Forum 2017

The eighth edition of the International Forum was held on December 4-5, 2017, at the Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan. Food security, climate change and migration, sustainable food systems at the national and urban level, and European agricultural reform were at the heart of discussions at the BCFN Forum 2017.
On December 4, new generations were given a voice, involving young leaders from all over the world in two initiatives aimed at recognizing excellence: the Food Sustainability Media Award, for professional journalists and emerging talent in journalism, and the BCFNYES! contest, designed to reward young researchers and the most deserving projects focusing on “food and sustainability”.
On December 5, leading speakers from around the world discussed in depth the main topics of the event and engaged the participants through working sessions, thereby encouraging their active involvement.

December 04, 2017

13:30 - 14:00



14:00 – 14:05

Our Vision on Sustainable Food Systems

Marta Antonelli
Research Programme Manager BCFN Foundation

14:05 - 14:35

Keynote. Know your goals: make your voice heard!

Jeffrey Sachs
University Professor, Columbia University; Director, SDSN; Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the SDGs


Moderator: Alex Thomson - Anchor and Chief Correspondent Channel 4 News, UK to moderate

14:35 – 15:55

BCFN YES! 2017 Final projects presentation

15:55 - 16:20



16:20 - 16:25

Opening Speech

Alessandro Galimberti
President, Journalists’ Guild, Region of Lombardy

16:25 - 17:30

Food and Sustainability under the spotlight - Best contributions and under reported stories

17:30 - 17:50

Award Ceremony

Danielle Nierenberg
Founder and President, Food Tank
Mario Calabresi
Editor-in-Chief, La Repubblica
Monique Villa
CEO Thomson Reuters Foundation

Workshop Area

16:20 - 17:50

Young researchers seeking for solutions - Parallel Team Working Sessions (upon invitation only)


Moderator: Oliver Oliveros - Deputy Director, Partnerships and international relations at Agropolis Foundation to moderate

17:50 - 18:20

A conversation with young leaders - Group Rapporteurs to debrief on youth’s working sessions

18:20 - 18:45

Roundtable discussion

Anne-Teresa Birthwright
2016 winning Project’s Progress
Elena Poverenov
Research Scientist, Institute of Postharvest and Food Sciences of Agricultural Organization of Israel
Shaneica Lester
2016 winning Project’s Progress
Siamak Sam Loni
Sustainable Development Solution Network SDSN Youth Global Coordinator

18:45 - 19:00

Award ceremony - Agropolis Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security

December 05, 2017

9:00 - 9:30


9:30 - 9:35

Plenary - Opening remarks

Alex Thomson
Anchor and Chief Correspondent Channel 4 News, UK to moderate


9:35 - 9:50

Keynote. Food solutions in the framework of the SDGs

Jeffrey Sachs
University Professor, Columbia University; Director, SDSN; Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the SDGs

09:50 - 10:05

Food sustainability Index: a wider perspective

Leo Abruzzese
Global Director of Public Policy, Economist Intelligence Unit


10:05 – 10:20

Why we should help refugees thrive, not just survive

Melissa Fleming
Head of Communications and Public Information - Chief Spokesperson at UNHCR


10:20 – 10:30

Why climate change vulnerability will drive human migration?

Monia Santini
Researcher Foundation Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change (CMCC)

10:30 – 10:45

Food & Migration in the Euro-Mediterranean: understanding the geopolitical nexus

Lucio Caracciolo
President and Head of Geopolitics, Macrogeo

10:45 - 10:55

The role of African CSOs for the implementation of Agenda 2030: The case of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

Million Belay
Founder of Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and Researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre

10:55 - 11:10

Getting to Zero Hunger in an uncertain world! What will it take?

