The private sector has a crucial role to play in ensuring healthy food for all


June 17, 2021, Rome – The private sector can be a crucial ally in global efforts to make agrifood systems more resilient, sustainable, efficient and inclusive to ensure healthy diets for all.

This was a key element of the B20-G20-FAO Dialogue on a Sustainable Food System, a joint initiative co-organized by the Company 20 (B20) Italy, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Italian presidency of the G20.

In his welcome address, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu stressed the importance of valuing and safeguarding local food production and traditional healthy diets. They are essential for advancing efforts towards agrifood systems that respect the environment, culture and human well-being, he noted.

As examples of healthy and traditional diets, Qu cited the Mediterranean diet, which involves high intakes of various vegetables, fruits, legumes, herbs and olive oil, as well as Roman, Egyptian, Greek, Chinese and Indian food culture. with more than 3000 years. Of the history.

Dietary diversity comes from biodiversity, he stressed, therefore protecting biodiversity, culture and food traditions is essential to ensure healthy diets. The Director-General also underlined FAO’s technical support to the G20 as well as the excellent cooperation with Italy in this framework and beyond.

Speaking at the event, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio called on world leaders to urgently address all inefficiencies and bottlenecks on the way to ” sustainable food production. Fostering an inclusive dialogue with other stakeholders, including universities, the private sector and professional associations, will be essential to move forward, he added. Di Maio stressed that Italy is traditionally a key player in the multilateral food and nutrition arena and is ready to make proposals to the United Nations food systems. Pre-Summit in Rome this July 26-28 as a complementary vision between local and global food systems.

For her part, the president of the B20 Emma Marcegaglia assured that with governments and international organizations, companies are on the front line to guarantee healthy and sustainable food chains.

Ivano Vacondio, president of Federalimentare – an Italian federation of the food industry – echoed his remarks stressing that companies must join efforts to solve problems related to food security and nutrition and work closely with the COVID-19 Food Coalition. Launched by the Italian government and led by the FAO, the coalition is a multi-stakeholder and multi-sector mechanism that aims to mobilize political, financial and technical assistance to support countries affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero said we are at a critical juncture as COVID-19 has exacerbated the pre-existing drivers of fragility, inequalities and structural vulnerabilities exposed. With increasing hunger, extreme poverty, malnutrition and environmental stress, the private sector, as well as the public sector, universities and civil society are key players in agrifood systems. He stressed the need to unite efforts to optimize the use of natural resources and increase access to healthy food for all.

Closing the meeting, FAO Assistant Director-General Maurizio Martina highlighted the key factors for a strong partnership between public institutions and the private sector, including dissemination of technology and innovation, access reliable data, renewed investment in human capital and an open market based on the principles of fair trade. He also stressed that the resilience of food systems must be increased to minimize risks by strengthening investments and capacities to prevent emergencies.

Other participants included Barbara Beltrame Giacomello, Vice President of Confindustria and Chair of the B20 Trade and Investment Working Group; Paola Leoncini-Bartoli, Director of Cultural Policies and Development, UNESCO; and Ramon Estruch Riba, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Barcelona.

About the B20-G20-FAO dialogue

The Dialogue aimed to raise awareness of food and nutrition issues and the environmental, social and economic sustainability of food systems in preparation for the United Nations Pre-Summit on Food Systems. The event is intended as a contribution to the meeting of G20 foreign ministers to be held in Matera on June 29, where they will assess, among other things, the results and guidance on food security.

This year, the Dialogue focused on topics such as trade and investment, energy and resource efficiency, digital transformation, sustainability and global emergencies, health and life sciences, between other.

Business 20 (B20) is a place of dialogue between the G20 and the global business community. Created in 2010, it is reserved for the private sector and its representatives.

The B20 is made up on average of more than 1,000 delegates from G20 countries, including senior executives from major multinational companies. It has approximately 2,000 participants representing a global business community of over 6.5 million companies.

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