Youth-led World Food Forum kicks off — Global Issues

Virtually streaming, from Rome, the aim of the five-day event is to transform food and agriculture and help theSustainable Development Goals(SDGs ), in particular SDG 2 “No Hunger”.

Pope Francis joined the opening session with young farmers, singers and innovators.

“Look into the eyes of the young people who are asking for change. And listen,” said the Pope. “Listen to their concerns and be inspired by their vision, as our present will determine their future.”

Create a better food future

President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada; Queen Letizia of Spain, an FAOSpecial Goodwill Ambassador for Food; and UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid also addressed the Forum.

FAO Director General Qu Dongyu said he and other leaders attended “to listen to young voices and empower the younger generation to be co-creators of the better food future they deserve.”

Producer, singer, songwriter, entertainer and entrepreneur AY Young performed at the opening ceremony.

Over the next few days, the Forum will be attended by youth leaders from agriculture and beyond, along with influencers, celebrities, business and civil society leaders.

The program includes performances and demonstrations by Nigerian singer and songwriter Brymo, German musician Keye Katcher, vegan model and influencer Natalie Prabha, chef and writer Carla Lalli Music, Poet Meera Dasgupta and others.

Promote innovation

The Forum uses innovative ways to discover and scale up young people’s most promising ideas.

For example, the Transformative Research Challenge provides mentors to young researchers and publishes their work to help translate their ideas into research papers, grant proposals and policy suggestions.

Another example is the Startup Innovation Awards , which connects entrepreneurs with leaders in the investment, technology and policy communities. The Awards Masterclasses teach topics such as The Success Mindset, Food Systems and Nutrition Education, and Blockchain.

The event will announce the winners of the International Innovation Award for Sustainable Food Systems, which recognize excellence in digitalization and innovation and innovation that specifically empowers young people in these systems.

A follow-up to the Food Systems Summit

The event is the first major follow-up to the United Nations Food Systems Summit, which took place in New York last week.

The world currently produces enough food to feed everyone in the world, but last year more than 810 million people suffered from hunger. With the COVID-19pandemic, the number is growing. An increase in threats such as pests, plagues, conflict and climate change is also exacerbating the global food crisis.

The World Food Forum is authorized by the Youth Committee of the FAO. It was founded as an independent network of partners tasked with forging a global movement to restore agri-food systems.

“The future belongs to the youth, and they have the fresh perspectives, forward thinking and digital fluency to drive widespread and lasting change. They also have the numbers to get things done,” Qu Dongyu said ahead of the event.

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