FAO Liaison Office in New York

While we currently produce enough food to feed every man, woman and child in the world, there are nearly 700 million people who are hungry, a number which is growing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. An increase in threats like pests, plagues, conflicts and climate change are compounding this global food crisis. The 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report “The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development” identified transforming agri-food systems and nutrition patterns as an entry point to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda.

To mobilize action and identify solutions to address these threats, the Youth Committee of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched the World Food Forum powered by global youth (WFF) – a youth-led movement and network of partners, created for and led by youth, to spark a movement to transform our global agri-food systems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 2 on “zero hunger” and other SDGs under review in the HLPF 2021 such as SDG 1 “no poverty”, and SDG 13 “climate action”.

This side event at the 2021 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) aims to give youth a platform to engage in a dialogue with Member States, major groups and other stakeholders and the UN Systems, proposing ideas to deliver on the goals of agri-food systems transformation and building back our societies and economies post-COVID-19, which are essential for the achievement of the SDGs, and jointly identifying partnerships and action necessary to transform ideas into results. It will also provide an initial set of recommendations from youth to global leaders involved in the implementation of SDG 2, stemming from the ECOSOC Youth Forum (April 2020) and an in-depth survey ahead of the HLPF 2021. In doing so, the side-event will also contribute to solidifying and reinforcing the WFF as a permanent independent global youth platform and network of youth-related partners and energize the global youth movement for food, placing young people into the centre of attaining systemic changes in the agri-food system for a better food future for everyone, everywhere.

Watch the video on FAO's '4 Betters', which are anchored in FAO's new strategic framework and shall guide the agri-food systems transformation our world needs: better production, better nutrition, better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.

Agenda | Concept note | Press release | Watch recording | World Food Forum

Watch the key highlights from each of the four panels:

Better Production Panel

Better Nutrition Panel

Better Environment Panel

Better Life Panel

Speakers' bios

Welcome remarks

 

 

QU Dongyu, Director-General, FAO

QU Dongyu, Director-General, FAO

QU Dongyu, who took office on 1 August 2019 as Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, has spent his life working on how to make sure the world is fed.

Born in 1963 to a rice-growing family in China’s Hunan Province, Qu studied horticultural science at Hunan Agricultural University and then plant breeding and genetics at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He later added environmental science to his knowledge portfolio while earning a PhD at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands.

Before coming to FAO, Qu served as China’s Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, where one of his achievements was to promote inclusive and innovative development and make sure information and communication technologies (ICT) were available in rural areas so that more than 400 million farmers could use their smartphones as a new farming tool.

As Vice Governor of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, one of China’s landlocked and poorest areas, Qu formulated action plans aimed at poverty reduction, disaster reduction and prevention, women empowerment, agritourism and mutual learning platforms designed to boost trust between ethnic groups.

Qu says he represents the combination of an “Asian soul” and a “global mind”. Recognized for scientific innovation as a young scholar, Qu has for 30 years been involved in international exchanges and orchestrated major events including the World Potato Congress, the International Rice Congress and the International Conference on Plant Protection, and participated in multilateral initiatives such as the World Trade Organization and the G20 as well as numerous bilateral initiatives involving Asia, Africa and Latin America. He has also directly helped design flagship South-South Cooperation projects with FAO and the World Bank.

Read the complete biography here. Watch the Director-General's video message here or watch the key highlights here.

 

 

H.E. Fabiana Dadone, Minister for Youth Policies, Italy

H.E. Fabiana Dadone, Minister for Youth Policies, Italy

Ms. Fabiana Dadone, born on 12 February 1984, holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Turin.    

As a political activist, Ms. Dadone has worked to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.  

She was elected at the 2013 Italian general election with the Five Star Movement. Throughout the 2013-2018 parliamentary term, she was a Member of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the phenomenon of mafias and other criminal associations. She also joined the Committees on Constitutional Affairs, Affairs of the Office of the Prime Minister, Home Affairs, Organization of the State and the Civil Service and Elections.

In 2015, she became the leader of the Five Stars Movement’s Parliamentary Group in the Chamber of Deputies.