Arif Husain
Chief Economist and Director of the Food Security Analysis and Trends Service, World Food Programme

11:10 - 11:30

Coffee Break


11:30 - 11:45

The Third Dimension: Technologies and Trends that will change the way we farm, eat and secure a future for all

Gunter Pauli
Founder and Chairman Zeri Foundation, Entrepreneur and writer

11:45 - 11:55

What is wrong with the current food system

Stefano Liberti
Author of “I signori del cibo”

11:55 - 12:05

Producing meat without animals

David Kay
Manager of Communications & Sustainability, Memphis Meat

12:05 - 12:15

Sustainable development: the proposal of the Italian Civil Society

Enrico Giovannini
Alleanza Italiana per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (ASviS) spokesperson, Professor of Economic Statistics, University of “Tor Vergata”

12:15 - 12:50

The value of food: inspiring a healthy and sustainable future - Interview by Gigi Padovani with:

Carlo Petrini
Founder and President, Slow Food International
Gigi Padovani
Journalist and writer
Guido Barilla
Chairman, Barilla Group and Barilla Foundation

12:50 - 13:10

Safe and healthy food in 2030: the road ahead - Interview with:

Vytenis Andriukaitis
EU Commissioner Health and Food Safety

13:10 - 14:15

Light Lunch and networking

13:30 - 14:15


Workshop Area

14:15 - 15:45


Climate change, food security and migrations. Which perspectives?

Workshop Contribution: How will climate change alter migration? The role of food, farming and livelihoods

Alex Randall
Project Manager, Climate Change and Mitigation Coalition

Climate change is set to alter patterns of migration and displacement. One of the key driving forces in this is food and farming. As climate change impacts rural and agricultural livelihoods, people will respond by moving. But instead of seeing migration only as a disaster, we should look to the positive ways in which migration can strengthen livelihoods and help people respond to the worst impacts of climate change. 

Workshop Contribution: Addressing climate change induced migration in East Africa

Eoin Wrenn
Head of Region, Horn and East Africa,Trocaire

Climate change, while a global phenomenon, is having disproportionate impacts on the poor and vulnerable in the developing world. In rural Kenya climate change is leaving local communities who depend on their natural resource base to survive extremely vulnerable and many have no option but to migrate to find alternative means of survival. However, we can give people alternative to migration by addressing the root causes of climate migration through ecosystems based adaptation. This begins with an understanding of the fact that the livelihoods of those who are most at risk from climate change depend on the natural resources in their localities. These natural resources are under threat from a range of factors, including climate change itself, but also factors such as natural resource exploitation, lack of livelihoods options and weak governance. We need to support vulnerable communities to restore the ecosystems in which they live so that they can enjoy more abundant livelihoods, within the constraints set by the changing climate.

Workshop Contribution: Philanthropic approaches to climate change and human mobility

John Slocum
Associate Senior Researcher, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs

Dr. Slocum will present an introduction to philanthropic efforts in support of research, policy, and practical interventions addressing climate-induced migration, forced displacement, and planned relocation—with a special emphasis on global policy initiatives.

Workshop Contribution: Geopolitics, food and migration

Lucio Caracciolo
President and Head of Geopolitics, Macrogeo

Lucio Caracciolo will present the research by the geopolitical analysis company MacroGeo with BCFN Foundation on “Food and migration”, exploring the geopolitical relevance of food and migration in the Mediterranean area, considered as the fault line between migratory flows coming from Sub-Saharan Africa and heading for Europe. 

This link between migration and food is investigated in the study by the main aspects that affect it, starting with geopolitical and economic contexts, demographic trends and the impact of climate change. These are all decisive push factors in migrations, a structural phenomenon in the world we inhabit and in which future generations will live. Every emergency-based approach to migratory flows is therefore destined to fail, if not proving to be counterproductive. In this perspective, it would be equally damaging to tackle the flows starting with purely national agendas that are aimed at unloading the problem onto weaker countries and/or those most exposed to these flows. Only a global strategy, guided by awareness that the migratory issue affects all humankind and is destined to profoundly influence our ecosystem, can allow a balanced and sustainable perspective.

