Global debate on Agriculture and Food Security takes centre stage at Expo Milano 2015

On 4 June 2015, the International Agricultural Forum begins at Expo Milano 2015 with the participation of Ministers of Agriculture from participating countries and High-level Representatives of the UN Rome-based Agencies.
The Forum will be the occasion for a global reflection and discussion of the role that agriculture and the rural world will play in the challenges of providing enough food to feed the projected 9 billion people in 2050.
This issue is also at the centre of the UN theme for Expo 2015, “The Zero Hunger Challenge • United for a sustainable world”.

The International Agricultural Forum recognizes that in order to ensure that all of  humanity has good, healthy, sufficient and sustainable nutrition – a central topic in the Post-2015 Development Agenda –  cooperation is essential in order to promote concious political choices and sustainable lifestyles to reach a balance between the availability and consumption of resources seek a balance between availability and consumption of resources.  Also important is the universal diffusion of innovation, knowledge and good practices in order to achieve this goal. 

When interviewed about the preparations for the Forum, Minister Martina commented that the forum “is one of the most important stages in the discussion and engagement with Expo’s content”.  Martina went on to say that it is “an honor for Italy to host this crucial event at Expo before the FAO Assembly, the G7 and G20 Summits and in light of the approaching adoption of the new Post-2015 Development Agenda.”

The conference will take place over two days, opening on 4 June and concluding on the afternoon of 5 June, and is made up of three sessions on the first day; on 5 June a debate on the Milan Charter will be opened up to involve representatives of other stakeholders.

The first of three sessions, titled “Agriculture, food and development” will focus on the issues of agriculture and food in development policies as well as in view of the Post-2015 Development Agenda; it will encompass also the sustainable access to resources, including water and energy, as well as the environmental impact of agricultural production and the role of women in agriculture and nutrition.  

The second session is titled “Agriculture, food and culture” and will address the importance of food traditions and values as an element of identity will be highlighted, and we will discuss on how to protect the cultural food heritage.  Attention will also be given to the social aspects of production and consumption, as well as the relation between city and countryside and the new forms of spatial organization in the food chain, including the contribution that new technologies, especially Information and Communication Technologies, can make to food security.

The third session, held in the afternoon will be on the subject of “Agriculture and Food Security”, focusing on the goal of food security and the sustainability of agricultural production processes; it will also touch upon possible measures to protect producers, families and associations from the risks of price volatility and support them in risk managemnet schemes. The session will also cover the importance ofspreading innovation and best practices to overcome the food loss and waste scandal. 

On the morning of the 5th of June there will be a debate open to the representatives of other stakeholders, given that the global food challenge, besides involving the responsibility of Governments and International Organizations, also directly affects citizens, businesses and associations; this debate will address the “Charter of Milan”, Expo Milano 2015’s legacy. 

Among those participating in the event are FAO Director-General, José Graziano Da Silva, IFAD President, Kanayo F. Nwanze, WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner. This event is not only crucial for Expo Milano 2015 but also for the UN’s participation at Expo 2015. Indeed, following the closure of the Forum the official celebration of the World Environment Day will kick off on 5 June. This is one of the three days the UN is celebrating at Expo Milano 2015 and this year's theme is "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care".  On this day also the Italian President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, will pay a visit to Expo, followed by the official ceremony of the World Environment Day will take place with remarks by the Italian Minister of Environment, Gian Luca Galletti, and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner.  


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