FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

World Food Day 2020 in Europe and Central Asia

This year’s World Food Day coincided with the 75th anniversary of the founding of FAO. The theme for this combined celebration was “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together,” emphasizing the importance of a better recovery and paying homage to Food Heroes – all those people who produce, plant, harvest, catch, and transport our food. Every year countries across Europe and Central Asia organize special events to help spread the message of World Food Day. This year, restrictions caused by COVID-19 had a significant impact on these events, and many were re-imagined online. Here are a few selected highlights of the many ways 16 October was marked in the region.


Marking World Food Day in Azerbaijan, FAO’s programme and liaison office organized a webinar to increase knowledge and awareness on food security, the role of research in this area, and the impacts of the global pandemic on agricultural producers, food supply chains, and livelihoods. Additionally, aiming to promote local products and cuisine, the office organized a presentation of awareness-raising videos about local food heroes engaged in the various stages along the food supply chain.


With the FAO children’s activity book having been translated into Georgian, this year’s awareness raising campaign on food systems and food heroes encompassed educational meetings at schools as well as online. FAO in Georgia challenged children to draw Food Heroes and send in their artwork as part of the global contest. In addition, the online campaign targeted to the general audience, specifically focused on Georgian Food Heroes and provided number of video, photo and print stories on farmers, small producers, extensionists, and veterinarians, especially women who have overcome COVID-19 difficulties and continue to produce food or help those who produce food. Besides World Food Day, and FAO’s 75th anniversary, Georgia is also celebrating 25 years of membership in FAO.


World Food Day has once again brought more than 20 trucks full of donated food into the heart of Budapest. As has been happening every year since 2006, the convoy, organized by FAO together with the Hungarian Food Bank Association, passed Budapest’s landmark Elisabeth Bridge, decorated with 50 UN flags. The trucks then briefly stopped at Heroes’ Square before departing for the association’s warehouse to unload 90 tonnes of food. The number 90 (75 + 15) has special significance since, not only is FAO turning 75, but also the Food Bank Association is marking its 15th anniversary this year. The Regional Office also organized a well-attended webinar entitled ”Principles for a long and nourishing life” explaining why resilience, sustainability, and innovation are pertinent, and what these can bring to everyone’s life, even in times of crisis. World Food Day also saw the re-issue of the popular Viber stickers created for last year's World Food Day.


Kazakhstan marked World Food Day with the head of the partnership liaison office giving an interview and a video news conference aimed at engaging the business community in helping to achieve food security.


As part of celebrations in Kyrgyzstan, beneficiaries of FAO projects in the country were awarded certificates of appreciation to highlight their contribution to improving food security and nutrition. Additionally, an exhibition entitled “Food security and nutrition through the eyes of an artist” provided a platform for five local illustrators to collaborate and show the significance of food security and nutrition in everyone’s life. Finally, online platforms were also used to promote and publish materials in honour of the day, with the FAO Representative appearing on morning TV on the country’s national channel.

North Macedonia

Together with Slow Food Vodno, FAO organized a film festival in Skopje entitled “Through the Lens of Food.” Several short videos and four documentaries delivered a message about the importance of local food producers, preserving biodiversity, and protecting the natural environment.

Russian Federation

The FAO liaison office with the Russian Federation, in collaboration with several respected institutions from the host country, exhibited archive documents and photographs on the history of FAO and its relations with Russia. Among the exhibits were copies of unique archival materials provided by the David Lubin Memorial Library at FAO and the Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Promotional videos showing on several digital billboards in Dushanbe heralded the arrival of World Food Day in Tajikistan. During World Food Day week, television and radio broadcast specials marked events with the participation of famous singers and dance groups, actors, and cooks. An open talk with FAO Representative Oleg Guchgeldyev and the rector of Tajik Agricultural University was organized for students of the university. The university also hosted an exhibition of photos showing the history of FAO starting from its establishment in 1945 up until the present day.


On 7 October, to mark World Food Day, FAO Turkey organized a launch of the 2020 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World. On the day itself, the office, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, organized a digital event presenting awards to those who contribute to the achievement of the Zero Hunger goal as a recognition of their work. World Food Day animation was translated into Turkish and shown on high profile networks in the country, such as Boomerang and Cartoon Network.


In Ukraine, an online briefing was organized by the FAO project office in Kyiv in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection, and the Ukrainian Business and Trade Association, AGROPORT.


A collaboration between the FAO Representation in Uzbekistan and korznika.uz supermarket chain saw the broadcast between 2–15 October of the World Food Day spot and children’s animation on special screens in stores. Additionally, on the occasion of World Food Day and International Day of Rural Women, a contest was organized jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan and the Association “Women of the Agricultural Sector of Uzbekistan” for journalist to promote achievements of rural women in the media, including television, print media, and news sites. The materials submitted for the competition examined the role and achievements of rural women in the socio-economic life of the country, existing problems, and ways to solve them, as well as the role of women in rural development.

16 November, Budapest, Hungary