Marta Antonelli
Research Programme Manager BCFN Foundation

Workshop Contribution: Climate Change and Human Migrations

Riccardo Valentini
Professor of Forest Ecology and Climate Policy, Università della Tuscia – Italy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Member, Nobel Prize for Peace 2007

Climate change is expected to affect food, water and land resources, favouring the migration of individuals and communities from the most vulnerable areas of the world as an opportunity to adapt. For a more comprehensive understanding of vulnerability, it becomes essential to improve our knowledge about the resources' exposure and sensitivity to climate change hazards, potentially affecting migrations and/or conflicts in all the interested countries. This intervention will present on a project carried out by BCFN and CMCC Foundation aimed at carrying out a spatially- and temporally-explicit analysis of the observed variability of exposure to climate hazards, in terms of weather conditions, agricultural yield and water availability in the trans-Mediterranean migrations' region, which recently deserved particular attention due to the variability of routes, people involved and issues triggered (institutional divergences, human rights, cultural diversities, social instabilities, employment conducts, health problems).

The Common Agricultural Policy as an opportunity for more sustainable food systems

Workshop contribution

Alexander Müller
TMG – Thinktank for Sustainability, and Study Lead for the TEEBAgriFood report

Alexander Müller will give a general introduction to CAP ("old" European policy, set up with an objective of food production, some reforms happened, today it has 2 pillars, the 2013 reform introduced some environmental aspects, huge budgetary impact, etc.). He will then focus on how general EU governance and topics (like Brexit, budgeting, etc.) interact with and influence CAP and what governance could support a policy shift.

Workshop contribution: Greening the CAP: current solutions and future perspectives

Danilo Bertoni
Researcher, University of Milan

Danilo Bertoni will give a panoramic overview on the current CAP policy instruments representing incentives to a more environmentally-friendly farming activity and present possible solutions for the near future. This includes environmental cross-compliance, greening payments and agri-environmental measures, and building on this potential solutions for the next CAP like contracts, greening reinforcement, fund allocation based on farm environmental indicators, etc.

Inga Wachsmann
Research Programme Manager, Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer, Spokesperson EFSAF – EFC

Workshop contribution: CAP as a food policy!

Michele Pedrotti
BCFN Researcher

Michele Pedrotti will present what it means to go from agricultural to food policies, describing the cross-sector approach of food policies. He will focus on the local approach, bringing the examples of some EU cities and showing how concrete actions can be implemented on local and European level.

Workshop contribution: Role that small farms can play for a more sustainable food systems in Europe and how the CAP can take them into account

Sophie Thoyer
Professor of Environmental and Agricultural Economics, Montpellier SupAgro

Sophie Thoyer will outline the debate over the type of farming that we want to promote collectively. She will discuss how “small farms” can contribute to environmental and social services, occupying non non negligible parts of arable land in fragile areas, and providing jobs while contributing often to innovative food systems. Based on research in France, she will highlight the heterogeneity of small farms and analyse how CAP and national agricultural policies could be redesigned to support small farms in providing the public goods they already deliver.

Workshop contribution: The Young Farmers and New Entrants’ role in the diversification and sustainability in the supply chain

Tomáš Ignác Fénix
Vice President CEJA

Tomás Ignác Fénix will focus in the future generations and new entrants.

Food Systems and Health: which challenges and impacts for Change

Workshop Contribution: Diet and Inflammation: Possible Effects on Immunity, Chronic Diseases, and Life Span

Camillo Ricordi
Professor and Director, Diabetes Research Institute and Cell Transplant Center, University of Miami

The Double Pyramid is an important starting point with a very generic message and how we need to move to more in depth themes and challenges that will affect health and disease epidemics.

