16 October 2015

Remarks at opening ceremony for World Food Day at Milan Expo

Ban Ki-moon

I am honoured to join you as we mark World Food Day to end hunger.

The United Nations is deeply grateful to the Government of Italy for its commitment and support.

I was especially privileged yesterday to be part of the very meaningful 60th anniversary celebrations of Italy’s membership in the United Nations. I sincerely appreciate the many top Italian officials and lawmakers who marked this milestone.

I also thank the citizens of Milan and the organizers of Expo Milan 2015 for choosing the inspiring theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

Ladies and gentlemen.

Three weeks ago, world leaders adopted a new plan to achieve sustainable development over the next 15 years.

Agenda 2030 is ambitious and achievable. It is integrated and universal. It recognizes that poverty and hunger have complex and interconnected root causes.

We made our promise. Now it is time for action.

We will never realize our vision for sustainable development without rapid progress toward ending hunger and undernutrition. And to do that, we have to empower women, give young people opportunities and support smallholder farmers.

Social protection – our theme for this Day – reaches the most vulnerable. It prevents people from falling into extreme hardship. And it protects household food and nutrition security.

To end hunger for all people forever, we have to recognize the indivisibility of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. And we have to work across sectors to deliver on the totality of the 2030 Agenda.

People everywhere know that hunger cripples communities and compromises our future.

The SDGs reflect this awareness.

They underline the profound impact of how we chose to grow, process, distribute and consume food.

People, the planet and our future are all affected.

To achieve a life of dignity for all, we must end hunger and undernutrition.

To achieve zero hunger for all, we must pursue a broad agenda.

That is why all of the 17 SDGs are fully integrated.

We have to cut across traditional boundaries that separate ministries and portfolios.

We have to forge new partnerships and create better ways of working.

I thank the delegates from the Committee on Food Security for their participation today. The Committee’s members are creating new ways for many stakeholders to collaborate to end hunger.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Since we are in Italy, perhaps I should say a word about fashion.

Unfortunately none of my many briefing papers tell me anything about fashion today. My wife may be very disappointed that I do not ever change my style!

So it was quite strange when I was featured in the fashion magazine Vogue Italia about three years ago.

At that time, I had the chance to meet the editor, Franca Sozzani. She is now one of many goodwill ambassadors helping the United Nations to champion the fight against hunger.

I applaud these great advocates for the cause – especially those here today.

We need all partners in this campaign – fashion experts and diplomats, rock stars and athletes, global world leaders and city mayors. Most of all, we need local communities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Seven decades ago, countries established the Food and Agriculture Organization with a ringing promise of “ensuring humanity’s freedom from hunger.”

Today we continue to aim for the Zero Hunger Challenge I launched three years ago to keep this promise to our world.

The 2030 Agenda is our road map to success.

Hunger is more than a lack of food – it is a terrible injustice.

We are here today to pledge to achieve food security for all – to build a global movement to end hunger. This will go hand-in-hand with greater health, economic development and social inclusion for individuals and societies.

I count on you to capture the spirit of this Expo and continue the fight against hunger all year round.

Thank you for your leadership and your commitment.