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JICE works together with ne’ma to reduce food loss and waste in the UAE

Middle East Project Management Service International Training

7 Days ne’ma Diary awards ceremony. H.E. Ms. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment (left) and H.E. Mr. ISOMATA Akio, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the UAE (second on the left) attended the ceremony and enjoyed the students’ presentations with smiles on their faces.

In collaboration with ne'ma, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Food Loss and Waste Initiative, JICE conducted an awareness program for children on reducing food waste in the UAE in November 2023.

Based on the vision of UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ne'ma aims to reduce the amount of food loss a nd waste in the UAE by 50% by t he year 2030.
Every year, 10 million tons of food is discarded in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including the UAE, due to rapid urbanization, population growth, and improvement in living standards. The UAE was the host country of COP28, but also as a single nation the UAE is working to tackle the issue of food loss and waste . As one of its activities, JICE, an organization that implement s human resource development projects in the UAE, partnered with ne'ma in the field of education for children and students, and launched the awareness program on reducing food waste , "7 Days ne'ma Diary Document Food Waste @ Home".
Inspired by successful initiatives in Japan such as "7-Day Challenge! Food Waste Diary (env.go.jp)" by the Ministry of the Environment and "Reducing Food " Waste: Awareness Booklet/Time to Measure! Food Waste at Home (caa.go.jp)" by the Consumer Affairs Agency of Japan, this program was customized for students and children in the UAE. With the cooperation Yasmina British Academy, a private school in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, approximately 30 eager students from Year 7 (equivalent to the 6th grade in Japan) participated in the program from November 3 to November 15, 2023.

【Introductory Learning】
The orientation for the participating students included a lecture on food loss and waste . The objective was for the students to learn about the impact of food loss and waste on the environment and society, and to deepen their understanding of why efforts to reduce food loss and waste are necessary. Students commented that they were surprised at the amount of food d iscarded in the UAE.

OHKUBO Shiro , the Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador giving a lecture on food waste.
Students practicing how to measure leftovers using food samples.

Participants posted the amount of food they left uneaten along with photos and reasons why they left them uneaten on an online bulletin board titled "7 Days - ne'ma Diary" for one week starting on November 4, the day after the orientation. By keeping records, participants were able to view data such as the amount of CO2 emitted by their leftover food. Throughthis challenge, participants learned how much impact their leftoverfoodhason the environment.

Participants keeping record of food loss.
Posts on 7 Days - ne'ma Diary

【Recognition from the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment 】
H.E. Mr. ISOMARTA Akio, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the UAE attended the awards ceremony on November 15, and expressed his hope that education on cherishing food, which is a concept that has taken root in Japanese society, would contribute to reducing food loss and waste in the UAE. The program received a great response from the UAE as well, with the then Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, showing great interest in the program and personally attending the awards ceremony and listening attentively to the explanation on 7 Days - ne'ma Diary from the representative students. She also mentioned the program's efforts in her opening remarks at the UAE's 4th National Dialogue for Food Security hosted by ne'ma the following day, saying, "Even in the short period of seven days, the students realized how much food they waste on a daily basis, and the program was effective in raising awareness about reducing food waste. In order to reduce food waste, it is important for all of us to work together."

Representative student s presenting their findings at the the awards ceremony.
Representative studentts explaining the concept of 7 Days - ne'ma Diary to Minister Almheiri and Ambassador ISOMATA.

【Results Presented at COP28 】
Following the success of this program, an opportunity was provided to present the results at the COP28 venue in the Emirate of Dubai, UAE, on December 8.
At the beginning of the presentation, H.E. Ms. Khuloud Al Nuwais , Chief Sustainability Officer of ne’ma, introduced ne'ma and 7 Days - ne'ma Diary, followed by an explanation of the background of the joint implementation of the program by OMAE Kana, a staff member of JICE.
IDE Rumi, an expert in the field of reducing food loss and waste in Japan (and president of office 3.11), joined the session through a video presentation and gave an easy-to-understand explanation of the impact of food loss and waste on global warming and possible solutions to the global issue Afterwards, representative students gave presentations on what they did, the results, and their impressions of the ne'ma Diary experience, all in a dignified manner in front of an audience of approximately 100 people.
In closing the presentation, one of the representative students, Giancarlo Nathaniel, faced the audience and said with determination in his eyes, "Through 7 Days - ne'ma Diary, I realized how much food waste we are generating. I think that by sharing this realization with my friends and family and working together, we can reduce food waste all over the world. By taking action, we can change the future for the better."

Presentation at COP28 (H.E. Ms. Khuloud Al Nowais from ne’ma)
Presentation at COP28 (OMAE Kana from JICE)

Scene from the video presentation (IDE Rumi from office 3.11)
Representative students giving their presentation on stage

The group photo at the awarding ceremony, in the first row from the left, H.E. Ms. Khuloud Hasan Al Nuwais, Chief Sustainability Officer of ne'ma, H.E. Mr. ISOMATA Akio , Ambassador of Japan to the UAE, H.E. Ms. Mariam Al m heiri, the Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Mr. Ahmed Talib Al Shamsi, CEO of Emirates Foundation, Mr. Faisal Falaknaz, Chief finance and sustainability officer of Aldar


By educating more youth and communities in the UAE about the importance of reducing food waste, JICE and ne'ma will continue to strengthen their collaboration and work together towards a sustainable future.

SATO Erika
International Cooperation Division
International Training Department