Chronic inflammation negatively impacts all physiological functions, causing an array of degenerative conditions including diabetes; cancer; cardiovascular, osteo-articular, and neurodegenerative diseases; autoimmunity disorders; and aging. In particular, there is a growing knowledge of the role that gene transcription factors play in the inflammatory process. Obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes represent multifactorial conditions resulting from improper balances of hormones and gene expression. In addition, these conditions have a strong inflammatory component that can potentially be impacted by the diet. It can reduce pro-inflammatory eicosanoids that can alter hormonal signaling cascades to the modulation of the innate immune system and gene transcription factors. Working knowledge of the impact of how nutrients, especially dietary fatty acids and polyphenols, can impact these various molecular targets makes it possible to develop a general outline of an anti-inflammatory diet that offers a unique, nonpharmacological approach in treating obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Several important bioactive dietary components can exert their effect through selected inflammatory pathways that can affect metabolic and genetic changes. In fact, dietary components that can modulate glucose and insulin levels, as well as any other mediator that can activate nuclear factor-kB, can also trigger inflammation through common pathway master switches.

Workshop Contribution: The value of food in relation to health and environment

Gabriele Riccardi
BCFN Advisor, Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, University of Naples “Federico II”; President, Italian Society of Diabetology - SID; Member

Dr Riccardi will talk about the Mediterranean diet and the Double Pyramid, with specific reference to the obesogenic environment and its impacts social and health care, its causes and strategies to fight the obesity epidemic.

Workshop Contribution: Nutritional Challenges in Asia: Food Accessibility or Food Resilience?

Jeyakumar Henry
Director, Clinical Nutrition Sciences, A Star, Singapore

Asia is in the midst of a pandemic in Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Of the 450 million Type 2 diabetics diagnosed worldwide, approximately 50% live in this region. Food has now become the new medicine. The discovery of vitamin in 1914 is conventionally viewed as the date of inception of the science of nutrition. During the intervening decades, numerous advances in nutrition have enabled us to understand the role of food on health. The high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in Asians has been partly ascribed to the high carbohydrate (CHO) and high Glycaemic content of their diets. Glycaemic index (GI) is a measure of the glucose response to carbohydrate.   High GI foods are those that increase blood glucose rapidly and low GI foods are those that produce a modest increase in blood glucose.  The regular consumption of high GI foods has been implicated in the aetiology of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Recent evidence also suggests that Asians are susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes due to their phenotype. An increasing body of evidence has emerged on how food and food ingredients may be used to manage and treat Type2 diabetes and chronic diseases.  

The concept of “Food the new medicine” is the merger of two scientific values -namely food and health. Functional foods may be defined as “Food Similar in appearance to conventional food, consumed as part of the usual diet, with demonstrated physiological benefits, and / or to reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions”. Today we are at a new frontier in nutritional science. We are moving away from “adequate nutrition” to “optimal nutrition”. It is our understanding of food accessibility and food resilience that will make a difference in reducing diet related chronic diseases. Using case examples, the presentation will highlight how nutrition can play a major role in combatting the pandemic of type 2 diabetes in Asia.

Katarzyna Dembska
BCFN Researcher
Olivia Yambi
Co-Chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food)

The Food Sustainability Index: The Mediterranean Area – Exchange of Knowledge and Solutions

Working contribution: Fronting up to realities: shining a spotlight on a country’s sustainable food systems

Dan Crossley
Executive Director at Food Ethics Council

Dan will argue that we need to drive a ‘race to the top’ on food sustainability. He will describe how the FSI can support deeper analysis of food sustainability at a country level - using the Food Ethics Council’s UK work as an example. He will highlight how the FSI can highlight common challenges across regions (including the Mediterranean region) and the importance of collaboration on many common issues. He will also call for the need for tailored, culturally-sensitive local solutions - that will work slightly differently in different countries. He will conclude that countries should push for leadership, including taking responsibility for food sustainability impacts beyond their own borders.

Working contribution

Leo Abruzzese
Global Director of Public Policy, Economist Intelligence Unit

- Key findings and conclusions from the latest index, with a focus on the Mediterranean area
- Discussion of best practices for food sustainability that emerge from the analysis
- How the tool can be used by researchers and policymakers in the region to best effect 
- Brief discussion of revisions to the methodology. 

