MBRGI Launch Food Innovation Hub UAE to Transform Global Food Systems at COP28

MBRGI Launch Food Innovation Hub UAE to Transform Global Food Systems at COP28

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) announced the launch of the Food Innovation Hub UAE, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The announcement came during MBRGI’s participation in the 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28), running at Dubai Expo City until 12th December 2023.

The initiative, held in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Majid Al Futtaim Retail, IFFCO Group, Al Dhahra Group and Abu Dhabi National Hotels Compass, aligns with MBRGI’s efforts to drive food security globally, find sustainable solutions to fight hunger, supply food aid in underprivileged communities, and contribute to the future transformation of food systems innovation.

Announcing the initiative at COP28, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, said this is another significant step in the nation’s commitment to accelerating food and agricultural systems' transformation.

“Food systems are critical to meeting societal needs and enabling adaptation to climate impacts, but they are also responsible for significant global greenhouse gas emissions. Through the many initiatives and programs announced at COP28, we are focusing on striking a balance between protection of our food systems, and protection of the planet,”

Almheiri said.

Almheiri added,

“COP28 has placed food and agricultural systems at the heart of its agenda – for the first time in the history of COP. We have mobilised the world in taking urgent action to transform the food systems, with 134 nations ratifying the ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action’ that will benefit over 500 million farmers.”

The move is also an extension of a cooperation agreement between MBRGI and the World Economic Forum to co-found the Food Innovation Hubs Global Initiative, signed during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland in May 2022. The initiative aims to accelerate and expand the scope of innovations and technologies that support sustainable food systems transformation and enhance resilient food production mechanisms. Dubai will also host the first annual hubs’ network meeting.

"The World Economic Forum is delighted to partner with MOCCAE, MBRGI and other UAE partners in building a Food Innovation Hub in the UAE. The hub will complement and strengthen our existing network of 5 other hubs in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the EU. The food innovation hubs support and scale fit-for-purpose technologies to achieve nutrition affordability and environmental sustainability for people and the planet.
“These hubs engage stakeholders from the public and private sectors as well as civil society, to share best practices and to catalyze action-oriented partnerships that can deliver tangible win-win benefits across the supply chain from farm to fork,"

said Gim Huay Neo, Managing Director, Center for Nature and Climate, World Economic Forum.

Innovative Solutions

Saeed Al Eter, Assistant Secretary-General of MBRGI, said,

“Following directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, MBRGI focuses on provided a food safety net for underprivileged populations around the world, and is keen to support all efforts directed at the development of food production technologies that help limit the impact of hunger and malnutrition."
“The establishment of Food Innovation Hub UAE is a key step towards facing food security challenges through unconventional methods, reflecting MBRGI’s mission to extend partnerships with relevant international organisations to jointly face global challenges,”

he added.

“Now, more than ever before, there is a pressing need for teamwork in the fields of food systems. This is where modern technology and innovation play a critical role in supporting the transformation of zero-emission food systems for all,”

he added. This also means investing in solutions that can ensure the integrity of the supply chain and reducing food lost and waste.

Arnoud van den Berg, the Group CEO of Al Dahra, remarked that

“the core purpose is to sustainably feed the world's growing population, which is very much aligned to the objectives of Food Innovation Hub. As the leading agribusiness in the region, Al Dahra works relentlessly to improve yield with lesser and more efficient inputs into agriculture, enabling improved access to food sustainably for the growing world. The UAE has the potential to become a test bed for technologies that can boost arid climate production systems that can improve local production.”
“At Majid Al Futtaim, we look for new solutions that enable us to source more of our Carrefour products locally, safeguard the freshness and integrity of the food coming through our supply chain, and make sustainable and locally produced choices more appealing to our customers. We believe the launch of the Food Innovation Hub UAE will enable an exponential development of supply chain management and local production. It will serve as a platform that brings growers, solution providers, innovators, and retailers together to explore solutions, test proof of concepts, and scale relevant innovations that will provide the sought-after food security needs of the region”,

said Hani Weiss, CEO of Majjid Al Futtaim.

Peter Nichols, Chief Operating Officer at Abu Dhabi National Hotel Compass, said:

“At Abu Dhabi National Hotels Compass Group Middle East, our mission is strategically aligned with Government Ministries, the local agricultural sector, and our clients to enhance sustainability. Our approach is rooted in evidence-based practices, focusing on effective interventions to reduce food waste and carbon emissions.

“The UAE today is a powerhouse of innovation and it is critical to ensure that the ecosystem is looking at a comprehensive food systems approach that can also diversify consumption profiles to reduce environmental footprints and improve health.”

Rizwan Ahmed, Executive Director, IFFCO, added that

“IFFCO is honored to be a part of the recently inaugurated Food Innovation Hub in the UAE, an exceptional initiative dedicated to harnessing the transformative power of technology to address the urgent challenges within global food systems effectively. With a longstanding legacy of innovation since our inception, IFFCO is uniquely positioned to catalyze a paradigm shift in consumer habits, especially with the recent launch of our first plant-based factory in the Middle East under the THRYVE brand, meeting the dynamic demands for healthy and sustainable dietary choices. In our unwavering commitment to addressing global food security, IFFCO remains at the forefront of pioneering initiatives that tackle immediate challenges within our food systems and contribute to creating a resilient and sustainable future for all.”

The Food Innovation Hub UAE will draw on the strengths of the various stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem, including the to advance solutions that can solve future challenges of feeding the world sustainably.

Global Leadership

Al Eter pointed out that MBRGI has, as part of its effort to bridge the widening nutrition gap, launched several humanitarian food aid campaigns which benefited millions around the world, including refugees, displaced people and victims of natural disasters and crises. Key among these campaigns are the 10 Million Meals in 2020, 100 Million Meals in 2021, 1 Billion Meals in 2022 and most recently, the 1 Billion Meals Endowment campaign in 2023, which launched the largest sustainable food aid endowment fund.

MBRGI manages dozens of initiatives and projects directed towards humanitarian work under five main pillars: Humanitarian Aid and Relief, Healthcare and Disease Control, Spreading Education and Knowledge, Innovation Entrepreneurship, and Empowering Communities. During 2022, MBRGI has spent a total of AED 1.4 billion on projects that benefited 102 million people in 100 countries. Total spending on the Humanitarian Aid and Relief pillar amounted to AED 910 million and benefited 30.2 million people.

News Source: Emirates News Agency

Dark Light