World Food Day: A Look Back and a Look Ahead
By Katlyn Manka
Planet Forward Intern/Marymount University
Friday marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO). Founded Oct. 16, 1945, as an agency of the UN specializing in food and agriculture, “fiat panis,” or “let there be bread,” is a fitting motto. The UN-FAO continues to lead agricultural innovation with the goal of eliminating world hunger and food shortages.
The organization didn’t designate an official anniversary event until 1979, and Oct. 16 has been celebrated as World Food Day ever since. According to the fao.org page, World Food Day is meant to draw awareness to hunger in the world, encourage cooperation between developing countries, promote new technology in the developing world and spur international cooperation in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
This year, World Food Day will focus strongly on the theme of social protection as applied to rural poverty. In honor of the anniversary, the official ceremony will commemorate the UN-FAO’s 70 years of activism and address the 2015 World Food Day theme as well as the specific UN Expo theme, “The Zero Hunger Challenge: United for a sustainable world.”
Friday’s World Food Day celebration is expected to be the largest expo event to date. The 2015 World Exposition in Milan opened in May and closes at the end of October.