In the presence of HE Mariam Al Mheiri – Minister of State for Food and Water Security of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Representation in the UAE and Subregional Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States and Yemen, and the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) signed collaboration agreements to develop a master plan for sustainable agriculture and assessment tools to monitor biosecurity in food and agricultural sectors in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The collaboration agreements relate to two projects signed virtually by Dr. Dino Francescutti Motis, FAO Subregional Coordinator for the GCC states and Yemen and FAO Representative in the UAE and His Excellency Saeed Al Bahri Salem Al Ameri, Director General, Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority.
"These agreements lay the groundwork for further vital cooperation between the FAO and the UAE generally and Abu Dhabi specifically in the strategically important area of agriculture master planning and biosecurity –fundamental pillars for ensuring well organized and science-based horizon planning of a sustainable and secure agriculture sector to further strengthen the food security of the UAE. The signing of these two agreements is a vital step to foster innovation, ensure holistic approach of planning and reduce risks by enabling the country to benefit from FAO's unparalleled knowledge, expertise and experience in food and agriculture." said Her Excellency Mariam AlMheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security.
"It is instrumental in our plans to increase local food production and enhance our population's nutrition as part of our national efforts to contribute in meeting our commitment to achieving the United Nations' second sustainable development goal to end global hunger.
This is an amazing journey that ADAFSA and the FAO will embark on and will be used among other projects as part of the UAE's active role in managing its food security.
"We are working on 19 different projects and initiatives with the FAO Sub regional office for GCC States and Yemen and we expect that our relationship with the UN FAO will further progress over the coming years", added Her Excellency Mariam AlMheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security.
"FAO is committed to providing technical assistance towards transformative food systems in the UAE and the subregion and to foster innovation and technology sharing in line with the lead role that UAE plays in the region and beyond. The implementation of these two projects will bring closer the partnership between FAO and UAE", said Dino Francescutti Motis, FAO Subregional Coordinator for the GCC states and Yemen and FAO Representative in the UAE.
ADAFSA is keen on running Abu Dhabi's agricultural sector based on scientific research, developing work according to scientific foundations, and finding solutions to challenges facing the sector and its sustainability." H.E. Saeed Al Bahri Alameri Director-General of ADAFSA said.
ADAFSA has been cooperating with UN FAO for a long time ago, and these collaboration agreements is a new move for developing cooperation and enhancing joint work to attain the strategic goals of the two parties, he added.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is aspiring to improve local food production by boosting efficiency gains and sustainability in agriculture and natural resources management and producing and processing of agricultural products, to counter losses and improve access to competitive market chains. The first cooperation agreement, which aims to identify goals, targets, and roadmap to promote the sustainable development of the agricultural sector, will develop a Master Plan for Sustainable Agriculture in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Moreover, the UAE government has shown a great interest in biosecurity to prevent risks, given the increased food chain emergencies at the global level that are associated with animal and aquatic animal diseases, plant and forest pests and diseases, and food safety threats associated with the globalization of trade, intensification of food production systems, and climate change.
In this regard, the second project on "Developing and piloting an integrated biosecurity assessment tool for food and agriculture sectors", which was initiated by ADAFSA, aims at identifying biosecurity threats and risks and undertake scientific reviews, analyses and modeling on biosecurity threats and risks, to design biosecurity management and monitoring plans along the food and agriculture value chains. It will develop and validate the first integrated biosecurity assessment and monitoring tools and index, which would be useful not only for Emirate of Abu Dhabi but also for UAE as a whole and other countries at global level.
This Bilateral Cooperation between ADAFSA and FAO will contribute towards a profound transformation of the food systems in the country and in the region.