In 2018, she was elected for a second term and, in 2019, she became Minister of Public Administration. During her mandate, she introduced significant measures of digitalisation of the Italian public administration.

Ms. Dadone is currently responsible for youth policies in the government of Mr. Draghi. 

Read her statement here. Watch the key highlights of her intervention here.

 

 

H.E. Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, United Arab Emirates

H.E. Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, United Arab Emirates

H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui was appointed as the UAE’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs in February 2016 at the age of 22. She is also the Chair of Emirates Youth Council and the Vice-Chair of the Arab Youth Center. She serves as the Chairperson for Special Olympics UAE; is a member of the Education and Human Resources Council in the UAE, and a board member of Emirates Foundation and the International Institute of Tolerance.

Previously, H.E. Shamma worked in Private Equity at ADIC. She also worked as a public policy analyst at the UAE Mission to the UN, as a Policy Analyst with the Prime Minister’s Office, as a Research Analyst at the UAE Embassy in DC, and as an Education Policy Researcher at Tamkeen.

H.E. Shamma holds a M.P.P with Distinction from the University of Oxford (2015), a B.A. in Economics with a concentration in Finance from NYUAD (2014) and was the UAE’s first Rhodes Scholar. She lives in Abu Dhabi with her husband and their son, Abdullah.

Read her statement here. Watch the key highlights of her intervention here.

 

 

Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. In this role, Jayathma works to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of work – sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action – and serves as a representative of and advisor to the Secretary-General.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickramanayake has worked extensively on youth development and participation, and has played a key role in transforming the youth development sector in her home country.

Prior to taking up her post, Ms. Wickramanayake was instrumental in creating the movement for civic and political engagement of young people, especially young women in Sri Lanka named “Hashtag Generation”. Previously, she advocated for global youth development on an international level including as the first ever Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations and as the youth lead negotiator and member of the International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014 where she played a critical role in mainstreaming youth in the Post-2015 Process and in the establishment of World Youth Skills Day.

On the occasion of this event, Ms. Wickramanayake said:

“To give the world the best chance of achieving a sustainable food future, it’s time to let youth lead the transformation of food systems as true equals.”

“Young people's leadership, as seen in the global youth movement, is agile in its nature and puts inclusivity and justice at its center. When youth lead the transformation of agriculture-food systems as equal partners, the world has a better chance of achieving a better food future: one that leverages from systemic change while remains central to grassroots principles. It's time to let youth lead."

Watch the key highlights of her intervention here.

Global survey results

 

 

Pramisha Thapaliya, Youth Leader for SDG-2, United Nations Major Group on Children and Youth

Pramisha Thapaliya, Youth Leader for SDG-2, United Nations Major Group on Children and Youth

Pramisha is a climate justice and sustainable food systems youth advocate from Nepal. She has an experienced history of following UN negotiations, lobbying and influencing decision from youth perspective. She is also a research enthusiast and aspires to build a better world for everyone, with her learnt skills, expertise and experience. Pramisha is also part of International Youth Climate Movement (YOUNGO) and Real Food Systems.

Major Group for Children and Youth

Children and Youth constituency to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

 

 

Youth solution panels for a better food future

 

 

Mustapha Diyaol Hagg, Entrepreneur; Co-founder, Okuafo Foundation (Ghana); and Winner of the Zayed Sustainability Prize 2020

Mustapha Diyaol Hagg, Entrepreneur; Co-founder, Okuafo Foundation (Ghana); and Winner of the Zayed Sustainability Prize 2020

Mustapha Diyaol-Haqq is the co-founder of Okuafo Foundation. A social enterprise that is providing farmers across West Africa with low-cost precision agriculture services. Okuafo Foundation works on delivering real-time AI powered early pest detection through its smartphone app, Okuafo AI. Using the app, farmers can monitor their crops for pests and take sustainable actions that do not only ensure the protection of the food, but also protects the environment from harmful chemicals through wrong pesticide use. 

With Okuafo Foundation’s shared device program, a farmer is selected as a lead and given a smartphone with the Okuafo AI app installed and he or she serves a community.

