United Arab Emirates, Jordan and the Netherlands behind a new global target

In recent years, numerous scientists and researchers have been investigating and searching for new techniques for cultivating crops in the arid climates of the Middle East

PHOTO/ARCHIVO  -   Farmer image

This past Tuesday, the first trilateral meeting, culminating in a high-level summit on water, energy and food, took place between the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and the Netherlands during Expo 2020 Dubai, with government ministers, leading researchers and citizens participating both online and in person. They aimed to issue a communiqué to work together on food, water and energy security of critical resources. The Minister of Climate Change and Environment and Minister of State for Food Security UAE, Mariam al-Amiri, expressed the need to develop less environmentally damaging measures. In response, a number of scientists and experts have teamed up to explore and research new techniques for cultivating crops in arid areas of the Middle East.  

The grouping of the three states will promote sustainable productivity during agricultural processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They will develop cooperation to strengthen food security in the Middle East, as many citizens depend on desalinated water, which consumes a lot of energy. The cooperation between the states will also be supported by different institutions such as Wageningen University and Research, Deltares and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, researchers from the National Agricultural Research Centre in Jordan and the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture in the United Arab Emirates. 

All of the above institutions will collaborate and draw on the knowledge and experience of the Netherlands, which is one of the world's largest exporters of agricultural resources, as a model of influence. One of the problems of the Arab country is that most of its products are imported from other countries, although the United Arab Emirates currently has farms for products such as salmon or the cultivation of vegetables such as kale, quinoa, raspberries and blueberries. As a result, it has merged with expert countries such as the Netherlands to find solutions. The Arab minister said, "We need to transform ourselves into more sustainable food systems, which is why we are on this mission. We want to show our audience and other partners that it is important to share knowledge. Working together on this joint shared vision will be a cornerstone of our success". 

sarah al amiri emiratos
PHOTO/UAESA - Minister Sarah al-Amiri

All countries that make up the United Nations have a commitment to sustainable development goals. It is essential that states develop measures affecting water, energy and food in order to reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade, Liesje Schreinemacher, expressed the need to develop more drought-tolerant crops, as well as the development of new seed varieties that consume less water. International cooperation and the creation of strong partnerships between governments and private and public companies, as well as citizen collaboration, are essential to develop all these measures.  

Both the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and the Netherlands are working to determine the water needed to grow vegetables in hot climates. Again, we see how collaboration is important for the sustainable development of water, energy and food security, something Jordan's Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Saleh al-Kharabshe, emphasised in view of the world's growing population, intensive lifestyles and the damage caused by climate change. It also seeks the production of better food, products that are healthy, sustainable and affordable for all citizens, and the reduction of water and energy consumed by food. 

Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, said governments must be empowered and enabled to influence young people. In this context, citizens also have a leading role to play and must be taken into account in decision-making. "There is huge potential for food systems and energy transition to provide decent work for young people and help eliminate generational inequalities in access to resources," said Wickramanayake.  

The objectives pursued by the three powers are very clear, such as the search for innovation, tools and methodologies that are better adapted to the arid climate. Water, energy and food are essential resources for human beings and must be protected from the threat of climate change