This trend is set to continue – and may even worsen – unless we take action.
That is why the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN Foundation) has put forward a proposal for a global food deal. We have dubbed it the “Milan Protocol”, a reminder of the inspiring effort that brought world leaders to sign the Kyoto Protocol to safeguard the Planet’s environment. Ahead of Expo 2015, when world leaders will converge on Milan to talk about food and sustainability, we have a great opportunity to tackle the urgent issues we face.
The BCFN Foundation has laid out such issues as three global food paradoxes:
- Hunger and Obesity: today, for every malnourished person, two are obese or overweight: 868 million people are undernourished globally, while 1.5 billion people are obese or overweight. As a result, about 36 million people perish every year due to undernourishment and famine, while almost as many die from diseases related to eating too much.
- Feeding Animals and Cars instead of People: human beings face increasingly strong competition from animals and cars for agricultural land to grow crops. BCFN studies show that, in the face of a large number of people who do not have access to food, one third of the world’s food production goes to feeding animals and an increasing share of land is devoted to the production of biofuels to fuel cars.
- Food waste: every year, 1.3 billion tons of edible food goes wasted in the world, which represents one-third of the total food production, or four times the amount needed to feed the 868 million malnourished people worldwide.
After putting these paradoxes into focus, the BCFN Foundation has put forward three goals for world leaders, which we have summarized:
- Slash Food Waste: 50% reduction by 2020 through targeted campaigns to raise awareness and long-term agreements involving the entire food chain to cut waste.
- Promote Sustainable Agriculture: implementation of reforms to cut land designated to animal feed or biofuels, and fight against financial speculation, placing restrictions against those who bet on the price of raw materials.
- Eradicate Hunger and Combat Obesity: provide all populations with access to adequate food and encourage healthy lifestyles through educational campaigns, starting from schools.
The Milan Protocol is an ambitious project, we are aware of this. The solutions cannot come from a single country or a single institution, be it public or private. But the goals are within our reach and can be achieved if we all work together.
From the first draft of the Milan Protocol, presented at the Barilla Foundation’s fifth international forum on food and nutrition at the end of last year, we have received an increasing number of endorsements and contributions. Institutions like the Italian Ministry of Agriculture; non-governmental organization like WWF Italy and Save the Children; international research institutes like Bioversity International; private companies such as Eataly; and single individuals have all signed up. Through the online platform www.milanprotocol.com, anyone can contribute to the final draft. We have also involved university students and researchers from all over the world through the BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions!) network, a contest created three years ago to reward bold and innovative ideas that can make an effective contribution on the topic of food sustainability.
With everyone’s support, our initial goal is to present an updated draft of the Milan Protocol at the sixth International Forum on Food and Nutrition to be held in Milan December 3-4, 2014.
With the help of Italian and international institutions, our aspiration is to submit a draft for a global food deal to participating countries at Expo 2015. We have a great opportunity for building a common journey to a more sustainable Planet.