(Please check against actual speech delivered))
Italy has the honour to host the 2015 World Expo in Milan, under the main theme “Feeding the planet. Energy for Life”.
Expo Milan 2015 will represent a major global event: a comprehensive platform for discussion; a showcase for industrial innovation, showing prospects for the future on a wide range of key issues including food security and global access to nutrition.
The objective of Expo 2015 is not to be remembered for the richness of its halls or for the architecture of its buildings. Expo 2015 will be a success if we are able to change our mind on the use of land and water; if we can give concrete answers to the fight against bad and over nutrition; on the reduction of food waste.
In few words, we have to provide a credible response to a very clear question: is it possible to ensure nutritious, healthy, accessible and sustainable food for all?
With this aim in mind we deem of paramount importance to lay down a wide reflection on food and nutrition aspects that have a substantial impact on the overall economic and social system: from the method of food preservation to a transparent and balanced management of raw materials in international markets
Developing the theme of food means to face the great and tragic paradox marking our era: today nearly one billion people suffer from hunger and bad nutrition, while almost another billion suffer damages from overeating.
The increase in agricultural productivity and population growth require a qualitative leap forward in the management of the entire food chain.
Italy, seat of the UN agencies dealing with food security ( FAO, World Food Programme, IFAD) aims to contribute to this debate with the strength of its cultural and food industry tradition.
Let me briefly to stress another important point. Expo will be an extraordinary opportunity for the empowerment of women. We want the Expo in Milan to be the first “gender Expo”. For this, we are developing a project which promotes the creativity of women in addressing the issue of nutrition, with contributions, suggestions and stories from real life experience.
The themes of the 2015 event are particularly helpful in achieving such a goal. The food security issue is closely related to the role of women: they are the first providers of nourishment, yet face major challenges regarding nutrition and food access.
To promote awareness about the essential role women play in tackling such challenges, we will convene - from now until 2015- a number of conferences and events in Italy and abroad to draw the public’s and decision makers’ attention.
Our first appointment has been the one of this morning “Women and Nutrition: Ideas for a Sustainable Future”. We are then planning to organise other events to endorse and spread such message all over the world, touching different Continents.
This set of events will collect proposals and best practices for a sustainable future, engaging the largest possible number of women in this path towards empowerment. Such key ideas will be gathered in a Women’s charter that will be presented to the United Nations.
Expo 2015 aspires to reach concrete and ambitious results. We aim high! And, even if we will succeed only in part we will have given a major contribution to the improvement of global food and nutrition.
Such an important event could not be conceived without the qualifying presence of the United Nations. I’m therefore very pleased that the organisation will be with us, at the side of all participants, in the joint path toward a better and more sustainable future.
The contract of UN participation that will be signed today is a milestone for the success of Expo 2015.
In line with the Development Agenda post-2015, the contribution of the UN system to Expo Milano 2015- through a widespread presence around the entire exhibition site - will be aimed at developing the themes of food security, sustainable production and access global nutrition.
Thanking again the UN system for its participation to Expo 2015, I would like to conclude expressing my deepest wish that our joint effort will contribute to build a better world in which the problems of hunger, bad nutrition and waste of food resource will be, even partially, alleviated.