On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 at Davos, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) has signed an agreement with the World Economic Forum (WEF) confirming the intention of the two sides to cooperate in the creation of the Global Platform for Food Innovation Hubs. WEF established the Food Innovation Hubs initiatives to strengthen local innovation ecosystems to facilitate food system transformation, and this new international platform will contribute to focusing and accelerating the scope of innovation to improve sustainable food production mechanisms around the world.
The new Global Platform for Food Innovation Hubs aims to enhance joint international scientific and research cooperation in the field of food, exchange knowledge, experiences and data to develop local food production systems, and support national and global strategies to achieve and enhance food security. In doing so, it will help achieve the United Nations’ 2030 sustainable development goals, especially the second goal of ending hunger.
The agreement confirms Dubai as the international headquarters for the annual meeting of the Food Innovation Hubs. It also stipulates that MBRGI will also join the Supervisory Board of the Food Systems Initiative and the Steering Committee of WEF’s Food Innovation Hubs.
Food Security Net Transcending Borders and Continents
His Excellency Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Secretary General of MBRGI, highlighted that addressing global food challenges requires innovative thinking and international innovation accelerators through which we can develop modern solutions. The agreement with Davos provides a global platform for collaboration with all stakeholders.
His Excellency Al Gergawi said: “In line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, MBRGI is one of the largest institutions, regionally and globally, to battle hunger and malnutrition, and provide less fortunate communities with food support.”
Strengthening Food Research and Development
For her part, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “In 2018, the UAE announced the National Food Security Strategy 2051 to develop a comprehensive national ecosystem that enables sustainable food production using smart technology across the value chain and enhancing initiatives that utilize research and development capabilities. The MBRGI-WEF collaboration to establish the Global Platform for Food Innovation Hubs supports that objective and will impact food security locally, regionally, and globally.”
She added: “International cooperation is key to determining food requirements of countries and communities for the coming years and decades, and the ideal direction to accelerate the application of research results, studies, innovations and promising technologies in various fields of food production, especially in a manner that meets the demand for sustainable economic development and food security, while also preserving water and environmental resources.”
Integrated Ecosystems for Food Innovation
The agreement, which paves the way for a three-year cooperation, was signed by His Excellency Saeed Al Eter, Assistant Secretary-General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, and Sean De Cleene, member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, in the presence of a number of officials from both sides.
His Excellency Saeed Al Eter stressed that, under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives support all efforts aimed at developing mechanisms and techniques for food production globally and to bring about qualitative future transformations to deliver integrated systems for food innovation. They are also fully committed to supporting research and development, the transfer and dissemination of knowledge, and the integration of the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as artificial intelligence and data science to accelerate food security for countries and societies most affected by the repercussions of climate change, crises and rapid economic transformations.
Al Eter said: “Approximately 800 million people across the globe suffer from hunger or malnutrition. The crises that the world has witnessed during the past few years have directly affected supply chains, especially in the food sector, which underlines the urgent need to develop systems, options and alternatives to enhance food production at national levels, and provide interconnected and effective food safety nets locally and globally.”
He added, “The world’s population is expected to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050. In this context, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives’ support for the establishment of the Global Platform for Food innovation Hubs, which will be present in 17 global cities on five continents by 2030, is designed to achieve a sustainable future for food production, contribute to meeting the demand in present and future.”
A Network of Vital Ecosystems
For his part, Sean De Cleene said: “Through the global network of Food Innovation Hubs, we seek to build strong country and regional innovation ecosystems for the food systems to facilitate partnerships between farmers, innovators, financiers, governments, private sector and other to accelerate and expand innovations, investments and collaboration towards positive transformations in safeguarding people and the planet”
He added: “WEF’s cooperation with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, which is known for its humanitarian and development initiatives that make a qualitative difference in the lives of communities around the world by sharing knowledge, empowering communities and granting humanitarian and relief aid, will give significant momentum to the efforts of the Food Innovation Hubs. It will help create a global platform that accelerates the transfer of knowledge and innovation in agri-food systems, research and mechanisms, expands cooperation between countries, and provides new opportunities to build a more sustainable future that meets the ambitions of individuals and societies.”
Food Innovation Hubs
The World Economic Forum established the Food Innovation Hubs to include a wide range of partners from the governmental and private sectors, regional and international organizations and civil organizations, build partnerships, enhance cooperation in developing innovation in food systems, fund targeted initiatives and promising opportunities locally and regionally, and exchange ideas, experiences and data related to food on a global level.
Strategic and Humanitarian Goals
The global platform of the Food Innovation Hubs accelerates the launch of new solutions to current food system challenges, supports their future development, improvement and transformation, enables learning, knowledge transfer and innovation among regions of the world, and strengthens partnership with many stakeholders to support innovation in food systems.
The platform also supports increasing investments and promoting innovative financing mechanisms that support the goals of the Food Innovation Hubs, enhances flexibility in food systems locally and globally, identifies key initiatives currently available in the network and expands their scope in countries that focus on developing innovation ecosystems to build healthy food systems that are more comprehensive, efficient and sustainable.
The global platform also expands the scope of entrepreneurship that supports the goals of the Food Innovation Hubs, which will positively reflect on the provision of a food safety net in the communities it includes. The platform supports the UAE’s leading position in advancing innovation and accelerating the positive innovation-based transformation in food systems.
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives launched a series of food-related initiatives over the past several years, including the 1 Million Saved Meals campaign, in collaboration with the UAE Food Bank, the 10 Million Meals campaign to provide direct food support for those facing repercussions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by the 100 Million Meals campaign, which succeeded in distributing 220 million meals in 47 countries, and the extended 1 Billion Meals initiative, which achieved its goal in less than a month and continues to distribute food support to those in need across 50 countries.