November 5, 2021

The UAE is spearheading a global effort launched at COP26 in Glasgow to promote innovation in the food sector with a view to cutting carbon emissions.

In association with the United States, the UAE has launched the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), which has begun with a $4 billion (€3.45 billion) investment, a quarter of which is from the UAE.

This initial endowment will be targeted over the next five years at what are described as “climate-smart” agriculture and innovations in the food system.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with 31 other countries from across the globe, have signed up to the initiative. Dozens of other non-governmental organisations have also signed up.

Transitioning agriculture and related industries is seen as key to driving down carbon emissions, because the food sector as a whole – including processing as well as growing – is responsible for about a quarter of carbon emissions.

In comments reported by WAM, the UAE news agency, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Special Envoy for Climate Change, said AIM for Climate was focusing on a sector that had been “overlooked” in terms of global climate action.

“The United Arab Emirates has already driven change in the energy sector through green innovation and growth, investing over $17 billion (€14.68 billion) in clean energy around the world,” he said.

“AIM for Climate is a smart extension of that investment strategy, and the UAE is pleased to pledge $1bn (€0.86 billion) as part of the initiative.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visiting a farm.

The initiative was previewed at a summit in April by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Joe Biden, the US president.

It aims to promote what the US government describes as “transformative climate action in the agricultural sector in all countries”.

The initiative will achieve this, organisers hope, through increased investment and the promotion of public-private and cross-sectoral partnerships.

A statement released by AIM for Climate said that greater investments in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation would lead to “science-based, data-driven decision-making and policies”.

Efforts will also, organisers say, strengthen technology and approaches that adapt food production to the world’s harsher climate.

John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy for climate, said in a statement released by the initiative that his country was “proud” to be launching the mission alongside the UAE and “over 80 partners across the globe”, a reference to the other nations and NGOs involved.

“Investment in climate-smart agriculture innovation is critical to addressing the climate crisis. Innovation can reduce emissions, feed the world’s growing population, and help farmers and ranchers mitigate and adapt to climate change,” he said.


In attracting $4 billion of investment, AIM for Climate has had what Kerry described as “an impressive start”, but he said partners “can and must do more to catalyse even greater investment in the years ahead”.

“I look forward to seeing what AIM for Climate can accomplish and encourage more to join this effort,” he added.

In a statement, the US Department of State said that government partners were providing “the crucial foundation” for the new initiative through their investments in low-carbon agricultural technology and innovations in the food system.

“Other sectors, including business, philanthropy, and other non-government partners are invited to build upon that foundation with ‘innovation sprints’ – investments in specific, impactful, measurable, expedited efforts – or by providing critical knowledge for identifying investment gaps, challenges, and opportunities,” the statement added.

Ahead of the COP26 climate conference, a group of breweries in the UK and Ireland signed an open letter calling on world leaders to do more to combat climate change and safeguard nature, as reported by Sial Paris Newsroom.

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