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Why young people are key in creating sustainable food systems and brands

Article-Why young people are key in creating sustainable food systems and brands

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Global youth have a key role to play in accelerating the sustainable transformation of agrifood systems and inspiring climate action, according to the World Food Forum, an FAO-supported global youth-led network.

Expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, the global population is growing at a rapid rate. To feed the next generation, food production will need to increase by as much as 60%, the United Nations (UN) predicts.

Current agrifood systems are highly unsustainable. Food production is a major contributor to climate change and biodiversity loss, accounting for almost one third of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of the world’s water use, and 90% of global deforestation. At the same time, up to 40% of all food produced worldwide is wasted or lost.

Inspiring youth action can boost agrifood system resilience and efficacy

Ensuring that the population’s nutritional needs are met without destroying the planet is one of the greatest challenges of our time.

Improving the resilience, efficiency, sustainability, and equity of agrifood systems is key in mitigating climate change, restoring the natural world, and increasing access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food for all. Achieving this will require cross-sector collaboration from diverse stakeholders across the global agrifood value chain, particularly younger generations.

The future of our agrifood systems and the health of our planet depend on our ability to work together across generations. We need young people, who will inherit the world we leave behind, to be actively involved in shaping the present and future of food and agriculture,” said Kazuki Kitaoka, global coordinator at the World Food Forum (WFF), an independent global youth-led network facilitated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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The future of food lies in the next generation of young people

Close to 2 billion people in the world today are aged between 10 and 24, representing the largest cohort of young people in history to date. This population is predicted to grow at an increasing rate over the coming years, with almost 2 billion youths expected to turn 15 by the end of the decade, according to the UN. 

In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end world hunger, promote sustainable agriculture, and build a better future for all by 2030, the global youth have a critical role to play in driving and implementing sustainable practices for current and future generations.

We believe that young people are not only the future of our agrifood systems but also the driving force behind the change we need to see today. Youth bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a sense of urgency to address the challenges facing our agrifood systems, such as climate change, food insecurity and malnutrition,” Kitaoka said.

Crafting a more sustainable food system to build a better world for all

The World Food Forum is hosting its annual flagship event, live in Rome and online, from 16 to 20 October 2023. This year’s edition will unite industry experts, changemakers, and pioneers from across the global of all ages around the theme: “Agrifood systems transformation accelerates climate action”.

Featuring thought-provoking discussions and debates, interactive workshops and demonstrations, sessions with industry experts, and much more, the WFF will equip attendees with the specialist knowledge, tools, and connections needed to accelerate agrifood system change and climate action in their own communities and spheres of influences.

By involving young people in decision-making processes, we can ensure that our actions are responsive to their needs and aspirations,” Kitaoka said.

Over five-days, attendees will be engaged in educational and inspiring conversations around four thematic tracks, including Youth Action, Innovation, Education, and Culture. The events attendees can participate in will range from scientific round table discussions to film festivals, policy debates, startup innovation pitches, and beyond.

Register now to play your part in building a healthier, more sustainable, and more efficient agrifood system for all.