 

 

Giacomo Molteni, Young change maker and youth advocate, Bites of Transfoodmation (BoT)

Giacomo Molteni, Young change maker and youth advocate, Bites of Transfoodmation (BoT)

Originally from the state of Michigan in the United States, Giacomo has since studied finance in Switzerland and environmental policy in the Netherlands. His passion for food and strong interest in the potential for positive systemic transformations led him to focus on understanding how the intersection of finance and policy can create sustainable, equitable, and regenerative food systems. Giacomo currently works as an ESG Analyst at a private equity firm in Paris, France, while remaining an active member of the Bites of Transfoodmation project and young change maker network. Giacomo will represent Bites of Transfoodmation as a young change maker and youth advocate, having worked on the development and concretization of the group’s vision and project outputs since its inception.

 

 

Maureen Muketha, Youth Leader, Act4Food Act4Change; UN Food Systems Summit Action Track 1 leadership team member; founder of Tule Vyema

Maureen Muketha, Youth Leader, Act4Food Act4Change; UN Food Systems Summit Action Track 1 leadership team member; founder of Tule Vyema

Maureen is a Nutritionist in Kenya who is passionate about the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 and is a member of the UN Food Systems Summit Action Track 1 leadership team. She is the founder of a social enterprise called Tule Vyema.

She rolls up her sleeves to do what she loves best – fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Her efforts to raise awareness of proper feeding habits and improve food security in her community has enabled her to impact over 2,000 community members by equipping them with nutrition knowledge through nutrition education talks and improved food security through training young women to cultivate indigenous vegetables on vertical gardens in over 800 low-income earning households.

Her transformative work through Tule Vyema has been recognized by local and global organizations such as UNESCO MGIEP, Food Tank, Croplife International, Oxfam and Global Changemakers.

 

 

Jim Leandro P. Cano, Global Focal Person, YPARD; Chair, Youth Alliance for Zero Hunger; and Member, 16th High-Level Panel of Experts United Nations Committee for World Food Security

Jim Leandro P. Cano, Global Focal Person, YPARD; Chair, Youth Alliance for Zero Hunger; and Member, 16th High-Level Panel of Experts United Nations Committee for World Food Security

Jim is an agvocate for mainstreaming youth engagement across food systems processes, as well as digital agriculture. He serves as a Board Member to the professional organization for agriculturists in the Philippines - Philippine Association of Agriculturists (PAA), and also the science-policy think tank that hosts National Scientists and National Academicians in agriculture and related sciences - Coalition for Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines (CAMP).
 
As a youth agvocate, Jim chairs the Youth Alliance for Zero Hunger, an international alliance of youth-in-ag organizations that engage with the UN Food Agencies in Rome. He also serves as a member of the Steering Committee of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), and is an outgoing Country Representative for the Philippines. At the science-policy intersection, Jim is one of the authors of the 16th High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) which is working on the youth report entitled “Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems”.

 

 

 

 

Mateusz Ciasnocha, Farmer; CEO, European Carbon Farmers; Regenerative Agriculture Fellow, COP26 - Race to Zero; Coordinator, the Farm of Francesco - the Economy of Francesco; Delegate, Thought for Food

Mateusz Ciasnocha, Farmer; CEO, European Carbon Farmers; Regenerative Agriculture Fellow, COP26 - Race to Zero; Coordinator, the Farm of Francesco - the Economy of Francesco; Delegate, Thought for Food

Mateusz Ciasnocha is third-generation farmer operating a 700ha regenerative agricultural business in northern Poland on a mission of transitioning agriculture from convention to regenerative with farmers at the centre at the pace and scale required to unleash the world’s greatest carbon capture and storage pool: healthy and living agricultural soil. 

Building on his background, global experiences and networks, as well as commitment to regenerative agriculture, Mateusz – together with his brother, Paweł – set up European Carbon Farmers: a business promoting carbon farming practices in Poland and developing agricultural carbon payment mechanisms.

Mateusz is actively involved in the work of the UNFCCC’s COP26 – Climate Champions, where he is the Regenerative Agriculture Fellow, the Economy of Francesco’s Agriculture and Justice Village, where he co-facilitates work of the Startup Stream focused on developing network of regenerative demo farms, as well as EIT Food, where he manages regenerative agriculture program in Poland.

