By Omar Al Yahyaee
In 2024, UAE and US partners are making significant progress to address the environmental impact of agriculture. Despite the fact that food production accounts for a third of the world’s emissions, climate action in this critical area often takes a back seat. The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C), led by our two countries, is changing that by introducing more sustainable approaches to growing and consuming food.
Since its inception in 2021, AIM4C has exemplified the shared commitment of the UAE and the US to collaboratively tackle global challenges. This was on display at COP28 in Dubai, where US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and former UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam Almheiri announced groundbreaking commitments to propel the initiative. AIM4C has doubled its total investments, surpassing $17 billion, and garnered the support of 600 government and non-government partners to enhance sustainable food production.
In 2024, these high-level commitments will transition into on-the-ground action, with 27 new AIM4C Innovation Sprints introduced at COP28 alone, bringing the total to over 78.
- The largest of the new projects is the $500 million COP28 Action Agenda on Regenerative Landscapes. Co-chaired by the COP28 Presidency, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and Boston Consulting Group, the partnership will advance efforts by top food producers to responsibly manage agricultural landscapes in a way that preserves ecosystems, enhances soil health and protects water supplies.
- In partnership with other GCC nations and international organizations, the UAE is participating in the Integrated Desert Farming Innovation Platform. The initiative will direct $20 million by the end of 2025 to support the Arabian Peninsula and MENA region in boosting employment in sustainable fields. It also aims to ensure food, nutrition and water security for Middle East populations through the use of innovative and circular desert farming technologies.
- AIM4C is also enabling sustainable agriculture elsewhere in the region. The Water and Energy for Food MENA Regional Innovation Hub – led by organizations across Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan – will expand upon the $33 million mobilized so far to scale SMEs that impact sectors at the nexus of food, water and energy. Up to 50 innovators will receive up to $250,000 each to reach 750,000 smallholder farmers and end-users, of which 25% are women.
As the global community increasingly recognizes the intersection of climate change and food production, AIM4C is emerging as a pivotal mechanism to deliver solutions. Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, the UAE, the US and their partners are poised to build on this momentum and take further strides to address climate change.