Expo City Dubai and ne’ma seal collaboration on innovative solutions to help cut food loss and waste

12 Oct 2023 – 3min. read

Expo City Dubai aerial daytime

Expo City Dubai and the National Food Loss and Waste Initiative ne’ma have joined forces to tackle challenges in food production, consumption and waste through pilot projects and scalable solutions.

ne’ma is the national custodian of the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 target to halve global per capita food waste by 2030. It spearheads and coordinates national efforts at all levels to achieve this goal, which also aligns with the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051.

The two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) ahead of World Food Day (16 October), outlining how they will exchange knowledge, share best practices and test ideas to expand existing interventions, such as the pioneering Food Rescue Programme piloted during Expo 2020 Dubai and retained under Expo City.

The collaboration will engage Expo City’s diverse community to drive systemic behavioural change across the entire food value chain, encouraging responsible production and consumption, championing circularity and testing new ideas that can be replicated and developed nationwide for maximum contribution to the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051.

As part of its sustainability strategy, Expo City is committed to supporting solutions that give everyone access to sufficient safe and nutritious food in a sustainable manner. It has also signed the ne'ma pledge to tackle food loss and waste and is encouraging the community to support and contribute to the UAE 2030 reduction Food Loss and Waste targets.

ne’ma reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, to address overconsumption and reduce food loss and waste by inspiring people to rethink their current behaviour and adopt more sustainable practices, supporting the UAE in meeting its food waste target and sustaining resources for future generations. As part of its efforts, ne’ma published its 2023 handbook, How to reduce food waste by using three low-cost nudges, a step-by-step guide to assist canteens and buffet restaurants.

Sumaya Al Ali, Vice President, Government Partnerships, Expo City Dubai, said: “Expo City Dubai is a blueprint for sustainable urban living, and tackling food loss and waste is inextricably linked to our commitment to decarbonisation. Overcoming challenges such as food security cannot be done alone, and as an innovation-driven city home to an engaged community of businesses, residents and visitors, collaboration is part of our DNA.

“Our partnership with ne’ma will support our joint, sustainable progress through new, local food solutions and food waste-related innovations, positively influencing our food and beverage vendors, driving changes in consumer behaviour and instilling practices that will sustain future generations.”

Khuloud al Nuwais, ne’ma Secretary General and Chief – Sustainability, Emirates Foundation, said: “Ahead of COP28 and beyond, the ne’ma and Expo City Dubai teams have a unique opportunity to demonstrate to the entire world that the food waste problem can be solved through collaboration, applying a holistic approach that includes utilising innovation and technology and proven best practices to create efficiency and drive behaviour change.

“ne’ma will work with Expo City to build capacity and apply key ‘nudges’ that support increasing awareness on food loss and waste and transforming behaviours that lead to waste into more positive habits. This collaboration is an opportunity to scale the impact of our step-by-step guide across the many food service providers at Expo City.”

The agreement builds on Expo City’s initiatives to minimise food waste and the previous collaboration with ne’ma, including the Food Rescue Programme, which utilises a technology that automates the food rescue process, connects donors to charities and communities in need and tracks the environmental impact of all donations. During the six months of the World Expo, more than 93,000 meals were served to those in need, 93 million litres of water were preserved and approximately 90,000 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) diverted. Its impactful implementation during Expo 2020 prompted the exploration of a nationwide adaptation, which ultimately formed part of ne’ma’s approach to closing the loop in support of a circular economy by diverting food waste from landfill.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that almost one third of all food produced each year is either lost or wasted. While food loss is one of the root causes of hunger worldwide, it also represents a waste of land, water and energy used to produce the food. Food waste has a significant environmental impact, accounting for up to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Established in March 2022, ne’ma is a collaboration of Emirates Foundation and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.


download : 231012 PRL Expo City Dubai and Ne-ma collaboration EN, 148 KB