Campaign to encourage people of UAE to make earth healthier - GulfToday

Campaign to encourage people of UAE to make earth healthier


UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb AlMheiri and dignitaries tour the ‘Farmers Market’ at the ‘Food for Future’ on Wednesday at the Dubai Exhibition Centre of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb AlMheiri launched on Wednesday a two-month campaign which aims to encourage the over 10 million inhabitants of the UAE to eat healthily while keeping “Planet Earth” health-giving as well.

The campaign which AlMheiri later termed in her speech as a “movement” is the “Food for Life.” It was announced before international guests of the “Global Leaders’ Symposium,” on the sidelines of the the Feb. 23 to 24 “Food for Future” Summit & Expo at the Dubai Exhibition Centre in Expo2020 Dubai.

The summit and expo, through which agricultural and food technology firms from around the world are internationally or regionally introducing novel instruments, while food security discussions are continuing from the Feb. 21 (Monday) “Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods Business Forum,” is part of the “Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods” thematic week at the World Expo.    

In her speech and amplifying how important partnerships are in achieving common goals, AlMheiri expressed her gratitude to the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), the UAE movement for nature Emirates Nature-WWF, and the United Nations-Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN-FAO) for this initiative. Initial reports of the collaboration were released on Oct. 16, 2021 at the  “UAE World Food Day” celebration from the Expo2020 Dubai.

On Wednesday, she said: “I am proud to announce the launch of the ‘Food for Life,’ a bold first-of-a-kind community awareness engagement campaign that addresses the nexus of health, nutrition and planetary well-being through promoting healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The initiative was enlightened by the discussions I had with many of the peoples who are in this today.

This initiative was initiated by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in partnership with the (MOHAP), Emirates Nature-WWF and (UNFAO) and as I said before, this only works through partnerships. So important. ‘Food for Life’ is basically not looking at your plate for the healthy food. You are looking at one layer more. Where do these food come from?

The food we choose to eat and the way we produce it is not only affecting our healthy but is also affecting the health of our planet and we all know that the global food system is the single biggest contributor to biodiversity loss, deforestation, drought, fresh water pollution and the collapse of aquatic wildlife.

It is also the second biggest emitter of the greenhouse gas emission next to the energy industry. So we could see how important these food systems are and how important our role is in this.”

According to AlMheiri, the four institutions agreed to come up with ways on how to “inspire people with a vision for a future that is healthy, nutritious, colourful and full of life” based on the MOHAP records: “70  per cent of adults across the country are overweight, 28 per cent are obese with childhood obesity rising as per global trends and it is no wonder because as many as 83 per cent of adults eat less than five portions of fruits and vegetables per day and over one-third of children drink a can of carbonated drink or more every day.

“We want to motivate our citizens and residents to improve not only their lifestyles and health and nutrition but also for them to take conscious decisions that what they are doing are not only for themselves but for their environment and for Planet Earth.”

As AlMheiri stressed on the virtue of inquisitiveness, saying this shall make people question how what they purchase and consume for their good: “This is a big change for us to start questioning where food is coming from and start also putting efforts to make people buy locally. It is a new way of buying food but technology has made it possible to make a lot of food now locally and this movement is now pushing through towards the lifestyle and choosing the right food.”

Speaking of technology and in her speech before the launch, UK Parliamentary Undersecretary of State Minister for Agri-Innovation and Climate Adaptation Jo Churchill, praised the UAE efforts to raise food security levels not only for the country but for all:
“Across the world we have shared challenges brought about by ever warmer, sporadic extreme climate. The UAE is already innovating in ways that we can and learn from.”

Having visited the Dubai-based International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture recently, Churchill was impressed with what this international non-profit research organisation has been into such as “working with crops adapting to different levels of salinity and gene editing (for more nutritious and pestilence/disease resistant fruits and vegetables to) deliver global benefits.”

The youth are urged to actively participate in the awareness activities of the “Food for Life” which includes the March 3 to 19 “Dubai Food Festival” and the March 23 “Earth Hour.” All are invited to check on Food For Life digital platform for community engagements.

AlMheiri led a tour of the “Farmers Market”—a platform of the local produce and cooking demonstrations—at the DEC after the official launch.

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