On 19 July, it was a true pleasure for me to be part of the inauguration of the Family Meal exhibition here at the European Union pavilion at Expo Milano.
The exhibition aims to raise public awareness about hunger – the world’s most solvable problem. The compelling images and stories demonstrate how people’s lives can be changed through food assistance that is provided in various innovative ways including vouchers and cash, offering both choice and opportunity to entire communities. It consists of a series of powerful photos taken by renowned photographer Chris Terry, as he travelled across three continents to explore EU-financed projects run by WFP. He visited families receiving food assistance in Ecuador, Chad, Niger, Jordan and Myanmar/Burma.
These families’ circumstances are considerably more difficult than those faced by the average European – they represent tens of millions of refugees forced from their homes because of conflict and millions more living in extreme poverty and on the frontline of climate change around the world. While they have temporarily lost the ability to provide enough food to remain healthy and enable their children to grow to their full potential, WFP can step in to help – thanks to EU humanitarian assistance.
Five countries, three continents, one universal custom: sharing a meal with family members. Chris Terry’s pictures reveal that our desire to share is one of the most essential ingredients, not only for the family meal, but also for a zero hunger world. It is a joint meal at lunch or dinner time that brings families together, everywhere in the world.
EXPO Milano 2015 is a global showcase of innovative and shared solutions to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone in ethical and sustainable ways. The area of food assistance and nutrition represents about half of ECHO’s humanitarian assistance, amounting to a total investment of €535 million in 2013. Bringing families back to the dinner table is a priority for the EU, WFP, and us all.
I was truly stunned by the introductory speech of Klaus Sorensen, Director General of DG ECHO of the European Commission, which thoroughly integrates the message the European Union at Expo Milano is trying to communicate to citizens here and all around the world: We cannot take global challenges for granted.
It is our main goal to address those, especially the younger generations, which take the historic achievements of the European Union for granted: Peace, freedom, equality. Values that my grandparents did not know during their youth.
The same goes for DG ECHO and the WFP who make a significant effort in communicating how a world with 800 million undernourished people and rising obesity is both paradoxical and unsustainable.
I am managing the digital communication of our pavilion and it is truly impressive to see how citizens express so much interest in what the EU does in the field of nutrition. This is because they are properly addressed via digital communication and social media. People care about their future, and it is our duty to reach out to them in the most efficient way.
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