Under the theme “Our actions are our future,” World Food Day 2018 brought into focus the ability to take control of humanity’s collective future by working together for a hunger-free world.
World Food Day has been commemorated every year on 16 October – the day on which FAO was established in 1945. Around the world, organizations and groups use the occasion to host a broad range of themed public events.
Here are a few that happened this week across the Europe and Central Asia region.
Armenia: The first event in a week-long program celebrating World Food Day had a truly festive feel. The 16 October event was co-organized with the World Food Programme and hosted at Secondary School No. 1 in Vedi. Highlights included Armenian national dance and singing performances, a children’s drawing contest dedicated to Zero Hunger, a cooking master class taught by a prestigious cook, and various educational games for the elementary classes. On 18 October, students of the Agrarian University in Echmiadzin visited some FAO-initiated projects. The main event, a panel discussion that took place on 19 October, included a contribution from Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative in Armenia, on “Zero Hunger – Sustainable food and agriculture in Armenia.” Jehle and Armenia’s minister of agriculture held a joint press conference, and Jehle was also a guest on the phone-in program “Consumer’s hour,” hosted live on Public Radio of Armenia, one of the most popular radio stations in the country.
Austria: This year, the United Nations Information Service in Vienna screened the British-Norwegian film “Thank you for the Rain,” winner of the FAO Osiris prize in the 2017 International Agrofilm Festival. A panel discussion followed, with FAO represented by the region’s senior communications officer, Sharon Lee Cowan. While in Vienna, Cowan also gave a radio interview to FM4 covering the subject of climate change, amongst others.
Belgium: Together with the European Parliament, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation staged a debate in Brussels on research and innovation for a Zero Hunger world. From FAO, Nevena Alexandrova-Stefanova, agricultural innovation systems and knowledge-sharing officer, participated with a captivating presentation on agricultural innovations for our Zero Hunger future.
Croatia: The Croatian Food Agency, together with FAO, organized a conference in Osijek under the slogan “Save the Food” on 16 October. The theme for the meeting was the current state of the donation system in Croatia, along with challenges and perspectives. Myriam Annette, speaking on behalf of the Organization, introduced FAO’s global initiative on food loss and waste reduction.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: “School Garden for a #ZeroHunger Future – Together we can build the #ZeroHunger Generation!” was the name of the event hosted for children at a school in Skopje on 16 October. A packed programme included a short lecture to children based on FAO’s World Food Day 2018 activity book, a presentation of the video animation “Together we can get to #ZeroHunger,” a children’s poster-drawing activity, and a visit to the school garden. Collaboration among the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy; the Ministry of Education; civil society; and FAO contributed to the success of the event.
Georgia: On 18 October, FAO, together with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, organized an event in Tbilisi that included the presentation of FAO’s work, including the National Animal Identification and Traceability System and activities for sustainable wildlife management. A video screening on creating street art for the system’s information campaign followed.
Hungary: In Budapest, heavy vehicles loaded with 30 tonnes of food donations from 21 Hungarian and international private companies parked on the capital’s Heroes’ Square. The spectacle unfolded as a press conference on the steps of the Műcsarnok Museum was concluding. This was the 13th World Food Day convoy, staged along with the Hungarian Food Bank Association. Also in central Budapest, prominently displayed World Food Day billboards were seen at several large stations on the city’s public transport network. Outside of Budapest, in Miskolc, the city’s university celebrated World Food Day with a campaign to collect food for the needy. During the previous weekend, FAO staff boosted the Organization’s visibility by running at the 33rd Spar Marathon.
Russian Federation: In Moscow, MGIMO University and FAO hosted a meeting at the university’s campus on 16 October. Speakers from several important bodies in the Russian Federation were invited, including the Federation Council (the upper chamber of the Russian parliament), the ministries of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Higher School of Economics, and the United Nations Information Centre.
Serbia: In Belgrade between 15 and 17 October, a symposium covering food systems and healthy diets took place. The event was organized in partnership with the Capacity Development Network in Nutrition in Central and Eastern Europe. Participants from many European countries attended and gave presentations at the meeting. FAO’s Aniko Nemeth delivered the keynote speech on achieving Zero Hunger by addressing the triple burden of malnutrition.
Tajikistan: The focus of many World Food Day events in Tajikistan was on the younger generation. On 16 October, in Dushanbe Botanical Park, a ceremony was held to award the winners of a children’s national painting contest. The event featured performances of dancing and singing by children from vulnerable communities as well as interactive games and quizzes. On 17 October, the Puppet Theatre Lukhtak put on a puppet show to which children with disabilities were invited to attend. A public discussion with students from the Agrarian University of Tajikistan was organized together with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Food Security Committee, the Academy of Agricultural Science, and the World Food Programme. The event discussed the causes leading to the increasing rate of hunger around the world, among other topics. In addition, a press conference for national media, and the appearance of FAO Representative Oleg Guchgeldiyev in a TV programme on food safety, food waste and other vital issues enhanced the media visibility of World Food Day.
Turkey: In Adana on 12 October, the Adana Food Festival, staged by the Governate of Adana Ministry of Culture and Tourism, featured World Food Day. Viorel Gutu, FAO’s Representative in Turkey and Uzbekistan, delivered the opening speech. On World Food Day itself, for the youth audience in Istanbul, a panel was hosted at the Hayriye Duruk Anatolian Vocational and Technical High School, with Gutu providing opening remarks and Aysegul Selisik, the Assistant FAO Representative for Turkey, delivering a presentation. The event was organized together with the Turkish Food Industry Employers’ Association and Duruk Holding. The main World Food Day meeting in Istanbul this year took place on 17 October in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Sustainability Academy. On the agenda were speeches and presentations from Gutu, Bekir Pakdemirli (Turkey’s minister of Agriculture and Forestry), Necdet Buzbas (head of the Turkish Food & Beverage Industry Association) and Selisik. On 18 October, the Turkish Jockey Club held its traditional World Food Day horse race in Ankara.
Ukraine: On 4 September, the World Food Day celebrations kicked off early with a roundtable in Kyiv titled “Our future in our hands: What we can do together to reach #ZeroHunger?” Participants – including representatives of the state sector, international organizations, business and science – discussed their activities and plans for ensuring food security in Ukraine. The event was organized by the Ministry of Food and Agrarian Policy of Ukraine, Agrogeneration Ltd., and the national agro conference AGROPORT, in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agrarian Policy of Ukraine and Kharkiv Regional State Administration. Finally, during mid-October, a photo exhibition titled “#ZeroHunger is reachable” took place near the entrances of three central stations in Kyiv, facilitated by the city administration.