Promoting sustainable healthy diets drives global food systems transformation, says Mariam Almheiri

Promoting sustainable healthy diets is necessary to transform global food systems and help halt accelerating climate change – that was the key message delivered by Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, during the 49th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

Participating at the virtual event held today, Almheiri gave a speech at a CFS session titled: ‘Making a Difference in Food Security and Nutrition.’ During her address, she highlighted the efforts the UAE is undertaking to transform its food systems into more sustainable ones, drawing attention to how modern food production methods such as Controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) and aquaculture produce healthy foods whilst also being less harmful to the planet than traditional farming methods.

“The transformation of our food systems is an essential requirement for a food secure future, because our traditional food systems are wasteful, inefficient, and major emitters of the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change,” said Almheiri.

“Foods produced from Controlled Environment Agriculture Systems are of high quality and more nutritious because they are fresher – they include fruits, vegetables, herbs and leafy greens. The same systems can also produce protein, such as fish and seafood, which are healthier alternatives to too much red meat. High consumption of red meat and processed meat is shown to be harmful for individual health, as well as the health of the planet.”

Almheiri stressed that governments and the private sector not only have a responsibility to be the architects of new food systems underpinned by technology and innovation, they must also engage with the community to drive a change in food consumption behaviour.

“Healthy and sustainable food systems need healthy and sustainable eating patterns to enable them to deliver on their full potential. In light of this, the UAE is actively promoting spreading awareness of this importance. This not only creates a stronger society, it also promotes agricultural sectors that are less harmful to the planet,” she said.

During her speech, Almheiri highlighted that sustaining food safety and improving nutritional intake is one of the five pillars of the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051. She concluded by drawing attention to the National Nutrition Guidelines –introduced in 2019 – which aim to improve the nutritional status of the UAE community for a more sustainable and healthier future.

Source: Emirates News Agency