World Food Day Focuses on Sustainable Food Systems

word-food-day-201316 October 2013: Organizations and communities globally celebrated World Food Day on 16 October 2013, under the theme 'Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.' World Food Day is celebrated in 150 countries and is held on the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in 1945.

To mark the Day, a series of events were sponsored by the Rome-based UN food agencies, including a high-level seminar on global food loss and waste that included the Heads of FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and Bioversity International. At the high-level event, the Heads of Rome-based food agencies called for: a better understanding of broad food problems; consideration of how growth can benefit everyone; greater engagement of smallholders and more effective engagement of women; and a change of culture that recognizes a right to food.

During the Day, FAO signed a partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to improve food security and strengthen resilience. Through the agreement, FAO will provide technical guidance to IFRC's network of volunteers, and the organizations will work together on a three-year action plan addressing climate change, land degradation and food loss and waste, with a particular focus on the Sahel and Horn of Africa.

Celebrations in Rome, Italy, will continue over the coming week, including an event to mark the International Year of Quinoa, a conference on multi-stakeholder engagement for sustainable food systems, and a seminar on sustainable food systems sponsored by Catholic-inspired charities. In New York, US, a World Food Day ceremony and event to launch the International Year of Family Farming will be held in mid-November.

The UN Secretary-General used the Day to call attention to the Zero Hunger Challenge and collaboration on sustainable food systems. In addition, a variety of global organizations also noted the importance of World Food Day: the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) stressed the importance of choosing sustainable agricultural practices in creating sustainable food systems; IFAD raised awareness on the variety of factors that underlie food and nutrition security and described a range of investments related to smallholder agriculture in India that have resulted in improved food security and greater engagement of women stakeholders; and Bioversity International of the Center for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) teamed with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to highlight the central role of biodiversity in food security and food systems. [FAO Press Release on World Food Day] [FAO Press Release on IFRC Partnership] [World Food Week Programme] [UNCCD Statement] [IFAD Press Release] [Bioversity International and WCS Editorial] [FAO Press Release on Italy-funded Programme] [WMO Press Release] [UNFCCC Press Release] [UN Press Release] [GEF News]