Young people from around the globe will be tasked with giving a key contribution to shape the future of agri-food systems at the World Food Forum, a youth-led movement that holds its first flagship event virtually from Rome today (Friday, October 1).

The online event, which runs until October 5, aims to “harness the energy and creativity of younger generations to transform food and agriculture”, and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 2 – ‘No hunger’.

It represents the “first major follow-up” to the UN Food Systems Summit in New York – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other Rome-based UN agencies “will continue to implement ambitious and urgent efforts designed to make the world’s agri-food systems more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable”.

President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada is due to deliver the opening remarks, followed by a special address from Pope Francis.

The five-day World Food Forum will feature youth leaders from the world of farming and beyond, who will be joined by influencers, celebrities, business and civil society leaders.

Shaping tomorrow’s food

“Climate change, ongoing conflicts, economic downturns and the Covid-19 pandemic are among the leading causes of an increase in the number of hungry people, which last year exceeded 810 million,” FAO director-general QU Dongyu said

“The younger generations are the ones that will be left having to deal with such challenges, but they are also the ones better placed to come up with the solutions.

“The future belongs to youth, and they have the fresh perspectives, forward-thinking mindsets and digital fluency to incite widespread and sustainable change. They also have the numbers to get things done.”