US, Israel, India, and UAE Hold First 12U2 Summit on Food Security, Clean Energy

The leaders of the United States, India, Israel and the United Arab Emirates held their first virtual summit on Thursday as part of a new initiative under the banner of I2U2, and agreed to work on food security and clean energy.

“This unique grouping of countries aims to harness the vibrancy of our societies and entrepreneurial spirit to tackle some of the greatest challenges confronting our world, with a particular focus on joint investments and new initiatives in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security,” the four leaders said in a joint statement.

The statement went on, “We intend to mobilize private sector capital and expertise to modernize infrastructure, advance low carbon development pathways for our industries, improve public health and access to  vaccines, advance physical connectivity between countries in the Middle East region, jointly create new solutions for waste treatment, explore joint financing opportunities, connect our startups to I2U2 investments, and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies, all while ensuring near- and long-term food and energy security.”

The leaders also reaffirmed their support for the Abraham Accords and other peace and normalization arrangements with Israel.  

“We welcome the economic opportunities that flow from these historic developments, including for the advancement of economic cooperation in the Middle East and South Asia, and in particular for the promotion of sustainable investment amongst the I2U2 partners,” it added.

During the summit, it has been agreed that the UAE, home to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and host of COP28 in 2023, will invest $2 billion to develop a series of integrated food parks across India that will incorporate state-of-the-art climate-smart technologies to reduce food waste and spoilage, conserve fresh water, and employ renewable energy sources. 

“India will provide appropriate land for the project and will facilitate farmers’ integration into the food parks.  U.S. and Israeli private sectors will be invited to lend their expertise and offer innovative solutions that contribute to the overall sustainability of the project.  These investments will help maximize crop yields and, in turn, help tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East,” the statement added.

Moreover, the I2U2 Group will advance a hybrid renewable energy project in India’s Gujarat State consisting of 300 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar capacity complemented by a battery energy storage system.  “Such projects have the potential to make India a global hub for alternate supply chains in the renewable energy sector,” it added. 

At the end of their virtual meeting, the leaders expressed their determination to leverage well-established markets to build more innovative, inclusive, and science-based solutions to enhance food security and sustainable food systems. 

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