Framing the future: World Food Forum Photo Exhibition on Climate Action and Agrifood Systems Transformation
Celebrating the World Food Forum (WFF) – an independent, youth-led global network of partners facilitated and hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to engage young people in the transformation of agrifood systems - the FAO Liaison Office in Geneva joined hands with the United Nations (UN) Organizations in Geneva to open the World Food Forum (WFF) photo exhibition at the Palais des Nations.
The photo exhibition showcased ten compelling photographs from the recent WFF youth photo contest, where youths were invited to submit photos on the World Food Forum’s theme ‘Agrifood Systems Transformation accelerates Climate Action.’
Opening the photo exhibition, Dominique Burgeon, Director of the FAO Liaison Office in Geneva, extended a warm welcome. He remarked “It is my pleasure to welcome you to this vernissage and to address you on FAO in Geneva’s first ever Youth Photo Contest, organized in celebration of the World Food Forum flagship week, taking place in Rome from 16 to 20 October.” He added “The World Food Forum brings together diverse young people at the inter-section of food and culture. It supports young generations recognizing that the future of our planet belongs to the youth and that their engagement is central to transform our agrifood systems”.
UN Perspectives: Youth-led Climate Actions towards Agrifood Systems Transformation
During the exhibition launch event, representatives of different United Nations Organizations in Geneva shared how each organization perceived the youth’s role in climate action within the context of sustainable agrifood systems.
Francesco Pisano, Director of the UN Library & Archives, Chairman of Cultural Activities, highlighted, “Involving youth in the work of the UN system is progressing, albeit slowly.” He further said, “Younger global citizens are not just those who will have to solve most of the global issues we face; they also have ideas, experience, and vision that matter for the work we do in international organizations.”
Angelika Planitz, Disaster Risk Reduction Team Leader with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Geneva, said, “ Youth are already at the forefront of driving the needed change to accelerate the transformation of food systems. To be able to influence on a more systemic scale, Youth needs climate finance, partnerships, and knowledge exchange. UNDP facilitates connecting these dots to empower youth-led climate action through the Youth4Climate Initiative.” She noted the importance of partnerships and strong cooperation that Youth can rely on when leading climate action initiatives in the transformation of agrifood systems.
Adriana Quinones, Head of the Human Rights and Development of UN Women Geneva Office, called to action in support of young women, “We must support initiatives that provide access to quality education and training in agriculture and environmental science for young women and girls.” For future climate action plans, she spotlighted “The future of our planet depends on the active participation of young women and girls in agrifood systems and climate change resilience”.
Benjamin Syme Van Ameringen, Partnership Officer for the World Food Programme (WFP) Geneva, added to the previous points, saying, “It is now more important than ever that we capitalize on the potential of young people, and leverage the demographic dividend, to drive transformative progress and innovation.” Furthermore, he stressed the need to prioritize the energy and commitment of the youth in spearheading climate action, stating, “Neglecting their potential will not only risk a sustainable food future but will lead to greater instability, ecosystem damage, and hunger.”
Youth Narratives through Visual Storytelling
The top three winners of the photo contest were virtually invited to speak on their photographs, personal backgrounds, and insights in response to questions proposed by the moderators covering agrifood systems, youth roles and inspiration. Representing their communities, they each emphasized the importance of collaborative youth engagement in agrifood systems, sustainability, and innovation, spotlighting how diverse communities can work together in climate action to uplift sustainable agrifood systems for the benefit of all.
One of the winners was from Nigeria, Uteno Achor David, with a captivating photo entitled “The Woman that Farms.” The two other young talented photographers were from Nepal, Pradeep Bhattari, with his photo titled “The Agrifood Hub'' and Ganesh Rijal, with his photo titled “Terrace Farming.” Rijal spoke on his own experience of youth engagement, sharing, “Sadly, this tradition of village lifestyle is disappearing, but photography is helping to keep these traditions alive. I love taking photographs of my village to display in my collection to share with everyone.”
The launch event was an opportunity to bring youth’s voice around the globe to advocate for the importance of agrifood systems transformation to climate action and vice versa. Moving forward, the FAO Liaison Office in Geneva will continue to prioritize empowering and mainstreaming youth engagement in FAO's advocacy works toward creating a sustainable world through the transformation of agrifood systems.
FAO in Geneva World Food Forum Photo Exhibition
FAO in Geneva World Food Forum Photo Contest was a global competition calling for young photographers around the globe to participate in a contest to capture the World Food Forum’s 2023 theme, ‘Agrifood Systems Transformation accelerates Climate Action.’ Contestants worldwide submitted photos, and ten selected photos were displayed at the Palais des Nation, Geneva, Switzerland, where numerous multilateral meetings, conferences, and events occur throughout the year.
The exhibition took place from 16-20 October 2023, where students, mission representatives, diplomats, UN and partners employees and visitors could view a wide range of diverse communities working together towards achieving a sustainable world through the transformation of agrifood systems.
Similarly, the World Food Day ‘Food Heroes’ exhibition paid homage to food heroes on the ground who are taking water action in their local communities and making waves of global change.