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MEIG Highlights, Latest News 10 novembre 2021

Highlight 27/2021 –The UAE contribution to the eradication of hunger and food insecurity in developing countries

Hayat Hassan Ali Alhosani, 10 November 2021

The second sustainable development goal, « End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture » established by the United Nations in 2015, is an important file for the UAE. The UAE is a major donor to many countries affected by hunger and malnutrition and contributes significantly to attain the goal of achieving global food security.

The value of humanitarian aid provided by the UAE during the period from 2010 to 2021 amounted to around 206 billion and 34 million dirhams (equivalent to 56.14 billion US dollars). In addition, the UAE provided, and continues to provide, development and humanitarian support in a number of developing countries, particularly in the least-developed ones, giving them opportunities to reduce poverty and hunger and to improve their economy. The primary objective of the UAE foreign aid is to reduce poverty and promote prosperity globally by encouraging trade and investment agreements with developing countries.

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which has crippled the world economy, many countries experienced acute food insecurity and poverty. As a response to this crisis, many initiatives were taken by the UAE to enhance global food security. One of the most important instant actions taken was the « 100 million Meals » campaign 2021, launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives. The 100 Million Meals campaign, provided and continues to provide food aid to people in need across 30 countries in the four continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America). The campaign team works in cooperation with international and regional organizations as well as with local institutions. Food aid is distributed in the form of food parcels and instant vouchers enabling beneficiaries to have direct access to basic food supplies.

The campaign managed to distribute 216 million meals in many countries around the world by mobilising donators from 51 different countries and using smart technology and text messages in order to reach those in need. Campaign’s operations cover Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Tunisia, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Angola, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burundi, Benin, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Kosovo and Brazil.

The UAE has also strengthened its strategic partnership with the FAO. It has concluded many agreements with this organization which promote economic growth and food security. The UAE also participates in FAO’s initiatives such as « Hand-in-Hand Initiative » which aims to accelerate agricultural transformation and sustainable rural development, to eradicate poverty and end hunger and all forms of malnutrition in many of the neediest regions around the world. The support of such initiatives reflect the UAE constant keenness to fight against food insecurity and poverty and to enable local communities to improve their living conditions by empowering them economically.

The UAE believes in the importance of bringing peace, stability and prosperity in developing countries and, more generally, in the world.  It has taken many initiatives to respond to one of the biggest challenges facing the world today : hunger and malnutrition. These initiatives aim to address this urgent problem and alleviate the suffering of individuals and families at risk of starvation. They also contribute to the prevention of diseases related to malnutrition and devote resources to responding to public health threats and to developing sustainable economic growth. It is important to point out that all these actions contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals set for the year 2030. They demonstrate the importance and the necessity of international solidarity and cooperation, of working together to build a world without hunger as well as the need of strengthening the resilience of societies so that they can better respond to future challenges.

More initiatives should be taken to complement these actions. The elaboration and adoption of measures which promote sustainable consumption strategies and reduce food waste or, more generally, excessive consumption is necessary. Measures targeting the most vulnerable ones (women and children) should also be a priority. Finally, research, technology and innovation should be engaged in the global effort to achieve the Sustainable Goal “Zero Hunger” and, more specifically, to develop sustainable food production systems.

Hayat Hassan Ali Alhosani, The UAE contribution to the eradication of hunger and food insecurity in developing countries, Highlight 27/2021, available at www.meig.ch

The views expressed in the MEIG Highlights are personal to the author and neither reflect the positions of the MEIG Programme nor those of the University of Geneva.

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