U.N. Chief Presented with Charter of Milan on Right to Food

Oct 19 2015 - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chose the Italian city of Milan, home to Expo 2015, to commemorate World Food Day last week.

At a ceremony here, he received what is considered to be part of the legacy of Expo 2015 to the debate on sustainable development: the Charter of Milan spelling out the right to food and water and the conservation of resources. The charter was put together during the last six months of Expo and signed by more than one million people, including heads of state who visited Expo, whose theme is: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.

A second document presented to Ban, “Urban food policy pact“, aims at helping shape sustainable cities, with a particular focus on climate change. The covenant has been signed by the mayors of 103 cities representing some 400 million citizens and is particularly relevant considering the fact that by 2050, 70% of the world ‘s population will live in cities.

On October 16, Ban joined the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Jose Graziano da Silva to mark the 70th anniversary of the Rome-based agency sending a powerful message to the world: “we can end hunger in our lifetime”.

The theme of this year’s World Food Day was: “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty“, which underlines the crucial role of investments and finance to help small holders improve productivity and resiliency.

“Production and economic growth alone do not solve the problem, if the hungry remain excluded. Increasing the power of the very poor to buy food offers an affordable key to hunger eradication”, remarked Graziano da Silva, as he explained that farmers are the greatest source of investment in agriculture, more than governments or agencies.

Just three weeks after the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in New York, the international community is stressing Goal number two, namely zero hunger, although all of the 17 SDGs are fully integrated: “Agriculture is essential to progress across the goals”, Ban explained.

The 2030 agenda is ambitious and requires considerable resources in order to be implemented. Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) stressed the need for organisations like WFP to be able to count on stable and long term financial support to carry out aid programmes.

Ban also sent a clear message: “I ask leaders how they can explain having enough money to destroy people and the planet instead of protecting them”.

In its website, Expo 2015 says; “Every day, we encounter ideas that might affect us, might enhance our knowledge, and improve our lives. These could arise from education, the cinema, from research and innovation, and from digital technology, to name but a few.”

“Expo Milano 2015 is promoting a number of projects, in the belief that the theme, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” touches the lives of all of us, each and every day.” The exhibition ends October 31.


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