The UAE is a strong and committed partner for climate action, and it is in their very best interests to steer climate-smart agriculture and food system innovation globally, according to Tom Vilsack, the United States Secretary of Agriculture.
Vilsack expressed confidence that the UAE will host an exceptional COP28 in a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of COP27, which is currently taking place in Sharm El Sheikh. Vilsack praised Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri’s efforts as the Minister of Climate Change and the Environment in this regard.
He continued by saying that the country had been able to convert deserts into farmland thanks to innovative products and techniques in the agricultural industry. An example of such is Bustanica, the world’s largest vertical farm, launched in July 2022 as a joint venture between Emirates Flight Catering and US-based Crop One.
The Food Tech Valley, a first-of-its-kind AgTech metropolis that aspires to act as a testbed for cutting-edge innovations that drive the transition to sustainable food systems, is the nation’s most recent endeavor in this area.
He said, “These innovations show leadership and dedication from the UAE, making it one of the most engaged nations in climate change.”
Regarding the significance of COP27, Vilsack stated, “I’m excited to be in Egypt and participate in COP27 as it allows us, as the United States Department of Agriculture, an opportunity to share US knowledge and experience on the international stage in climate-smart agriculture practices. I think this is a chance for us to work with the UAE, who is the co-lead of the Aim for Climate Ministerial (AIM for Climate), and our expanding network of over 275 partners to encourage innovation in climate-smart agriculture and food systems, increase agricultural productivity and incomes sustainably, promote regenerative and sustainable practices, make it possible to find ways to reduce methane, and find ways to use fertilizer more effectively.
AIM for Climate, he continued, was started with two objectives in mind: first, to increase awareness of the significance of innovation in climate-smart agriculture for addressing climate concerns, and second, to speed up that innovation.
“We are pleased to be here at COP27 to announce more than doubling of the investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation, initially from the $4 billion announced at COP26 to now over $8 billion, including over $1 billion from 30 innovation sprints,” Vilsack continued.
“Corporate sector assistance helps put resources into initiatives, ideas, thinking, and technology that will help innovate our way to a more flexible and mitigated agriculture industry,” the statement from the private sector reads.
He announced that the AIM for Climate Summit, which will bring together partners to expand and accelerate investment in and support for climate-smart agricultural and food chain innovation, will be held in Washington on May 8–10, 2023.
In the run-up to COP28 in the UAE, this premium international event, sponsored by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, will offer a game-changing platform to increase ambition, forge partnerships, and share expertise on cutting-edge solutions.