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Event – Launch of “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2019” report

Statement delivered by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Launch of “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2019” report. —


I would like to add some national remarks because Italy is the proud host country of FAO, IFAD and WFP, which together constitute the agro-food Pole of the United Nations system. This attests to Italy’s tradition of attention to food security issues, which are mainstreamed in our foreign policy and reflected in our important contribution to all UN activities, from humanitarian intervention to sustainable development cooperation.

The launch of the “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 (SOFI)” is a timely wake-up call. This report shows that the challenge toward zero hunger is even greater than expected.

In this context of uneven access to nutrition, Italy commends the recent approval of the FAO theme for the 2019-2021, “Promoting healthy diets and preventing all forms of malnutrition,” which will complement the activities of the follow-up to the International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) and the UN Nutrition Decade of Action on Nutrition.

The promotion of healthy diets and nutrition education on an evidence-based approach must be a cornerstone of the achievement of both SDG 2 – zero hunger – and SDG 3 – global health and wellbeing.

In our view, healthy diets depend on sustainable agriculture and sustainable food systems that are respectful of local culture and traditions. The right to food cannot be decoupled from food culture.

Italy places a special emphasis on promoting and preserving traditional healthy diets, food diversity, and healthy eating habits and lifestyles, in the conviction that food culture is a key component of cultural identity and heritage.

In this light, Italy was among the promoters of the inscription of the Mediterranean diet on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, highlighting the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet on environmental conservation and biodiversity, health, longevity, and lower rates of obesity.

In closing, “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 (SOFI)” highlights once again the urgency of renewed ambition for the achievement of Zero Hunger and Italy certainly renews its commitment today.