IFIC Foundation Convenes Emerging Market Leaders to Find Solutions for Feeding the World

This year, the world is focused on a very important topic: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” This is the theme of Expo Milano 2015 (also known as the “World’s Fair”), which is taking place in Milan, Italy, from May-October 2015, and is the world’s largest, most historical gathering on food.  More than 20 million visitors over Expo’s six months of programming, and hundreds of millions are involved in food-related in-person and virtual conversations around the world.

With 145 official country participants representing 94% of the world’s population, Expo 2015 notes that “every participating country has been charged with questioning and offering solutions to the major challenges related to the future of food, and each will provide those answers by drawing upon its own culture and traditions.”  Many of these nations are focused on what must be done within their own borders and beyond as the world prepares to feed a planet of 9.6 billion people by 2050 – more than 2 billion more than today.    

Never has there been a more relevant global gathering and opportune time to discuss the importance of food biotechnology and modern food production than as part of Expo Milano.  As such, on May 20, 2015, the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation hosted the EXPO 2015 Communications Summit: “Emerging Market Leaders Workshop on Effective Messaging on Global Food Production Issues” (www.foodinsight.org/globalsummit2015) at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy. 

Participants, including Permanent Representatives to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Commissioners General to Expo, from diverse emerging market countries –Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Comoros, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Peru, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – convened to collaborate and share expert insights and best practices.  Topics discussed included:

  • Scientific Misconceptions, Barriers, & Opportunities for Wider Acceptance of Agricultural Biotechnology
  • Emerging Market Leader and Farmer Insights
  • How to Share Our Story with the Media
  • Interactive Workshop: Practical Strategies for Communicating Effectively about Complex & Controversial Issues
  • 2015 Global Food Security Index

The summit truly was global and had no borders, as stakeholders, including Food Insight readers, joined us via live-streamed video from around the world.  And thanks to social media (#exposummit2015), the summit has generated 3 million social media impressions.

Featured speaker Mr. Ousseynou Kasse, Executive Director, National Biosafety Authority, Government of Senegal, summed up the summit best:

“We learned much this morning, and I am sure that this information is going to be multiplied and shared around the world for the benefit of mankind.  In summary, my most important message from today is that we need to share more information about GMOs between scientists, journalists, food security specialists, and specialists in agriculture so we can reach the public at large and the consumer.

“So it is that communication is at the very center of the ongoing debates.  It is vitally important that this information is accessible to the public in countries around the world.  The interaction by politicians and journalists is of fundamental importance to the communication process.  It is so important to share this information with policy makers so that the people of the world can benefit.

“That is my key message from this workshop, and I would stress the importance of working together to spread the word and provide wider access to the benefits of agricultural biotechnology.”

The important messages, best practices, and outcomes from the summit – which can be found on the IFIC Foundation’s summit webpage: www.foodinsight.org/globalsummit2015– will continue to serve as a valuable resource. 

We encourage you to get involved with the Expo (which concludes on October 31, 2015) discussion – #globalsummit2015 #expo2015 @foodinsight @Expo2015Milano @USAPavilion2015 – by sharing your thoughts on its theme: “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life” as the world focuses on feeding 9.6 billion by 2050.