Addresses 34th Session of FAO Regional Conference for the Near East in Rome
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 10 May 2018: His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, today commended the nation’s approaches and policies to bolster agriculture production and food sustainability through leveraging modern technology to ultimately enhance the sector’s efficiency.
The Minister is leading the UAE delegation to the 34th session of FAO Regional Conference for the Near East (NERC34), that concludes in the Italian capital of Rome on May 11.
Also present on the occasion was His Excellency Saqer Nasser Ahmed Abdullah Al Raisi, Ambassador of the UAE to Italy.
Dr Zayoudi praised the legacy of the founding father of the UAE, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the UAE’s prudent leadership today, for enabling the country to take great strides in achieving sustainability across all sectors, most notably agriculture and food, and ensuring a better future for the coming generations.
He said: “The concept of sustainable agriculture is deep seated in the history of Emirati people.
Our ancestors used our scarce water resources wisely by developing innovative irrigation mechanisms at the time that reduced the consumption of water and ensured the sustainability of agriculture.
Such mechanisms included a water-well management system called Tawi, as well as a traditional water irrigation system known as Falaj.”
His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi pointed out that the plans and strategies of the UAE revolve around diversifying economic development, most notably in food and agriculture.
He further detailed that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has collaborated with FAO to devise a national food diversification plan that ensures food sustainability in the UAE.
“The plan depends on two main factors: The first is increasing local production through leveraging latest technologies, rationing local consumption and refocusing on certain traditional crops, most prominently dates.
The second factor involves diversifying imports from a geographically diverse set of countries to find alternatives that we can rely on in case of a crisis.
This plan will also aim to diversify foreign investments to cope with the effects of climate change that are impacting several countries and regions across the world,” he added.
His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi indicated that the UAE Vision 2021 that aspires to achieve sustainability across all sectors focuses on innovation as a key element of success to achieving sustainability.
The nation’s vision also mandates engaging the youth as key drivers of innovation particularly in vibrant sectors such as agriculture.
He elaborated that towards this priority, several youth-centric initiatives have been launched in the UAE.
Among the most important of these is the Climate Innovations Exchange Forum (CLIX), organized by the MOCCAE earlier this year, which served as a marketplace that connected global level entrepreneurs and investors to enable partnerships that enhance sustainable agriculture and the food industry.
“CLIX managed to attract investors who expressed their intent to invest over US$45 million to transform the displayed innovations into projects on ground,” he said.
His Excellency Al Zeyoudi announced a new collaboration between MOCCAE and FAO, as they signed a letter of intent to develop fisheries research and management.
This synergy will include building an advanced research vessel to collect and measure data using better scientific mechanisms.
While concluding his speech, Al Zeyoudi proposed declaring 2020 as the International Year of Dates, given this crop’s special importance as a major commodity produced in the Arabian Gulf and the Middle East.