World Food Day 2021 celebrated across Europe and Central Asia

Our actions are our future

World Food Day race in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Photo: ©FAO/Darkhan Zhagiparov


World Food Day, commemorated every year on 16 October – the date FAO was founded in 1945 – this year continued an established theme of recent years, that “Our Actions or Our Future”. The day highlighted how transforming agrifood systems could bring widespread improvements to everyone, resulting in better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.

COVID-19 continues to cast a shadow across Europe and Central Asia; consequently, many events were hybrid or online. Here is a selection of some of the events that happened across the Europe and Central Asia region.


As part of World Food Day events across the country, the FAO office organized an activity coinciding with Rural Women's Day, which focused on rural women and their contribution to rural society. In addition, an event for fifth-grade students at the Protagonists school in Tirana was held to celebrate the launch of the Food Heroes video.


The FAO team in Armenia prepared dried fruits decorated with the World Food Day theme. The fruit came from two beneficiary schools where FAO has established fruit and vegetable drying units under the food security project. In addition, children from one rural school participated in the Food Heroes song video, while the kids from the same school participated in the live virtual Junior World Food Day event.


In Gakh, Azerbaijan, the events marking World Food Day were combined with the International Day of Rural Women celebration through the participation of women farmers. The events, themed on "Building rural women's resilience in the wake of COVID-19", highlighted the vital role that empowered female farmers, entrepreneurs, and leaders need to play, and how women can contribute on equal terms in establishing sustainable agrifood systems, food security, and rural/regional development.


During a full week dedicated to World Food Day, Belgium’s largest train stations and cinemas showed the animation of the World Food Day visuals in Dutch and French, helping to spread awareness about World Food Day across the nation. Also, on the same theme, there was an FAO photo exhibition open to everyone in the public space of Galerie de la Reine and a webinar themed on the four betters organized by the FAO Brussels Liaison Office.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

FAO’s Nabil Gangi was in Pale for a World Food Day painting workshop held for students of the town’s elementary school, who painted their vision of healthy food production.


The Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food, under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, organized a round-table on the four betters; the keynote speaker was FAO’s Gokce Akbalik.


To help raise awareness of World Food Day, local celebrity chef Luka Nachkebia appeared in several TV programmes to talk about World Food Day issues. Celebrations also included a handdrawn poster contest launched on the topic of the “food journey from farm to table”. The best entries will be published online, on the FAO Georgia Facebook page, with the artists given t-shirts including the prints of their own drawings.

Luka Nachkebia, famous Georgian chef ©FAO / Celebrating World Food Day In Tajikistan ©FAO/Shahzod Avazov


To mark World Food Day, a long line of trucks once again passed through the historical centre of Budapest carrying 33 tonnes of food donated by Hungarian and international food producers and retailers to support thousands of people in need. As well as providing some tangible support, the event, now in its sixteenth year, aimed to raise awareness around this year’s theme – more sustainability through food-systems transformation by, among other approaches, reducing food loss and waste. Also, to draw attention to the day, UN flags were placed on Budapest’s Elisabeth bridge around World Food Week. The office is also running a regional photo contest organized for the first time this year. FAO’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia continued its collaboration with the instant messaging service Viber to reach more than half a million users with videos, images and messages about the issues highlighted by this year's World Food Day campaign.


A marathon under the theme "Our future’s in our hands: sustainable development through agricultural systems' transformation, nutritious food and healthy lifestyles"  took place in the capital Nur-Sultan on 16 October.  It involved the capital’s active runners and many partners, including UN agencies, Ministry of Agriculture, other governmental bodies, and civil society organizations.


An open-air agriculture fair was organized jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture, WFP, and UNDP, in southern Kyrgyzstan, with the participation of beneficiaries and their products, including dairy, handicrafts, honey, and fish, among others.

North Macedonia

A World Food Day event took place on 20 October at Krste Petkov Misirkov primary school in Egri village, Bitola. Schoolchildren from Egri and the surrounding villages learnt about food systems and spoke with their local food heroes. The Activity Book - Our actions are our Future was distributed at the event. There was also a short lecture on sustainable agrifood systems, a personal story from a local food hero, a ’Did you Know?’ quiz on food systems transformation, a local World Food Day poster competition illustrating the idea of a food journey, and a locally grown food market in the schoolyard.


FAO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) organized a joint Instagram live cooking show with a famous Montenegrin chef to present a culinary perspective of World Food Day with a bunch of interesting information about Montenegrin food, as well as Geographical Indication products that are the focus of an FAO-EBRD project.

Republic of Moldova

A hybrid conference on “Agroecology to feed people while regenerating nature, society, and economy” was organized. As part of the conference, a workshop and its participants analysed the perspectives for improving production, policies for agroecology, and different aspects related to legislation.

World Food Day in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Photo: ©Vyacheslav Pak

Russian Federation

The FAO Moscow Laison Office organized a World Food Day webinar in collaboration with Moscow State University of Food Production. 


Commemorations in Switzerland included an exhibition stand at Geneva central station and World Food Day messages shown on digital billboards throughout the country. In addition, on 15 October, FAO, UNHCR, and WFP, together with Cuisine Lab and Mater Fondazione, prepared and distributed lunch boxes to vulnerable people in Geneva, including refugees. The week-long events to mark World Food Day were concluded with the illumination of the Jet d'Eau – the symbol of the city of Geneva – in blue on the evening of 16 October.


On World Food Day itself, the Art Doshan Studio project partnered with FAO to organize a painting contest for schoolchildren; the best paintings will go forward to the World Food Day children’s poster contest. In addition, the event included masterclasses and a photo zone for shooting, theatrical performances, speeches by FAO and WFP, a quiz, and gifts for the children’s painting contest winners. Activities in the country also included an FAO photo exhibition, and dedicated TV and radio programmes.


In a month full of events linked to World Food Day, the FAO Turkey Office launched  this year’s report on the State of Food Security Nutrition in the World. Workshops and virtual events were organized devoted to varied topics such as agrifood systems, youth, gender equality and women’s empowerment in agriculture, urban food systems, and the four betters. In addition, the World Food Day Horse Race, a traditional event in Turkey, took place as usual – each year, the Jockey Club of Turkey dedicates one of its races to World Food Day to raise awareness of key issues related to food and hunger.


In Ukraine, FAO organized a high-level event dedicated to World Food Day – a presentation of the “Food Systems Transformation Pathway”. Participants included officials from the UN, Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, Ministry of Economy, and local food heroes. In addition, as part of an information campaign on intercity trains, a World Food Day video will be showing on routes between principal cities in the country for about one month; by the end of the campaign, it will have been broadcasted a total of 544 320 times.


On 15 October, the FAO Uzbekistan Office, together with the Ministry of Public Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan and other national partners, organized a dedicated lesson for schools in Uzbekistan, with both offline and online components. During the event, the Activity Books were shared among children, who were also able to watch the World Food Day video.

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