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World Food Day. Ban Ki-moon receives the Milan Charter. Mattarella: Feeding the Planet means Peace

16 Oct

world food day cerimonia mattina immagine

Friday October 16 in Expo Milano 2016 saw the celebration of World Food Day, with an event focused on “Social Protection and Agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty”. The opening ceremony was honored by the presence of the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and the President of Italy Sergio Mattarella, and speakers included José Graziano da Silva (Director General of FAO), Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano (Permanent Observer of the Holy See at FAO, who read out a message from Pope Francis), Paolo Gentiloni (Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs), Maurizio Martina (Italian Minister of Agriculture), Kanayo F. Nwanze (President of IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development), Ertharin Cousin (Executive Director of the World Food Programme - WFP) and Giuliano Pisapia (Mayor of Milan). Also present were Queen Letizia of Spain, the President of Slovenia Borut Pahor and the Chief Government Commissioner of Expo Milano 2015 Giuseppe Sala.
2015 is a significant year for FAO, with today marking exactly 70 years since its founding. Also significant is the reciprocal desire to stage this day in Expo Milano 2015, a global event which from the beginning has offered itself as a setting for reflection and discussion on various strategies for finding solutions to the contradictions of today’s world in terms of food and nutrition, starting with its choice of main theme, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. The culminating moment of the event was the official handing over of the Milan Charter – the key legacy of Expo Milano 2015 – to Ban Ki-moon
Mattarella: "By 2030, we must implement a development model based on fairness, social solidarity and sustainability"

“Only a choral action can ensure equal access to resources. Hunger and malnutrition are a dramatic reality for 800 million people, but the ‘zero hunger generation’ is about to be born and we want to be ready to greet it: by 2030, we must implement a development model based on fairness, social solidarity and sustainability, and in this process women will play a fundamental role. All societies are richer when the role of women is stronger.”
Opening the ceremony, President Mattarella underlined the importance of the Milan Charter, “fruit of a collective process involving governments, civil society entities, companies and organizations. It has been signed by over a million people: a demonstration of global citizenship.” Expo Milano 2015 is an opportunity for constructive discussion on a crucial theme for mankind. Feeding the Planet means “peace”, and is an intention which is also a “magnificent political concept, in a world where all too often the rules of finance prevail over those of the economy.”
Ban Ki-moon: “Hunger fragments communities and endangers our future”

“Our vision of sustainable development is connected with progress in food availability: we have to support small farmers and women, because the social protection we talk about concerns above all the most vulnerable members of society.” Thus began the speech of Ban Ki-moon. “The 17 goals for sustainable development involve every field of life, because all fields are integrated: hunger fragments communities and endangers our future. We have to fight against malnutrition but we have to do so all together, transcending borders and creating new partnerships.” He later added, “Seventy years ago, various countries joined together to found the FAO, making a promise: to guarantee freedom from hunger for all humanity. We are here today to carry forward this commitment, and the 2030 Agenda is our road-map to success.
Pope Francis: “Is it still possible to conceive of a society in which resources are controlled by a tiny minority of people, while the less fortunate are left to pick up the crumbs?”

Pope Francis sent a passionate letter to the meeting, which was read out by Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano, emphasizing the priority of restoring dignity to poor people: “They are persons, not numbers. Today’s celebrations focus on our brothers who suffer from hunger and malnutrition owing to an unjust distribution of the fruits of the earth and an insufficient development of agriculture. In this painful situation, we have to regain the inspiration that led to the birth of this organization in order to free humanity from hunger.”
The Pope went on to focus on the theme of World Food Day, reminding listeners that two thirds of the world’s population still have no social protection. “The majority of these people live in the least wealthy areas of the world, where the poor are forgotten. Their conditions show us that we cannot just content ourselves with generalized appeals for cooperation.” Here he asked a fundamental question: “Is it still possible to conceive of a society in which resources are controlled by a tiny minority of people, while the less fortunate are left to pick up the crumbs?” The answer lies in social peace, in the stability and security of a certain sense of order which depends on fair distribution policies.” The Pope concluded by directing a prayer to the FAO, namely that it continues “to look after the rights of the hungry and fulfill their aspirations.”

José Graziano da Silva: "Eat healthily, reduce waste and help others.”

José Graziano da Silva, the Director General of FAO, on this seventieth anniversary, reminded participants of the founders of the organization which on October 16 1945 “desired to unite Nations in order to free the world’s people from hunger.” He continued by outlining an encouraging picture of its achievements: “In these seventy years, the world’s population has tripled, and food production has increased by 40 percent. Now we have enough food to feed everyone. 73 countries out of the 128 monitored by the FAO have achieved the goal of cutting the number of undernourished people in the country by half. Success depends on governments, but also on each and every person’s individual contribution: do something yourself, for example eat moderately and healthily, reducing waste and helping others.”

A generation without hunger. Gentiloni and Martina both speak also of showing solidarity and cooperation towards fleeing migrants

Gentiloni launched a challenge: “Let us construct a new and great hope, a new and great utopia: to bring into being the first generation without hunger. Today 800 million people on our Planet are undernourished, and 160 million of them are children: as Pope Francis has said, these are not numbers, they are persons.” He also engaged movingly with the issue of migration… “When we speak of the battle against hunger and sustainable agriculture, we are also talking about migration… and Europe is on a threshold between closing itself inside its own egotism or opening itself to solidarity and cooperation. Don’t let’s sow the seeds of fear of migrants, let’s sow the seeds of sustainable agriculture, and work to develop the legacy of Expo.” Expo, an event which has shown itself capable of awakening the interest and the curiosity of millions of people, said Minister Martina before consigning the Milan Charter to Ban Ki-moon. “And today we are more aware than yesterday of the issues of food, thanks also to Expo, a laboratory of citizenship and collaboration, a space for global discussion, a container for over 7,000 events.” And he concluded, “We will do battle every day to ensure that the Expo generation becomes the zero hunger generation.”

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