A great opportunity is on our doorsteps: the Universal Exhibition of Milan, which from May to October 2015 will focus the attention of the whole world on the theme: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”
Inspired by the example of the Kyoto Protocol, launched in 1997 by enlightened people to protect the environment, we have a great opportunity to make clear and determined commitments with the world with a new Protocol, the Milan Protocol on food.
Ever since its foundation in 2009, the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) has been committed to identifying and publicizing the great global paradoxes on food. It is absurd that today there is abundant food for everyone, but hundreds of millions continue to suffer from hunger; while waste, excessive consumption of food and using the land for purposes other than for food are normal practices. Food is often reduced to a mere commodity, it has lost value and has even become an object of financial speculation. The time to act has come! EXPO 2015, which will bring leaders from all over the world, represents an extraordinary opportunity to put food back at the centre of political agendas. To tackle the great food challenges we are facing, the Milan Protocol sets three major objectives.
- Fighting against hunger and obesity, encouraging healthy lifestyles from childhood.
- Encouraging sustainable agriculture and fight against financial speculation on food raw materials.
- Fighting food waste, in the North and in the South of the planet, from field to fork.
We want to call on the institutions, businesses and the whole of civil society to answer these great causes so that they adhere to the Protocol and have it adopted by the countries that will be taking part in Expo. Since it was launched at the end of 2013, the Protocol has been improved thanks to the contribution of hundreds of experts from all over the world. The document continues to receive stimuli of improvement, obtaining a great following in Italy and abroad: from the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to members of the Italian and European parliaments: from the WWF to Legambiente; from Coldiretti to Confagricoltura; from Save the Children to the Banco Alimentare; from Eataly to Slow Food, to mention only a few. Albeit with many difficulties, the Kyoto Protocol succeeded in increasing awareness on all the urgent topics to be faced in the field of the environment, recently leading to a historic agreement between China and the United States, the two largest polluters in the world and which for years had refused to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol.
In Italy there are the main world agencies for food: from the FAO to the World Food Program, from the IFAD to the EFSA in Parma. This is proof that the world recognizes that Italy plays a decisive role in the field of food. A few days ago, at a conference at the FAO, the Pope asked the international community for a new vision of the world, with new revolutionary rules to fight the great contradictions of the modern world on food. The Milan Protocol is the document that has put these rules into black and white, proposing detailed plans to restore dignity to people as asked by the Holy Father. We must not miss this opportunity of seriously tackling questions which are fundamental for our future. The six months of Expo 2015 can be a splendid showcase for the best food excellences.
We have to leave a deep and lasting heritage: we owe this to those who come after us.
Chairman of the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation
Reference: Barilla CFN