Saudi aid chief reinforces need for collective action to reduce global food insecurity

RIYADH: Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the adviser at the Royal Court and supervisor general of the Saudi aid agency KSrelief, has reinforced the need for collective action to reduce global food insecurity and malnutrition.

Al-Rabeeah was speaking at the Global Food Security Summit which was held in London and attended by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak; British Foreign Secretary David Cameron; Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud; and a number of ministers from several countries, and representatives from the UN leadership, regional and international bodies, civil society, and relevant stakeholders.

The summit, which was co-hosted by the UK, the UAE, and Somalia, focused international attention on the deepening global food security crisis and discussed ways to boost efforts to achieve zero hunger and end malnutrition.

Al-Rabeeah, in his speech at a session called “Towards Eliminating Hunger and Malnutrition,” said: “I am not sure that we will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 as there are globally more than 52 million children suffering from malnutrition. Many have recently lost their lives or been deprived of nutrition due to current crises, such as we are witnessing in Gaza.”

Interventions by KSrelief helped to address issues of food security and nutrition by adopting a strategy of integrating nutrition programs with food security, water, sanitation, and health interventions, said a statement by the organization to Arab News.

To save the lives of children at risk, in partnership with international organizations and nongovernmental bodies, KSrelief had provided more than $2 billion in food security projects, and $179 million in nutrition-related activities, it added.

Al-Rabeeah said that to meet the growing needs related to child malnutrition, the Saudi aid agency worked closely with governments and organizations to unify efforts and implement projects around the world, noting that partnerships with the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and others, were promising and could become a role model.

He also stressed the importance of enabling countries and communities to obtain sustainable food resources and modern agricultural methods, and the necessity of lifting restrictions imposed on food trade, and the transfer of knowledge in the field of agriculture, the food industry and health.

He added the importance of women’s health which would result in the birth of healthy babies.

Al-Rabeeah called for a focus on the common goal of ensuring a safe and prosperous life for all children, while working together to prevent malnutrition.

Mohammed Shamsul Ola, an associate professor of nutritional biochemistry at King Saud University, Riyadh, told Arab News: “International action to alleviate food insecurity is required to combat global hunger and malnutrition, by collaborating with governments, organizations, and communities worldwide.

“Working together is needed to address the underlying causes of global food insecurity. With collective efforts, we can get the SDGs back on track and hope to deliver a world of zero hunger.

“Tackling the multidimensional challenges of food insecurity involves strategic investments in agricultural infrastructure, research, and technology transfer to empower local farmers.

“In addition, global food wastage is a significant issue that needs to be addressed internationally.

“By mitigating food insecurity and food wastage, the global community can create a more food secure and nourished world, ensuring that every individual has the opportunity to lead a healthy life.”

Al-Rabeeah met UK Minister of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Andrew Mitchell on the sidelines of the summit and discussed the agenda, as well as developments related to humanitarian and relief affairs.

He reminded Mitchell of the difficult humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip and ways to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid.

Mitchell praised the efforts made by the Kingdom through KSrelief to provide assistance to people all over the world, and Saudi Arabia’s active participation at the summit.

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