Rome (Italy). World Food Day is celebrated on 16 October 2021, established to commemorate the establishment, on 16 October 1945, of FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The Day has the objective of spreading greater awareness of the problems related to malnutrition and hunger and to improve the world food system to ensure the well-being of all.
The theme proposed by FAO for the 2021 Day, “Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life” is linked to the transformation of agri-food systems.
From Report 2021 by FAO, there are over 3 billion – almost 40% of the world’s population – who cannot afford a healthy diet. Conflicts, the pandemic, and climate change have aggravated the level of malnutrition. At risk is Objective 2 to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture, of Agenda 2030. The report calls for a transformation of food systems to reduce the cost of nutritious foods and increase the affordability of healthy diets.
Pope Francis, in the Message on the occasion of World Food Day 2021 says: “Each of us has a role to play in the transformation of food systems for the benefit of people and the planet, and ‘we can all collaborate … for the care of creation, each with their own culture and experience, their own initiatives and abilities’ (Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, n. 14)”.
The Pope proposes four areas in which it is urgent to act: in the fields, in the sea, at the table, and in the reduction of food loss and waste, urging everyone to pay attention to simple daily habits, as a first step to be custodians and promoters of the Common Home and as a way to involve the younger generations:
“Our daily lifestyles and consumption practices influence global and environmental dynamics, but if we aspire to real change, we must motivate producers and consumers to make ethical, sustainable, and qualitative decisions for younger generations on the important role they play in making a world without hunger. Each of us can contribute to this noble cause, starting with our daily lives and the simplest of behaviors”.
Young people were protagonists in the World Food Forum, the World Forum organized in Rome by the FAO Youth Committee, from 1 to 5 October 2021, with the support of Associations, Universities, Companies, NGOs, and Governments to change the way food is produced and give the world a better food future.
At the opening of the event, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu expressed himself as follows: “The political will has grown in the world to act more decisively, but young people are needed for the true innovation of agri-food systems.” At the Forum, the winners of the Transformative Research Challenge 2021, were communicated, which was attended by teams of young people with the proposal of innovative ideas to transform agri-food systems for the benefit of better production and nutrition.
World Food Day 2021 plans initiatives and events promoted in more than 150 Countries of the world, including the FAO campaign Heroes of nutrition, with testimonies from adult and young ‘heroes’ from all over the world committed to ‘make a difference’ in rendering agri-food systems more sustainable.
In the musical video of the #EroiDellaAlimentazione (Heroes of Nutrition) children and teenagers dancing and singing say: “No matter the age or the country, no one should ever go hungry” and suggest simple daily gestures to take action: