Dubai, UAE: This year's World Food Day has received an unprecedented global boost by being the first international awareness day to be marked at Expo 2020 Dubai. The world exhibition presented the impressive backdrop to an opening ceremony and series of activities to raise awareness and involve everybody on the conversations around our food.
With its theme 'Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life,' World Food Day at Expo 2020 Dubai is being celebrated by a joint programme from the Ministry of Climate change and Environment, the United Nation's Food and Agriculcture Organisation (FAO), SDG2 Advocacy Hub and Expo 2020 Dubai.
Commencing with a Specialised event to start the momentum, followed by an opening ceremony on the main stage, World Food Day at Expo 2020 Dubai continued with a series of events for the public, as well as key food experts, with the programme calling for global solidarity in rethinking and reshaping food systems to ensure healthy lives and a healthy planet.
Underpinning the programme is the notion that humankind must work together to transform food systems and shift old consumption patterns to diets that promote health and wellbeing, have a lower environmental impact and are accessible, affordable and safe. Drawing attention to the philosophy of ensuring that 'no-one is left behind,' the organisers of the event say that Expo 2020 Dubai represents the perfect place to host World Food Day in view of its aim to be a a beacon for food security and its role in promoting adequate nutrition from sustainable systems for every person.
“The Ministry of Climate change and Environment is honoured to play an important role in this year's World Food Day and to have the unrivalled backdrop of Expo 2020 Dubai to reach a wide audience for our message. The UAE leadership is committed to ensuring food security for all in recognition that this is the essential underpinning of sustainable growth. Fundamental to our efforts is the principle that we should leave no person behind as we strive to reach our goals, with one of these being to transform the UAE into a world-leading hub in innovation-driven food security. This ambition is a guiding ethos of the work of the Ministry,” said H.E Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
“The World Food Day celebrations at the Dubai 2020 EXPO come at a critical time. Building on the unprecedented momentum spurred by the United Nations Food Systems Summit, the event will bring together key players in this area. It will help transform siloes into bridges between crucial area's like people's nutrition, climate and human dignity and prosperity. Competing views will further convert into innovative ideas and solutions implemented in a country-owned and country-driven way. This is a breakthrough that will benefit people and planet alike with solutions. Owned and driven forward by countries and communities themselves, supported by global coalitions as needed. This progress and approach means a big step forward in implementing all 17 Sustainable Developing Goals, ensuring that no one is left behind. I am grateful to UAE's leadership and ambition to be a world leader in innovation-driven food and nutrition security and trust this event will work out as a milestone to contribute to a world where sustainably-produced nutritious food is affordable and accessible to everyone.“ said Gerda Verburg, United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Coordinator of the SUN (Scaling Up Nutrition) Movement.
“World Food Day marks both the genesis of the Food Systems Summit and a checkpoint for progress not only towards the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, but also towards an entire food systems transformation. The hard work is only just beginning, and a better future for this generation, the next and those to come is within reach if the world seizes the opportunity in front of all of us and successfully transforms food systems for the better.” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata. UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the 2021 Food Systems Summit.
“World Food Day 2021 is celebrated a second time during the COVID-19 pandemic, whose repercussions disrupted agri-food systems and triggered an unprecedented economic recession, resulting in a dramatic loss of livelihoods and incomes and increased food insecurity and inequality,” said Abdulhakim Elwaer, FAO's Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa.
“The region's agri-food systems are failing to deliver affordable, diverse, nutritious and safe food to all is exacerbating the situation. That's why FAO is shedding the light during World Food Day taking place at EXPO Dubai on the need to find innovative ways and modalities for international development cooperation, which goes beyond the transactional approach that aims at the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind,” Elwaer added.
Commencing at 2pm, the official opening ceremony for Word Food Day 2021 takes place on the Expo 2020 Dubai main stage, led by the Ministry of Climate change and Environment and the FAO. Included as part of this segment are addresses from key global figures in re-shaping and transforming our food systems.
Among those delivering keynote speeches are H.E Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Dr. Agnes Kalibata. UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the 2021 Food Systems Summit; Abdulhakim Rajab Elwaer, FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa; and Dr Shaktuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, CGIAR scientist and World Food Prize winner 2021.
The agenda for Word Food Day then continued with a strong community-focused programme which combined interactive sessions to allow guests to engage and reflect the sub-themes 'Better production,' 'Better nutrition,' 'Better environment' and 'Better life.' Included are conversations with 'food heroes' who are helping to transform food systems and ensuring that food makes its way to tables despite obstacles such as pandemics and disasters, live cooking demonstrations, and discussions of actions the public can take to participate in the agri-food system – from eating healthily to adopting more sustainable food consumption patterns and reducing food waste.
World Food Day 2021 concluded with a Youth Circle convened in conjunction with the Federal Youth Authority, with the platform allowing the participants to discuss the crucial role that young people play in enhancing food security. Among the issues addressed were whether there is conflict between the priority action areas of people, planet and prosperity; the unique role of youth in delivering change; and how to ensure actions undertaken are successful. The session outcome will be in the form of a white paper, which will consolidate discussions from the circle and highlight the main youth recommendations.
World Food Day is one of the most celebrated days on the UN calendar. Each year on October 16, more than 150 countries worldwide come together to celebrate the date in an effort to raise awareness about increasing hunger and to appreciate humankind's most basic need: food. The day is a call to action for UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 – Zero Hunger – urging the elimination of hunger, the creation of sustainable food systems and the promotion of healthy diets for all.
World Food Day marks the anniversary of the FAO, which collaborates with its sister agencies the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, as well as with member states and partners to organise hundreds of events around the world.
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