For the first time in history, Global Goals Week has been held outside of the UN’s General Assembly in New York. Instead, the week, which aims to raise awareness of the 17 sustainable development goals and their importance for all people everywhere, has been inserted into Expo 2020 Dubai. Expo 2020 is an event aimed at promoting sustainability and this can be seen through its infrastructure made up of reusable construction materials and energy sources, of which half of it is renewable.
After a challenging 2020 filled with lockdowns and cancellations of in-person meetings as well as travel restrictions, we looked forward to a better year in 2021 and we were not disappointed! As we adjusted to a new normal filled with hybrid meetings or new travel requirements, we also welcomed all the exciting projects, conferences and achievements. Here are a few highlights:
The World Malaria Report 2021 has recently been released by the WHO. This year, a new methodology was used to calculate the malaria mortality rate in children under 5 since 2000. This has led to revisions in malaria statistics from 2000 till date.
One of my highlights of the past year was 2021 Borlaug Dialogue Roundtable on Nutrition-Sensitive Food Systems organised by Barbara Stinson’s team at the World Food Prize Foundation. I had the privilege of moderating a discussion between experts, farmers, and past World Food Prize winners on how to achieve better nutrition globally. It is key to improve access to and affordability of healthier foods, including fruits and vegetables, pulses, dairy, and blue foods.
The 2021 World Children’s Day was marked on November 20 under the theme A Better Future for Every Child and called on leaders to listen to the ideas and demands of children. Since 1990, World Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the Declaration and the Convention on children's rights. The day is a moment for all of us to advocate, promote, and celebrate children’s rights and translate them into dialogues and actions to build a better world for children. As we continue to take bold actions to transform our food systems, we must ensure this transformation contributes to the welfare of children. Sustainable food systems must improve the nutritional status of children, particularly in the first 1000 days of their lives when proper nutrition is critical to children’s early development and impacts their future health and potential.
The conversation about food has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to the UN Food Systems Summit. Food has always played a key role in our lives: from bringing family and friends together, to providing a source of income to millions of people, to shaping national and international policy. The importance of food can never be overstated. However, the discussion on food has usually been quite narrow and limited. Until recently, the idea of food only pointed to what we eat. The Summit has expanded the traditional idea of food to include the whole life cycle of getting what we eat from farm to table.
November 14 is World Diabetes Day and we commemorate it under the theme “Access to diabetes care”. The International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization began World Diabetes Day in 1991 in response to the growing health threat posed by diabetes. The date was chosen in honour of the birthday of Canadian Sir Frederick Banting, who jointly discovered insulin with Dr. Charles Best.
The Food Systems Summit held on September 23 climaxed the long-standing debate on food systems transformation. The wide-ranging and inclusive process leading to the Summit and the discussions were clear: transforming food systems was the best response to addressing food insecurity, food affordability, and food accessibility.
The 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly High-Level week was held over the period September 21 – 27, 2021 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. Following the maiden virtual High-Level week, held in 2020 due to the COVID19 pandemic, this 76th session saw a return to in-person diplomacy, albeit on a much smaller scale. While the General Assembly opened up for Member States delegations at reduced numbers, some Member States opted to have video messages sent to the General Debate and a number of additional meetings were held virtually or in a hybrid format.
It will be an honour to moderate a roundtable on nutrition during the World Food Prize. So, it couldn’t be more fitting to see a client collaborate with a past winner.
In arid regions in Africa, smallholder sweet potato farmers often struggle to store planting material for the next season. In response to this challenge, researchers of the International Potato Centre (CIP) developed the Triple S technique. Adopting this technique helped farmers have vines available to plant in the rainy season and led to increased yields. In order to propagate this information, Scientific Animation Without Borders partnered with CIP Principal Scientist and 2016 World Food Prize winner Dr Jan Low to animate this technique.