12 Muharram 1446 - 18 July 2024
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Eye of Riyadh
Environment & Energy | Sunday 16 June, 2024 11:00 am |

Federal regulators align to champion AGWA

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) announced a key agreement with the Federal Government of the United Arab Emirates to streamline regulatory approvals for the food and water industry, advancing AGWA (AgriFood Growth and Water Abundance), Abu Dhabi’s newly launched food and water economic cluster, which is poised to play a leading role in global efforts to tackle food shortages and water scarcity.

The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI), the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) will form part of a steering committee that will streamline approvals necessary to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading global food and water hub. The robust business environment will enable Abu Dhabi to be a leader in the future of food and water by facilitating the development and commercialisation of innovative solutions.

Led by ADDED and ADIO, AGWA is set to become a global hub for novel food and ingredients, as well as technologies that increase access to, and enable, the efficient utilisation of water resources. This innovative cluster is meticulously designed to support local suppliers and exporters alike, serving as a platform to maximise commercial opportunities. The cluster aims to meet increasing global demand, alleviate pressures on agricultural systems, address shifting dietary patterns, capitalise on technological advancements, and support global food security, ensuring a reliable and resilient supply chain for food and water.

Through active engagement, efficient licensing, and high standards to ensure safe and secure operations, AGWA will support pioneers in the food and water industry to not only leverage innovations in alternative proteins, algae and reverse osmosis technologies, but also to enhance traditional food and water production and supply.

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Head of the International Affairs Office at the Presidential Court, said, “Presenting AGWA’s Cluster Vision in our event today re-emphasises its strategic alignment with national priorities around food and water security through more diversified and innovative interventions. Abu Dhabi is well positioned to lead the developments in alternative proteins on a global landscape, and move from strength to strength.”

Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “Our natural resources are under immense pressure due to climate change and environmental degradation. We follow a collaborative approach to overcome challenges and enhance our food and water systems. This agreement is a shining example of how we join forces with our partners to ensure a conducive environment for growth for our food and water industries. The UAE has achieved high results in this regard. A United Nations report indicated that the UAE had achieved an average of 100 percent in providing safe drinking water and sanitation services, and 80 percent in integrated water resources management, which is one of the best results regionally. We are pleased to support AGWA in its mission of turning the UAE into a global hub for innovative food and water solutions.”

Dr. Amna bint Abdullah Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, said, “Food and water security are pressing concerns for the world today and need to be addressed with utmost urgency. The UAE has been leading the efforts on the national as well as global level to address food systems transformation and water security. We are working towards building sustainable, resilient and inclusive food and water systems by strengthening sustainable production, reducing waste and shifting behaviours for efficient use of these resources.

“We acknowledge the fact that technology, innovation and deployment of proper funding mechanisms will play a central role in achieving food and water security in the future. Through this partnership with AGWA (AgriFood Growth & Water Abundance) we look forward to tackling food shortages and water scarcity while also contributing to building climate resilience and sustainable growth in the food and water ecosystems.”

Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), said, “This agreement highlights the UAE’s proactive approach and commitment to developing appropriate regulatory frameworks and building synergies to ensure a lasting impact. AGWA’s efforts to address the needs for sustainable water and food sources, both locally and globally, necessitate close cooperation with the federal government to achieve its goals and support the National Food Security Strategy 2051 and the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036.

“Through collaboration between federal and local governments, as well as the private sector, we aim to ensure a resilient agricultural and water production ecosystem and establish AGWA as a global hub for novel food and ingredients, as well as technologies to increase access to and the utilisation of water resources.”

Omar Al Suwaidi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, said, “Food and water security are a strategic priority for the UAE. We are pleased to partner with the relevant government entities to strengthen AGWA’s efforts in reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s and the wider UAE’s leading role in the food and water security space. These efforts are well aligned with our ongoing initiatives for supply chain resilience, self-sufficiency and boosting the contribution of the F&B sector to the country’s GDP in the next decade, through enhancing the quality, sustainability and competitiveness of local products.”

Sharif Salim Al Olama, Under-Secretary for Energy and Petroleum Affairs at MoEI, highlighted that the MoU signed between the Ministry and ADIO aims to attract international companies specialised in advanced technology, particularly in the field of water desalination, which faces global challenges.

He noted that the UAE Water Security Strategy was launched in 2016, and the ministry is currently updating this strategy, focusing on water desalination solutions such as reverse osmosis.

Al Olama added that water production and desalination operations in the UAE are carried out using the latest technologies across various advanced desalination plants throughout the country, providing competitively priced and highly efficient water production that meets the highest global standards.


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