UAE’s ICBA unites with UOWD to aid food system resilience in the region

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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UAE-based non-profit agricultural research center, International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), and the first international Australian university in the region, University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) have entered into a partnership to develop a suite of innovative tools for reinforcing the resilience of the food system in the Emirate.

According to the agreement, the two organizations will collaborate on a project that will provide policymakers with a comprehensive analytical framework for tracking and evaluating a broad range of factors affecting food security at the national, regional, and global levels.

As part of the project titled “Resilient agrifood dynamism through evidence-based policies” (READY), ICBA and UOWD will also develop policies and measures to help make the country’s food system more resilient to supply shocks and disruptions.

Dr. Tarifa Alzaabi
Dr. Tarifa Alzaabi
Acting Director General – ICBA

“Over the past 20 years, we have worked with decision-makers and other stakeholders in different countries to develop strategies and solutions for sustainable agricultural development and food production. We have also created various tools for supporting decision-making processes. Building on our experience and success, we are very happy to partner with UOWD to do our part through this new project to help strengthen the resilience and sustainability of the food system in the UAE. The outcomes of the READY project’s tools will not only serve as a basis to develop a set of national policies and integrated actions but hopefully will support in developing capabilities and strengthening the capacities of youth in future research.”

Professor Mohamed Salem, President, UOWD said, “As an innovative and forward-thinking higher education provider in the UAE, UOWD is proud to partner with ICBA on the READY project, a future-focused initiative that aims to strengthen food security in the country. As an arid country that traditionally relied on imports to meet its food requirements, food security and diversifying food sources are crucial priorities for the UAE with the country seeking to address its myriad challenges in this space at scale.”

“Through leveraging the resources of our research department, UOWD is pleased to facilitate data and analyses to enable decision making, policy development, and strategic planning processes. In doing so, our collaboration with ICBA will empower the concerned government departments to enhance local agricultural practices and ensure the sector’s robustness under all circumstances,” Prof. Salem added.

In addition, the project will establish an early warning system to assist policymakers in anticipating future threats and taking preventive steps. More significantly, it will provide a blueprint for the UAE’s food system to be transformed into one that is more energy-efficient, safe, and resilient. Further, it will help society as a whole by contributing to wider efforts in the country to improve food security and self-sufficiency.

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