Symposium on The Future of Food

  • 11th June 2019
  • by secretary

10-11 June 2019. While undernutrition persists, we are witnessing an unprecedented rise in obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases, including in low- and middle-income countries. What is wrong with our food systems? How will we feed a growing and urbanizing world population with natural resources that are limited and are being depleted?

FAO convened a 2-day symposium on The Future of Food, brought together academics, researchers, policymakers, representatives from civil society and private sector, parliamentarians and government agencies to discuss these questions (and many more) and to explore pathways to a sustainable future of food and healthy diets for all.

Extracts of the programme:

10 June 2019
Seminar on Microbiome discoveries

  • A seminar presented by Rob Knight, Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering, Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego, (USA)

Panel 1: Research, Knowledge Gaps and Needs for Sustainable Foood Systems and Healthy Diets 

Large data gaps persist regarding exactly what people eat and drink. Therefore, improving the quality and quantity of data on food intake among different categories of the population is a priority.

“There’s a causal relationship of ultra-processed foods on
weight and NCDs. We have to discuss about under researched
areas with potential impact for low and middle income countries”.

  • Keynote: Corinna Hawkes, Director of the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London
  • Marcela Villarreal, Director, Partnerships Division, FAO 
  • Rob Knight, Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering, Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego, USA 
  • Carlos Monteiro (see picture), Professor of Nutrition and Public Health, University of São Paulo 
  • Sara Roversi, Founder, Future of Food Institute 
  • Grace Marquis, Associate Professor, School of Human Nutrition, McGill University, Canada

11 June 2019
Panel 2: Governance of food systems

This session will examine mechanisms that already exist or can be put in place to ensure that governments, private sector and civil society hold themselves accountable for the quality and effectiveness of food system policy, action and investment including the measurement of their impact.
  • Keynote: Senator Guido Girardi, author of the Chilean Nutritional Labelling and Advertising Law, Senate of the Republic of Chile
  •  Patrick Mink, Co-Chair of the Multistakeholder Advisory Committee of the One Planet (10YFP) Sustainable Food Systems Programme, Switzerland 
  • Mariam Harib Sultan Al Yousuf, Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority 
  • Rickard Bjerselius, Head of Team Risk-Benefit Management And Environment, Swedish National Food Agency 
  • Visith Chavasit, Professor, Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, Thailand 
  • Stefano Prato, Managing Director and Editor, Society for International Development
The growing gap between the point of production and consumption has led to a decline in consumer trust in food and a desire for increased regulation. As people lose the connection with farmers, they lose the valuable relationships that offer a connection to their food. This session will explore how to build consumer confidence in food systems.

  • Keynote: Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of “Food Politics”
  • Tim Lobstein, Director of Policy, World Obesity Federation 
  • Simona Castaldi, Research Project Manager, Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition 
  • Amos Laar, Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana 
  • Justin Macmullan, Advocacy Director, Management Team Member, Consumers International 
  • Sharada Keats, Senior Associate, Policy and Advocacy, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
In the quest for healthy diets, the Mediterranean Diet represents a dietary pattern to learn from in terms of sustainable production and consumption. This session’s discussions will revolve around how to preserve the principles of the Mediterranean Diet as an intangible food systems heritage, and how to ensure this heritage is preserved by current and future generations.
  • Keynote: Farah Naja, Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet: from Analysis to Food Systems Intervention 
  • Plácido Plaza, Secretary General of CIHEAM 
  • Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General (video message) 
  • Gaetana Ferri, Director General for Food Hygiene, Safety and Nutrition, Ministry of Health, Italy 
The private sector – in all segments of the food system, and of all sizes – is an important stakeholder in supporting healthy food environments. Governments have a key role to play in setting appropriate standards and guidelines, and in creating an environment that provides incentives to the private sector to make nutrient-rich, safe and affordable foods more accessible. Civil society and academia also contribute importantly by raising consumer awareness, transmitting knowledge and changing dominant food cultural and social norms towards healthy eating by making, for example, some foods more socially desirable.

  • Keynote: Jessica Fanzo, Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor, Director of Global Food Ethics and Policy Program, John Hopkins University, US
  • Tom Arnold, Chair of Task Force on Rural Africa established by the European Commission 
  • Luigi Scordamaglia, Managing Director of INALCA and President of Filiera Italia 
  • Bela Gil, Chef, Author, TV show host and Food Activist 
  • Alison Cairns, Director, Food Systems Transformation, World Business Council for Sustainable Development 
  • David Salt, Professor of Genome Enabled Biology, University of Nottingham, UK 
  • Boyd Swinburn, Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health, University of Auckland