16 Oct 2015


New approaches like the BCFN Youth Manifesto are needed “Concrete proposals to solve the paradoxes by the young authors of the Milan Protocol”.

 “It’s a paradox that the fate of the planet has always been discussed and assessed by just a small group of leaders who have accepted at least, if not contributed to, the serious non-sustainability that is now threatening our future”, stated Paolo Barilla, Vice President of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation. On the occasion of World Food Day, which is being celebrated at Expo with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the BCFN reports how discussions on the future of the agri-food system are still too restricted to certain circles, without letting citizens and young people especially, have their say.

“Doesn’t this topic concern young people the most, since they more than us will be living on the planet and handing it over in turn to the coming generations? Yet, the impression is that they are almost being left out of discussions and above all decisions”

The decision to give voice to the opinions of young people lies behind the work of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation: in 2014, this joint effort gave rise to the Milan Protocol, the document that inspired the Milan Charter; this September, the same young researchers – coming from all over the world – produced the Youth Manifesto, a document containing practical proposals on how to solve the paradoxes of the agri-food sector. “We brought together more than 80 researchers from all over the world, with whom we have been working on food sustainability issues for some time already, asking them to express their point of view on food and nutrition with concrete ideas and projects. The result was the Youth Manifesto, a document containing concrete proposals for the seven key “roles” in the food system: policymakers, farmers, activists, educators, the food industry, journalists and researchers. No general guidelines, but concrete action, such as making it mandatory to teach about the relationship that connects food, people, health and the planet in schools around the world”.

“We now intend to take the Youth Manifesto to a higher level of attention – Paolo Barilla continued – For this reason it has been sent to the Coordination Board of the Milan Charter requesting that it become an attachment to the Charter. The Expo in Milan was an extraordinary opportunity to focus the attention of people and the institutions on the pressing paradoxes of the food system. Now it is necessary to move on to concrete solutions: it is not admissible to waste this enormous opportunity by simply limiting ourselves to principles and good proposals. This is the only way of successfully fighting the battle against hunger, obesity, food waste and the exploitation of the Earth”.

The United Nations has recently drawn up new goals for the world, rightly calling them “Sustainable Development Goals”, because there can be no development without sustainability – concluded Paolo BarillaThe young BCFN researchers made an active contribution and declared their responsibility for the future, when they will be the leaders. These proposals can now be used as a starting point to truly correct the imbalances and distortions that are affecting the planet and the life of every one of us. Perhaps because we are all to some extent jointly responsible for the present-day serious emergencies, young people, with their ideas and passion for the future, are the ones who can show us how to really change”.

To read the Manifesto: https://www.barillacfn.com/en/dissemination/youth_manifesto/

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