With the aim of supporting the national strategy to reduce food waste, ne’ma, the National Food Loss and Waste Initiative, has signed an agreement with Emirates Red Crescent. The agreement focuses on leveraging the long-standing data and experience of Emirates Red Crescent, which will aid in optimum utilisation of efforts and resources of ne’ma to effectively rescue food, share best food practices and gain material results. These combined efforts will help accelerate the nation’s goal to halve food waste by 2030 in line with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The agreement was signed on behalf of ne’ma by His Excellency Ahmed Taleb Al Shamsi, CEO of the Emirates Foundation, and ne’ma National Steering Committee Deputy and His Excellency Hamoud Abdullah Al Junaibi, Secretary General of Emirates Red Crescent.

The agreement aims to harness the accumulated experience of Emirates Red Crescent’s Hefth Al Nema project and ne’ma’s initiative, National Food Rescue Working Group to facilitate and coordinate efforts of redistributing food surplus to the less fortunate. The agreement calls for exploring the appropriate ecosystem to receive and collect food surplus from restaurants, food outlets, and the hospitality sector and redistribute it to the less fortunate.

His Excellency Ahmed Taleb Al Shamsi, CEO of the Emirates Foundation, and ne’ma National Steering Committee Deputy, said: "Ne'ma initiative takes pride in having Emirates Red Crescent as a significant partner in our mission to reduce food loss and waste across the UAE. As the key stakeholders of the ecosystem come together and display combined capabilities, we have established a robust network for rescuing and redistributing food nationwide, maximising our full potential in attaining our objectives. This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) further strengthens our ongoing work and signifies our mutual dedication to fostering a more sustainable future."

His Excellency Hamoud Abdullah Al Junaibi Secretary General of Emirates Red Crescent, said: "Food waste reduction and rescue has always been the prime ambition behind the foundation of our national authority. This MoU is an advanced step to enhance the efforts of synergy between both the institutions, in line with UAE strategy, thus constituting as a giant leap in the areas of existing partnerships between us, aimed at working together to achieve the desired goal of redistributing surplus food to the less fortunate. The authority will spare no effort to reach a balanced approach to the issue of food consumption and distribution.”

The agreement outlines that both parties shall join efforts with all stakeholders, charities, start-ups, and technology solutions companies to design a unified approach to rescue food at a national level, share successful practices in the field, and benefit from the complementary roles of all relevant parties and available resources to enhance and sustain food rescue operations to achieve the greatest local and international societal impact.

Ne’ma and Emirates Red Crescent’s Hefth Al Nema have cooperated in several food rescue and redistribution initiatives in 2023 including the ADSW: Zero Food Waste initiative during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, where around 3,000kg of food waste was collected and diverted from landfill, 400kg of food surplus was redistributed, and around 1,000 meals were donated in three days.  In addition to Hefth Al Nema project that was activated during the holy month of Ramadan, on which about 2,000 kg of food leftovers were rescued and recycled from the Abu Dhabi Energy Center,in collaboration with ADNOC. As a result, around 2,000 surplus edible meals were re-distributed, as well as separated food waste and recycled its non-edible components and converted it into the equivalent of 167kg of oil and organic fertilisers.