With the aim of discussing ways to restore balance in food systems and tackle food insecurity challenges, Expo 2020 Dubai brought together global experts for its World Food Day programme on 16 October.
The event was held in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change & Environment (MOCCAE) and the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
“Food loss globally, from the producer to the wholesale market, is 14 per cent, and waste from the retailer to the consumer is 17 per cent,” said Maximo Torero, chief economist, FAO.
“We are talking about $400bn in food losses, and approximately $700bn in food waste annually. This is a huge challenge we need to address.”
During the World Food Day programme, the UAE signed several strategic partnerships to promote food security, strengthen food systems and contribute to eliminating hunger worldwide.
These included a letter of intent between MOCCAE, FAO and Emirates Nature-WWF to promote healthy diets from sustainable food systems as a means to benefit the community, preserve the environment and boost the national economy.
“Hunger in the Middle East and North Africa region has been rising since 2014,” said Abdulhakim Rajab Elwaer, assistant director-general, FAO’s regional representative for the Near East and North Africa.
"The number of malnourished people reached 69 million in 2020 – a 91 per cent increase in two decades. And Covid-19 has provided another shock. The number of undernourished people rose by 4.8 million. It is estimated that 32 per cent of the population did not have regular access to sufficient and nutritious food.”
The UAE and FAO also signed the Hand-in-Hand Zimbabwe smallholder horticulture recovery and inclusion project (Shrip) and renewed the credit fund for the sub-regional coordinator for the GCC and Yemen.
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