Abu Dhabi: A new awareness campaign will educate people about the importance of food choices and its impact on health and the environment.
Titled ‘Food for Life’, it has been launched by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), in cooperation with Emirates Nature-WWF and The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
The two-month campaign was announced during the Food For Future Summit, and marks the successful conclusion of the Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods Week, which ran at Expo 2020 Dubai until February 23.
The ‘Food for Life’ induction ceremony was spearheaded by Mariam Al Muheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for the MoHAP’s health regulation sector, Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, director general of Emirates Nature-WWF, and Dr Dino Francescutti Motis, FAO subregional coordinator for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Yemen and FAO Representative in the UAE.
Interactive, impactful and informative content
‘Food for Life’ aims to build a better, healthier future by educating and engaging with people. The campaign will provide interactive, impactful and informative content and hands-on activities, which will be accessible via the ‘Food for Life’ digital platform. The campaign will position the UAE, and mobilise the community, towards rethinking and reshaping diets for personal health and the wellbeing of the planet.
A recent survey commissioned by key ‘Food for Life’ partners highlighted the need for education and awareness around healthy diets in the UAE. It found that less than 25 per cent of UAE residents eat whole foods every day. Under a third of the respondents reported that price was an issue, while the top three challenges were incorporating more whole foods and encouraging a healthy food culture at home, lack of time, and easy access to cheap and convenient food.
Youth engagement workshop
A panel discussion titled ‘Food for Life’ was held during the ceremony to reveal the slogan and objectives of the campaign. Delegates also toured the Food for Life Farmer’s Market, where they viewed cooking demonstrations by local chefs and took part in taste tests. A youth engagement workshop also took place, to encourage the youth to start considering their food choices and empower them to become change-makers in their own spheres of influence.
“Food for Life aims to highlight the role food plays in our lives and the connectivity between healthy diets and sustainable food systems. The food we choose to eat and the way we produce it is affecting not only our health, but also the health of our planet. The global food system is the single biggest contributor to biodiversity loss, deforestation, drought, freshwater pollution, and the collapse of aquatic wildlife. It’s also the second-biggest generator of greenhouse gas emissions after the energy industry. It’s a vicious circle, and it’s only up to us to break it,” Al Muheiri said.
‘Expanding the scope of nutrition initiatives’
“Guided by the UAE vision to upgrade the local health sector and driven by international and regional policies and strategies, the ministry and its strategic partners will expand the scope of nutrition initiatives to ensure a healthier and sustainable future, promote nutrition education and enhance the public’s health,” Al Owais added.