For his leadership in the agricultural area, Mateusz has been invited to join the Champions Network of the UN Food Systems Summit.

Building on his commitment to the African continent and agriculture Mateusz is a Deputy Editor-in-Chief of InvestAfrica.pl, the key source of information on Africa in Poland from a business perspective, and was an Incubation Manager at AgriTech Hub, the first-ever VC fund focused on agricultural investments in Poland and the wider CEE region. In addition to working as a journalist quoted by national and international media organizations such as the Polish Radio 24, Mateusz is dedicated to supporting the development of the two most pivotal sectors of the economy globally: agriculture and energy with a particular focus on the African projects. From contributing to the development of a 700ha family-owned regenerative agricultural operation located in northern Poland, through working with 130.000 small-holder Indian farmers as a consultant with Vrutti, to helping investors deploy capital in agricultural projects. Mateusz is committed to helping sustainable business models scale rapidly and thrive for long.

Educated at Hult International Business School, ESCP Europe Business School, the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh, Columbia University and Middlesex University London.

 

 

Jaee Nikam, Research Associate, Stockholm Environment Institute

Jaee Nikam, Research Associate, Stockholm Environment Institute

Jaee Sanjay Nikam is the Coordinating Lead Author for the GEO6 for Youth report. In the past, she has worked as a Research Fellow for the various GEO products including, GEO6 and UNEP's Making Peace with Nature report. For her full time job, she works as a Research Associate with Stockholm Environment Institute. Her key focus areas are circular economy and youth advocacy, where she is responsible for conducting and managing Asian country case studies for multi-country projects. Prior to her current position, Jaee has had experience with working with environmental consultancies, NGOs and IGOs in six countries. She holds a Masters of Science and Technology in Environmental Technology Management from Arizona State University.

Access the GEO6 for Youth report here

 

 

Sadie Red Eagle, Research Associate at the National Congress of American Indians

Sadie Red Eagle, Research Associate at the National Congress of American Indians

Sadie Red Eagle serves as a Research Associate for the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) Partnership for Tribal Governance and Special Projects department. At NCAI, Sadie manages the organization’s Tribal Food Sovereignty Advancement Initiative and its Climate Action policy work. Previous to her current position, Sadie served as Climate Action Fellow for NCAI’s Wilma Mankiller Fellowship Program and has interned for Pipestem & Nagle, P.C., Echohawk Consulting, and for her home Congressional office on Capitol Hill. Sadie is a 2019 graduate of Dartmouth College and a citizen of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians.

 

 

Alberta Pelino, Chair, Y20; President, Young Ambassadors Society (Italy)

Alberta Pelino, Chair, Y20; President, Young Ambassadors Society (Italy)

Alberta is the Chair of Y20 Italy, the G20 engagement group for youth.

She is the Founder and President of the Young Ambassadors Society, the association aimed at fostering civic engagement of young people with the support of the Italian Government and Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She works in the financial sector and she holds a MSc in Economics from Bocconi University.

 

 

Open discussion

More

Open discussion with interventions from the Major Group on Children and Youth, IFAD, WFP, young farmers, representatives from private sector and many more.

Moderator

 

 

Dr Rachel V. Brown, Executive Director, The Every Mikkle Foundation; Vice President, Global United Diaspora

Dr Rachel V. Brown, Executive Director, The Every Mikkle Foundation; Vice President, Global United Diaspora

Dr. Rachel V. Brown is a 30 year old proud Jamaican woman who has recently began as a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. In 2020, she earned her PhD from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona with a thesis focusing on the impact of Social Media Activism, she earned her Master's degree in Law from Wake Forest University, and her Bachelors degree from the University of Southern California. She is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Every Mikkle Foundation and the Vice President of Global United Diaspora. Her work has taken her to 31 countries where she has conducted projects in many fields including ending hunger, the environment, youth advocacy, women's empowerment, health, culture, education, the performing arts, and sports. In 2019 she was named one of the Caribbean's 30 under 30. She has also served as a Global Youth Ambassador for A World At School since 2015. Dr. Brown is an activist who believes we have the power and duty to heal, protect, and restore our earth and its people by first educating others and then implementing impactful changes.