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UAE to Provide Free Meals to All Public Schools by 2025

The United Arab Emirates has announced a major endeavour to provide free meals to all public school children by 2025.

The UAE has announced a significant initiative to offer free meals to all public school students by 2025. The plan will be implemented in phases, commencing in 2023-24, with full-scale launch in 2024-25.

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, the Minister of Climate Change and Environment, unveiled the UAE School Meals initiative, emphasizing its importance for child nutrition and long-term positive impact on education.

Nutrition and Education Link:

Minister Almheiri stressed the clear connection between nutrition and education. Adequate nutrition is essential for children to fully benefit from their educational experience.

Research indicates that nine dollars are saved for every dollar spent on a school meal. Ensuring proper nutrition during childhood has lasting effects on health and economic contributions.

Support for Local Farmers:

A key motivation behind the initiative is to create a new market for local farmers. The goal is to source at least 70 percent of food for the school meals locally. 

Additionally, the initiative aims to promote job creation in low-income communities near schools, with at least 30 percent of the workforce associated with the program coming from these communities.

Minister Almheiri emphasized the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life and planned to consider the nutritional needs of children in their early school years.

COP28 Food Systems and Transformation:

The Minister highlighted the significance of the upcoming COP28, hosted by the UAE, focusing on food systems and transformation. 

The UAE launched its COP28 Food Systems and Agricultural Agenda to drive global food system improvements and long-term sustainability.

During the Global School Meals Coalition meeting in Paris, the UAE was joined by other countries, including Burundi, Egypt, Iraq, Luxembourg, and Tajikistan, in reaffirming commitments to provide free school meals.

The School Meals Coalition:

The School Meals Coalition, launched in 2021 and consisting of 70 countries, aims to improve and scale up school meal programs. 

The ultimate goal is to ensure every child can access a healthy, nutritious meal in school by 2030. The coalition has 75 partners, including United Nations agencies, civil society, the private sector, and academia.

Get all the latest update on UAE Times Now

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