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Queen Letizia of Spain visits Expo Milan

First formal appearance as FAO Special Ambassador for Nutrition

23 July 2015, Milan - In her first formal appearance as FAO Special Ambassador for Nutrition, Queen Letizia of Spain today visited the 2015 Universal Exhibition in Milan. The theme of Expo 2015 is "Feeding the world, energy for life."

Last June, Queen Letizia was named FAO Special Ambassador for Nutrition in recognition of her personal commitment for a world free from hunger and malnutrition, as well as Spain's efforts in promoting food and nutrition security across the world.

Awareness is growing internationally that efforts to eradicate chronic hunger must be accompanied by a push to improve nutrition - that ensuring good quality of diets is just as important as ensuring sufficient amounts of food.

The total of hungry people in the world has dropped by 216 million since 1990, according the latest estimates by the three Rome-based food agencies. However, just under 800 million people still experience chronic hunger, while over 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies (also known as hidden hunger). At the same time, there are around 500 million obese people in the world.

The UN at Expo Milano 2015

Queen Letizia — accompanied by Spain's Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, Isabel García Tejerina — also visited Pavilion Zero, the main stop on the UN itinerary at Expo Milano.

Expo Milano and the UN's diffuse presence there is helping educate millions of visitors from around the world about the importance of mobilizing public opinion regarding  the crucial need to make hunger eradication and malnutrition central pillars in the global development agenda.

The Zero Pavilion is focused on humanity's relationship with nature and the way food production, conservation and consumption have evolved. One of the sections is dedicated to the theme of food waste and loss, which according to FAO's estimates account for one third of the global food produced for human consumption.

The UN presence at Expo is led by FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Supporting the Zero Hunger Challenge

To show its commitment to hunger eradication, Spain's pavilion hosts a UN Space which highlights its support for the Zero Hunger Challenge, launched by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2012,and which is the UN's primary theme at Expo.

During her visit to the Spanish pavilion, Queen Letizia participated in a session on the UN's presence at Expo and the importance of 2015 as a crucial year for the global development agenda.

"This year the new Sustainable Development Goals will be agreed and they will set the target of completely eradicating hunger by 2030, while the earlier Millenium Development Goals aimed at cutting the number of hungry by half. The new agenda gives a solid base for integrated development," said Marcela Villarreal, FAO's Director for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development in her presentation to the Queen.

The Queen also participated in an event dedicated to exploring the Mediterranean diet,  whose benefits were highlighted in a recent FAO report

Photo courtesy of the Royal House of Spain.
Queen Letizia visits the UN Pavilion at Expo 2015.