Home » Mariam Almheiri unveils ‘COP First’ as UAE targets Climate Conscious Catering for set-piece climate conference

Mariam Almheiri unveils ‘COP First’ as UAE targets Climate Conscious Catering for set-piece climate conference

by Dubaiforum

DUBAI, 29th October, 2023 (WAM) — Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment and Food System Lead at COP28, has called on F&B vendors to deliver ‘Climate Conscious Catering’ at scale, ahead of the milestone climate conference next month.

Last week, Almheiri led a 4-day workshop which was designed to energise, inspire, and motivate the adoption of climate-conscious catering, and drive the success of its adoption by F&B vendors at COP28 taking place at Expo City Dubai and beyond.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and COP28 are actively looking to partner with organisations and individuals who exemplify the sustainability principles of COP28 and stand with the Ministry to drive lasting change not only in the UAE, but also globally.

Almheiri said, “Our vision for COP28 is that it will provide delegates with a 360-degree understanding of the climate challenges the world faces. We know that our food systems are intrinsically linked to the fate of our natural world, and so we have made the progressive decision to ensure that we explore how the catering provided across the event can be responsible and climate-conscious, helping to echo the emphasis we have placed on the Emirates Declaration.”

She continued, “The approach, which is a ‘COP first’ centres around the Sustainable Catering Strategy developed for COP28 and is intended to demonstrate the benefits and lasting legacy.”

The Sustainable Catering Strategy is intended to showcase the potential to deliver sustainable food and beverages at scale. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and COP28 are looking for F&B partners who share that vision. The ambitious strategy, which has not been implemented at a COP before, has a core commitment to deliver a 2/3 plant-based menu, limit the carbon and water intensity of food served, and ensure a focus on nutrition, portion sizes, affordability and minimising waste.

Almheiri said, “Our resolve to reimagine the catering provided to COP delegates reflects the sustainability approach we follow in all sectors, especially in food systems. We want to demonstrate the UAE’s commitment to the COP process in every way we can.”

Today’s announcement exemplifies the ambition at the heart of COP28 and the desire of the UAE to leave “no stone unturned” in its efforts to drive forward climate solutions at pace.

Almheiri concluded “The programme will require significant engagement and buy-in from the caterers at the event, but I’m confident the will is there. The food will need to be enjoyable to eat, and we will work hard to ensure the concept is communicated in an informative and engaging way to attendees, because those two components are vital for bringing about behaviour change.”

To support the delivery and legacy of this initiative, the four-day workshop featured high-profile local and global chefs from the Chefs’ Manifesto network, in a 2-day session at the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA), with two clear objectives.

First is building momentum for the sustainable catering offering through developing dishes and training materials to support the implementation of the strategy at the event, while the second is bringing together partner organisations like SDG2 Advocacy Hub, Ne’ma, ICBA, among others, with leading chefs from the Chefs’ Manifesto community and beyond.

The workshop featured talks and panel discussions from local food producers, scientists, nutritionists, sustainability experts and the COP28 team. Intended to demonstrate ways that sustainable food can be delivered at a large-scale event such as a COP, while being nutritious, tasty, affordable and climate-friendly.

By engaging the wider public and community through the MOCCAE and COP28 social media channels, the workshop was designed to have a wide reach, engaging not only those who visit COP28, but also those who hear about it and read about it, with sustainable catering.

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