On the second day of the UN pre-summit on food systems, which opened on July 26 in Rome, a working session is held promoted by the Vatican Commission Covid-19 together with “The Economy of Francesco”. The protagonists will be young people who will share their commitment in the sector of production and consumption of food with a view to respect for the environment and justice, so that every person in the world can count on adequate nutrition.
Young people will be the protagonists of the event promoted for this evening by the Vatican Commission Covid-19 and by the international movement of young economists inspired by the Pope, “The Economy of Francesco” in the context of the UN pre-summit on Food Systems underway in Rome. Two sessions moderated by Lucia Capuzzi, journalist of the newspaper Avvenire, and by Father Augusto Zampini, assistant secretary of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development Service and coordinator of the Vatican Commission Covid-19 established by Pope Francis at the same dicastery, during which 6 young speakers, from different countries, will share their experience regarding the food supply chain and the innovative ways in which they are working to transform current food systems.
We can all do something to change
Everyone has a role to play in the transformation of food systems in favor of people and the planet, and “we can all cooperate for the care of creation, each according to their own culture, experience, involvement and talent”, reads the encyclical Laudato. yes of Pope Francis. “Food for all”, “Work for all” and “Health for all”, are the three objectives that the Commission has set for 2021, while working to “prepare the future”, as the Pope still writes, and to build systems that prioritize people and our common home. In view of the pre-summit, the Secretariat of State and the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to FAO, IFAD and WFP, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Vatican Commission Covid-19,in May 2021 they hosted three webinars on the same topics to contribute to the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS). During today’s evening, a video produced by the Dicastery and the Vatican Commission entitled “Food for all: a moral appeal” will be presented, presenting the main messages of those seminars.
The sensitivity of young people and the urgency of concrete actions
“People and the planet: young people give meaning and action to food justice”, the theme chosen for the event that will be held online on the Zoom platform and which will be broadcast on the Youtube channel of the Vatican Dicastery in live streaming. The young Argentine, Josefina Mas , a collaborator of the Vatican Covid-19 Commission, who we interviewed, coordinated the evening :
Q. Josefina, it will be the young people who talk about themselves in this evening’s session. But why do the new generations play an important role in this process of change?
A. In my opinion, the contribution of young people today is that we are bringing a new perspective, a new insight and a new sense of urgency, because our world is very different from the one inherited from our parents. In their time, climate change was not considered a problem and we were not so aware of inequalities, but today it is our future that has been put into play and that is why young people today are so motivated to act. And this, in my opinion, brings a new energy to the discussion on these issues and a new sense of urgency that can finally lead to action.
Q. During this evening’s session six young people will talk about their work for the transformation of food systems, can you tell us in summary what everyone will say?
A. Of course: tonight we will have a group of young people from different parts of the world, from Italy to Nigeria, from Cameroon to Poland and Mexico representing different groups including indigenous communities. In the first session they will talk about their conception of food systems today and how these have impacted their lives and their people and especially what has changed after Covid. Then, in the second part, they will show how a real commitment to the transformation of food systems is lived, with specific examples of what young people are doing today around the world to bring about this change and we hope that all of you will feel inspired to join and be part of this change.
Q. Are they young people engaged in agriculture?
A. Yes, some work in the agricultural sector but they represent every stage of the food chain: there are farmers who are engaged in the production of the land and are exploring new ways of producing and this also involves changes throughout the process. Then we have consumer representatives, in short, normal people …
Q. Here: people and the planet. There is in young people the awareness that everything in our world is connected, economy, ecology, justice, human rights ….
A. Yes, in my opinion my generation is very focused on a system perspective, we see problems as more than merely economic or political or otherwise isolated, we recognize the interconnections in all our social problems, for example if we talk about the climate crisis we see that it is born from an economic system that is not fair, not sustainable and which is also perpetuated by a political system that has not acted as we would like and which then produces many inequalities, both social and environmental injustices, and we realize that if we do not change systems that maintain these problems, the future will not be very bright for all of us.
Q. What is the goal of tonight’s event? What is the proposal that young people want to launch?
A. Tonight’s event will demonstrate that each of us has a moral responsibility to change food systems for the planet and for people. He will say that, despite the gravity of the food crisis, we all have a role to play in this change and that it all depends on the choices we make day by day. That each of us has different roles, according to our own abilities, but that we can all do something and that if we work together we can do unthinkable things. Today’s event was organized together with “The Economy of Francesco” and it was truly a privilege to work together with them because we have seen how our energies, uniting, have been strengthened. Back then, the journey was truly beautiful and we hope that the result will be equally good.
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