FAO Liaison Office in Brussels

World Food Day: FAO partners join high-level celebration in Brussels


Event hosted under the auspices of the European Parliamentary Alliance highlights innovation, sustainability and transforming the cocoa value chain

A double-celebration marking World Food Day and the 75th anniversary of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) underscored the need to make urgent and lasting changes to ensure food security for all, in keeping with the theme of this year’s observance, Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future.

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu joined in the FAO Brussels event, along with the Vice-President of the European Parliament, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, high-level officials from the OACPS, and the Director of the World Food Programme.

“Our work is not done yet. Together with all key stakeholders, we are working to find long-term solutions and address the key drivers of food crises,” Director-General QU, said.

“In 75 years, FAO has helped to grow, nourish, and sustain the bounty of our soils, forests and oceans, and the people who depend on them. This would not have been possible without the support of our partners and expertise, especially from Europe. I would like to thank the European Union and its Member States for the excellent partnership and collaboration throughout the years”, the Director-General added.

Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Member of the European Parliamentary Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition, said, “The human right to food can only be achieved when poverty and inequality are drastically reduced.”

Ms Hautala also emphasized that the unfortunate effects of the pandemic will add to the root causes of hunger. “In a globalized world, we need to come up with globalized and systematic solutions,” she added.

Janusz Wojciechowski, European Commissioner for Agriculture, highlighted the involvement of the European Commission in the context of the FAO-African Union Task Force: “We are working with FAO on food security and rural development, mindful that the impact of COVID-19 will be particularly acute in rural areas around the world,” he said.

"We need to make sure that all of us – Parliamentarians, governments, private sector, researchers, consumers – take our responsibilities to transform our food systems – to make them more sustainable, resilient and fair,” said Rodrigo de Lapuerta, Director of the FAO Liaison Office in Brussels, in his welcoming remarks.  "We need to make sure that all of us - Parliamentarians, governments, private sector, researchers and consumers - take our responsibilities to transform our food systems - to make them more sustainable, resilient and fair and make them more fit for present and future generations," he explained

The World Food Day event also enjoyed the participation of Cristelle Pratt, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and Alzira Ferreira, Director of the WFP office to the European Union.

Following the morning’s celebration, a panel discussion brought together colleagues from the FAO Côte d’Ivoire office, experts from the field, the European Commission, beneficiaries, and industry representatives, to discuss sustainability and challenges in the cocoa supply chain, from farm to shelf.

Later in the day, FAO Brussels co-hosted a panel discussion with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation’s FOOD2030 team, and the German EU Presidency. The discussion focused on food system transformation through research and innovation.

FAO Brussels Director de Lapuerta emphasized the key role of research and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The appointment of FAO’s first-ever Chief Scientist, Ms Ismahane Elouafi, will further strengthen FAO’s commitment to research and innovation as a key instrument of a future without hunger,” de Lapuerta said.

John Bell, Director Healthy Planet at the EU Commission also emphasized the role of innovation, research, creative ideas and strong partnerships with industries, private sector, SMEs, farmers, civil society throughout the event.

World Food Day public outreach campaign in Belgium

In Belgium, FAO Brussels has been working on a countrywide campaign supported by development partners, private and public sector companies and the Belgian government. Through the end of October, the Belgian public will be able to view a photo exhibit dedicated to the theme, “Food Heroes.”

The exhibit, at the famed Galerie de la Reine in the heart of Brussels, was made possible with the kind support of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and coordinated by the German Agency for Development Cooperation (GIZ).

This year’s World Food Day digital campaign will be seen in all major Belgian train stations, 50 cinemas and on more than 80 outdoor advertising screens all over the country, thanks to the support of our partners PubliferJCDecaux Belux and Brightfish.

The recording of the event can be accessed here.