FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

FAO event set the course for a long and nourishing life

This year tested humankind on how we score in resilience. This is also at the heart of FAO, aiding the Organization, along with two additional fundamental principles, sustainability and innovation, during an eventful 75 years of existence. The World Food Day Talks event provided an opportunity for inspiration on how these three principles can be fruitful to everyone, even in times of crises. 

The three invited speakers, Dominique Burgeon, FAO’s emergencies and resilience director, Kristie Ebi, professor and researcher at the University of Washington, and Alanna Koch, Board Chair of the Global Institute for Food Security, brought their wealth of experience and knowledge to the discussion.

“World Food Day is not only to talk about the successes we’ve achieved together, but mostly to look forward and see how we can do our job better,” remarked Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative, setting the tone with his welcoming words. 

Talking about resilience, Dominique Burgeon noted that “humanitarian assistance is critical, but not sufficient;” and we know many good practices, but it is time to bring those actions to scale. “For that, we need the political will, investments, and, above all, we need peace.”

Alanna Koch highlighted the potential of innovation in improving yields, efficiency, and farmers’ incomes. She gave examples of using new technologies, however, she underlined that innovation is often not the design of new tools, but rather “using the same tools in a different way.” 

“By using tools from ag-tech, we can speed up the ability to respond with treatment and measures to contain the spread and occurrence of diseases,” Koch added. 

Kristie Ebi pointed out the complexity of challenges linked to developing resilience and sustainability. “If we apply what we already know and make investments, we can achieve the SDGs. We need to renew the science-policy interface, making sure that we incorporate people in those interactions.”

With the theme “Grow, nourish, sustain. Together,” World Food Day 2020 calls for more resilient and robust agrifood systems and global solidarity – both vital for our recovery from this crisis, and for building back better. More than ever, we need innovative solutions and strong partnerships.

Everyone has a role to play in ensuring nutritious food is available for all – from governments to private businesses to individuals, and the World Food Day Talks provided insightful ideas for this endeavor.

The recording of the virtual event is available on YouTube.

15 October 2020, Budapest, Hungary