.org/platform-food-loss-waste/food-waste/food-waste-reduction/country-level-guidance/en/ ).
The newly established UAE food bank will gather many stakeholders to collect excess food from hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and farms. It will store and package the food for distribution, while inedible food will be recycled for different usages, including but not limited to animal feed and fertilisers.
Food loss and waste in NENA is estimated at up to 250kg per person and over $60 billion USD annually, and the reduction of food losses and waste is vital for sustainable food systems and regional food security. (http://www.fao.org/neareast/perspectives/food-waste/en/ ).
At the 32nd session of the FAO regional conference for the Near East, in 2014, member countries endorsed a plan to reduce food loss and waste in the region by 50 percent over 10 years. Initiatives like D0W are crucial to ensure that this commitment turns into reality.