World leaders convened to discuss the current state of international affairs at the 70th Session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The session took place in September in New York City.
While the UNGA is an annual event, this session was particularly important because nations voted to adopt 17 new, measurable goals related to future international development. These goals, called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals, were designed to make the world a better place by 2030 through cooperation within the international community.
The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) participated in a number of UNGA side events in New York City to show support for the Global Goals, a number of which are aligned with GFN’s mission.
Here are three main takeaways from two weeks at the UNGA:
1. The food waste problem is an issue of increasing concern, and countries are beginning to act on it. Consider this: If food waste was a country, it’d be the size of China. It would also be the third largest contributor of green house gases to our climate. Suffice it to say, we waste and lose a lot of food. Through Global Goal #12 “Responsible Consumption and Production,” nations around the world commit to reducing food loss and waste.
GFN participated in the United States Department of Agriculture’s event “Food Loss & Waste” to discuss the urgent need for countries to begin implementing plans to meet this goal. And they are. The US, which wastes 30 percent of all food each year, recently announced that it would reduce food waste in the country by 50 percent by 2030. Similar goals are being discussed or adopted in other countries.
Food banking is one way to reduce food waste and ultimately protect the environment. Food banks take perfectly edible, surplus food that would have otherwise been wasted and redistribute it to those in need. See here for more.
2. The youth is key to fighting hunger. Did you know that roughly 25 percent of the world is between the ages of 10 and 24? As this demographic matures, it will play an integral role in helping nations meet Global Goal #2: Zero Hunger.
GFN participated in the United Nation’s Mobilizing Generation Zero Hunger event, where heads of states and leaders in the NGO and corporate world convened to energize and inspire youth to help eliminate hunger. GFN brought its own Youth Ambassador, 16-year-old Samantha Yen, to the event.
Fighting hunger is at the core of GFN’s mission, and food banking is one way the youth can be more involved in tackling this important issue. GFN regularly works with young leaders in fighting hunger through food banking.
3. Of course, the Global Goals cannot be met without effective partnerships and collaboration across all sectors. This is why the UNGA adopted Global Goal #17: Partnerships for the Goal.
GFN supports the international community in reaching its targets by 2030. We are an active partner in UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Zero Hunger Challenge and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s SAVE FOOD Initiative. We also collaborate effectively with corporations and service organizations to fight world hunger. Organizations and companies we partner with include Rotary International, Lions Clubs International, Grant Thornton, Griffith Laboratories, Kellogg Company, among others. See here for more on our partnerships.
The year 2030 may seem like a long way off, but there is a lot of work to be done if we are to be successful in meeting the Global Goals. GFN is excited to help the world meet Global Goal #2, #12 and #17 through its work in food banking.
You can join us in our mission by supporting our work. To take action, see here.