Food Security Within the N7 Initiative in the UAE

by | Mar 24, 2023

The world faces many economic and political crises with possible deadly wars in several hot spots such as Iran, Middle East, North Korea, and Taiwan. The world has not yet recovered from the economic crisis of the global COVID-19 Pandemic in addition to climate change crisis and its impact on agricultural areas. Concerns about global food security continue to increase especially in light of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war where both are the main source of wheat for many countries. Social unrest motivated by food shortage, energy crisis, and other political factors made matters worse. Additionally, the water shortage crisis in Africa stemming from building the Ethiopian Dam substantially affected agricultural productivity in Egypt and Sudan to say the least.

The UAE, as always, has prepared for an emergency like this and launched many initiatives to reduce the food security crisis effect on its citizens and neighboring countries. Additionally, they are developing strategies with regional and global partners establishing a humanitarian bridge towards food safety and security, the National System for Sustainable Agriculture, the Fish Farming Pulse Guide 2020, the Emirates Food Bank, the federal program to organize the strategic stock of food commodities during emergencies and crises, and the Pioneers of Food and Agriculture program which will continue over the years 2023 to 2025 empowering young human capital annually to commercially manage agricultural and livestock industries.These programs represent important steps towards utilizing the capabilities of entrepreneurs to support agriculture and livestock in the Emirates by transferring the urgently needed expertise and encourages them to launch businesses that can advance these industries.

In this context, for two days, Abu Dhabi hosted 50 to 60 leaders and specialized experts from governments, academia, and the private sector, as well as governmental and non-governmental funding bodies. This included representatives from the UAE, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, Egypt, the United States, and selected Arab and Islamic countries that do not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, who came together to talk about cooperation in the fields of agriculture, water and food security as part of the N7 initiative. N7 is a partnership project between the Atlantic Council and the Jeffrey M. Talpins Foundation, and will develop ideas and practical proposals for regional projects that can be implemented by governments in the Middle East region. Some of the participants are U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), U.S. Senator Joni Earnest (R-IA), a group of U.S. Senators who support the Abraham Accords, U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee), U.S. Representative Brad Schneider, Tom Needs (U.S. Ambassador to Israel), Tzachi Hanegbi (Head of the Israeli National Security Council), and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

For context, Oren Eisner, President of the Jeffrey M. Talpins Foundation stated “Our goal is to produce creative regional solutions to common challenges related to climate change, water scarcity, and food insecurity”. Will Wexler, Senior Director of the N7 initiative, considered that N7 is unique in its ability to bring together a community of regional experts who had never had the opportunity to sit together at the same table. It gives them the opportunity at a key time in history to discuss a crisis that threatens humanity. Indeed, the proposed solutions in this gathering will have a tangible impact on food security worldwide.