Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, attended the launch of a nationwide campaign to reduce food waste on Tuesday.
The food loss and waste initiative, called Ne'ma — Arabic for blessing — encourages public and private sector entities to collectively address food waste and improve responsible consumption.
Ne'ma will co-ordinate government agencies, the private sector, NGOs and society to reduce food loss and waste across the food supply chain, said officials.
This spans from the production process to consumption, and includes farms, companies, distributors, retailers and the general public.
The initiative will contribute towards achieving the UAE’s target of reducing food waste by 50 per cent by 2030.
Writing on Twitter, Sheikh Mohamed said Ne’ma will help the Emirates develop its food security strategy and meet objective 12.3 of the UN sustainable development goals.
"Guided by the values of the late Sheikh Zayed, we thank God for our nation’s resources and are determined to conserve them," Sheikh Mohamed said.
"The launch of Ne’ma, the national food loss and waste initiative, further strengthens the UAE’s ongoing efforts in food security and sustainable development."
One of the key objectives of Ne'ma is to address the root causes behind behaviour that leads to food loss, with the aim of reducing waste in the medium and long term.
Ne'ma will conduct a specialised study to assess the current level of food waste, said officials.
It will also develop legislation and encourage innovative and technical solutions.
Successful solutions will be supported through a platform that will spread awareness about the importance of reducing food waste.
The Ne'ma initiative will hold consultations with private sector institutions, government and community agencies, hotels and restaurants, as well as retailers, universities and schools, said officials.
Sheikh Mohamed said current and future generations should follow the example of previous generations of Emiratis who had more rational and sustainable attitudes towards food consumption.
He urged a shared responsibility among all members of society to change practices and behaviour that lead to food waste, to ensure a more sustainable future.
Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment and Minister of State for Food Security, said food loss and waste is a global challenge.
According to the report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, she said 30 per cent of global food production — equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes — is wasted annually.
The initiative, which was developed by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, the Emirates Foundation and Ministry Of Climate Change and Environment, has already begun to activate its effective partnerships with the private sector, NGOs and local communities.
Two years ago, Ms Al Mheiri said UAE aims to cut its food waste by half over the next decade.
Speaking at the opening of an annual food industry conference in 2020, she said: “Because the UAE imports 90 per cent of its food, food safety and security are the top priority.”