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Experts at IGCF 2023 discuss sustainable agriculture, global climate action, and resource management


On the second day of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) 2023 — organised by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB) under the theme 'Today's Resources, Tomorrow's Wealth’ — a panel of distinguished experts and thought leaders convened to explore the critical issue of resource management in our rapidly changing world.

Titled “Global Resources in an Era of Change: Balancing Solutions and Sustainability,” the session shed light on the complex dynamics between resource consumption and production, and the role of government communication and media in shaping a sustainable future for all.

Among the esteemed speakers were Khalifa Musabeh Ahmed Alteneiji, Chairman of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock in Sharjah, Mohamed Abou El Enein, Deputy of the Egyptian Parliament and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cleopatra Group, Ambassador Marco A. Suazo, Director of UNITAR New York Office; and Sarah Shaw, Senior Advisor to COP28 UAE. Together, these speakers illuminated the path forward for achieving balance, sustainability, and responsible consumption in an era of evolving resource dynamics.

Khalifa Musabeh Ahmed Alteneiji, Chairman of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock in Sharjah, shared the inspiring story of the 400-hectare wheat farm that was envisioned and opened in November 2022 by Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

“This incredible project has broken stereotypes about wheat farming in challenging climates. The tremendous effort that has gone into this initiative and the guidance of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah at every step of the journey cannot be understated, he is truly a dedicated leader and has set Sharjah on a path to a brighter future for all. Despite facing significant challenges, including a shortage of seeds and equipment, this project has already achieved remarkable success. The wheat produced boasted 80 percent protein content, thanks to cutting-edge technology such as satellite thermal photography and precise weight measurement of wheat grains.”

Alteneiji also revealed that plans are already underway to expand the project to 1900 hectares, with positive environmental effects being documented on land and soil quality as well as increased precipitation in the area.

Ambassador Marco A. Suazo, Director of UNITAR New York Office, discussed the absence of political will to overcome global challenges by nations around the world needs to be a thing of the past, and called for global cooperation and strong focus on protecting the rights of people in developing nations while addressing these urgent matters.

The UNITAR Director also highlighted the soaring prices and inflation rates, while highlighting the alarming trend of consuming in nine months what the planet produces in a full year. He also drew attention to the upcoming SDG Summit later this month, gathering over 100 heads of state to make national commitments to SDG transformation, including setting benchmarks to reduce poverty and inequality by 2027.

Mohamed Abou El Enein, Member of the Egyptian Parliament and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cleopatra Group, underscored the systematic problems in resource management. He echoed the sentiment of developing countries that proposed a new UN fund to unlock at least US$100 billion by 2030 to address irreversible damage caused by climate change and urged the United Nations to reform itself to better understand the diverse nations it represents.

Abou El Enein stressed, “A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work, given the diverse needs and challenges across the globe. The importance of food security as a national security issue cannot be overstated, and the transformation of agricultural practices in Egypt, through the support of the government to farmers has resulted in a substantial increase in planted land.”

Sarah Shaw, Senior Advisor to COP28 UAE highlighted the essential role of the private sector, academia, and public entities in formulating solutions.

The COP28 representative expanded on key areas of focus, saying, “It's crucial to transition to clean energy, production, and agriculture while simultaneously safeguarding food security. The remarkable achievements over the last seven years since the Paris Agreement, with a strong emphasis on our target of limiting global warming to a 1.5°C maximum are proving achievable but there is still a lot of work to do.

Shaw stressed, “There are vital areas where nations must focus their efforts to adhere to recommendations made by experts and research, and these encompass multiple sectors, including food, commerce, trade, energy, as well as financing, especially for developing nations.”