Working contribution: Strategies towards equilibrium of the food system in Egypt

Mohamed El-Shinawi
Professor of General Surgery-Ain Shams University. Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Egypt. Co-Chair of PRIMA

The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation issued a ' Sustainable Agricultural development Strategy towards 2030', which aims to enhance Egyptian agriculture based on achieving food security and improving the livelihood of the rural inhabitants, through the efficient use of resources. A mega project has been initiated; “ 4 million acres development project” in an attempt to build resilient, integrated agrihoods to green the deserts of Egypt as an approach towards reaching balance between the demand and supply and boosting the food sustainability in Egypt.

Stefano Zamagni
Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University, SAIS Europe and Member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

Urban Sustainable Food Systems: Exchange of Knowledge and Solutions in the Mediterranean Area

Workshop contribution: Improving urban food systems through an integrated approach: The case of Milan and the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

Franca Roiatti
Responsible for the communication of the Milan’s food policy and the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

In this presentation the double track of the process Milan started in 2015 will be presented: it acts on the local level by adopting the Milan’s Food Policy and at the international level by launching the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, that has been signed by 159 cities so far. At local level the work is focused on procurement, healthy diets (in schools) and food waste. At the international level the Pact has promoted many relations among cities (although beyond the Mediterranean area).

Francesca Allievi
BCFN Researcher

Workshop contribution: Sustainable Urbanization: Towards Strong Rural-Urban Food Systems Linkages

Lara Hanna-Wakim
Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Lebanon

Sustainable urbanization depends on rural areas, and on people who live and work for different services namely food, agricultural products, labor, ecosystem, etc. Cities can be important actors in the creation of urban agricultural initiatives which can reduce pollution, wasteful overconsumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, the relationship between urban and rural spaces, peoples and environments is vital. However, the question remains concerning the ability of urban area to maximize the potential benefits, employment and poverty reducing opportunities. Addressing such constraints partly depends on strengthening rural-urban connectivity.

Workshop contribution: Food security and nutrition in an urbanized world. FAO’s approach and initiatives.

Michela Carucci
Consultant, Urban Food Systems, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

The presentation will address global facts and trends on urbanization, urban poverty and food security, with a focus on West Africa and the Mediterranean region. It will cover challenges and opportunities related to current rural transformation and urbanization trends for food security an nutrition presenting some key findings from the recent 2017 State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA). Afterwards, the presentation will cover FAO’s approach on those issues. This will include five parts: a) awareness raising and partnerships with local authorities; b) evidence generation (food systems assessment); c) capacity building to spark innovative actions; d) policy and planning support; e) knowledge sharing and city to city cooperation activities. Some examples of key activities/initiatives will be addressed and explained (e.g. Food for the Cities Programme, Milan Urban Food Policy Pact Indicators Framework).

Workshop contribution: C40 Food Systems Network: supporting cities' food policies that reduce GHG emissions and deliver health outcomes

Stefania Amato
Food Systems Network Manager presso C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

The speaker will present the work of C40 on food plus the objectives and sample actions that the member cities are delivering to build more sustainable urban food systems

Tim Lang
Professor of Food Policy, Centre for Food Policy, University of London

Research and Innovation in Food Systems

Barbara Buchner
Executive Director, Climate Finance - Climate Policy Initiative
Bina Agarwal
Professor of Development Economics and Environment - University of Manchester
Elena Poverenov
Research Scientist, Institute of Postharvest and Food Sciences of Agricultural Organization of Israel
Filippo Maria Bassi
Durum wheat breeder, ICARDA, Morocco, winner, Olam Prize 2017
Paul Gepts
Distinguished professor of the University of California-Davis, California
Paul Kosuth
Director, Agropolis Fondation
Touhami Khorchani
Professor Director, Institut des Régions Arides - Tunisia

15:45 - 16:10



16:10 - 16:40

BCFN YES! Award Ceremony

Ellen Gustafson
Author & Co-Director of the Summit Institute

16:40 - 16:50

Key learnings: Inspiring our path

Barbara Buchner
Executive Director, Climate Finance - Climate Policy Initiative

16:50 - 17:10

Closing Remarks

Bob Geldof
Musician and Activist, Founder Band Aid and Live Aid
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