FAO Liaison Office in Brussels

Brussels celebrates World Food Day


The World Food Day (WFD) - marked each year on 16 October - highlights the need to step up efforts to end hunger and other forms of malnutrition and the need to ensure food security and healthy diets for all.

World Food Day at the European Parliament
On October 15, the event “Investing in Nutrition: Partnering for Action” took place in the European Parliament. It was  jointly organized with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Members of the European Parliament (MEP) Soraya Rodriguez Ramos and Paolo de Castro. FAO Liaison Office Director, Rodrigo de Lapuerta, gave celebratory remarks to the more than 150 participants together with the two hosting MEPs.

The World Food Day official video was screened, and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States Secretariat, the World Food Programme and UNICEF participated in a panel discussion. FAO Deputy-Director for the Nutrition and Food Systems Division Nancy Aburto and Jenny Chandler, former FAO Special Goodwill Ambassador for the International Year of Pulses, offered new insights into healthy diets, while presenting FAO’s Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women (MDD-W) indicator. The event was closed by Martin Hoppe, Head of Division at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany.

World Food Day with the European Commission and other partners
FAO Brussels co-organized a second high-level celebration on 16 October together with the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). The event enjoyed the highest level of participation from management of the hosting organizations.

EESC President, Luca Jahier, DG RTD Director-General Jean-Eric Pacquet, Chair of the CoR Commission for Natural Resources Ossi Martikainen, FAO Liaison Office Director Rodrigo de Lapuerta and the EU Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) Acting Director Matthew Hudson all offered opening remarks at the event. FAO Deputy Director for Nutrition and Food Systems, Nancy Aburto also participated as a panellist. The closing remarks were made by DG RTD Director for a healthy planet, John Bell.

World Food Day Public Outreach
In Belgium, FAO Brussels organized a photo exhibit with the kind support of the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) in the Galerie de la Reine, situated just next to Brussels most famous square, the Grand Place. The exhibit encapsulated the main messages of the day through impressive photographs of FAO benficiaries and influencers. The exhibition was open for two weeks through 28 October.

Further outreach activities all around Belgium were made possible thanks to the support of media company Publifer and the Belgian Railway Company (NMBS-SNCB), which promoted the campaign in sixteen major Belgian train stations during the World Food Week. For the first time ever in Brussels, JCDecaux Belux, the leader in outdoor advertising, dedicated numerous digital media screens in the Belgian capital and showed the WFD video spot at locations throughout the city, including close to European Institutions and major shopping avenues. The Public Broadcaster of the Flemish Community “VRT” also aired the World Food Day Promo in prime time in Dutch.

Young professionals, businesses and researchers meet for WFD
Putting young professionals at the heart of the celebrations was of great importance for FAO Brussels. At the cocktail reception of the Young Food Policy Network (YFPN), a network of young professionals working in the agri-food and environment sector in Brussels, FAO highlighted the fundamental role young professionals can play in supporting healthy food systems.

In the evening of World Food Day, EIT Food, a member of the FIT4FOOD2030 platform of the European Commission, hosted a World Food Day evening reception at the breath-taking venue Maison de la Bellone. It was a great occasion to bring together all participants from the different World Food Day celebrations in Brussels to close the day with healthy snacks and beverages. Participants received World Food Day-branded reusable bamboo straws, provided by Bali Boo, and were called to join the effort to reduce plastic waste. Together, both events gathered more than 300 people.