Young Leaders Campaign for 17 Food System Actions at UN Pre-Summit – Food Tank

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A group of 24 young leaders from around the world are pushing businesses and governments to engage in food system change as part of the Act4Food Act4Change campaign. At the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit in July 2021, the team will showcase the 17 actions it believes have the power to catalyze a food revolution.

Each initiative addresses a long-standing food system problem, such as food waste, meat consumption, and unhealthy and unaffordable meals. The global campaign encourages young people under 30 to vote for the actions that matter most to them. The top five actions will then be unveiled at the official summit, which begins on September 1.

The campaign also includes a pledge to be signed by young people, which recognizes that “our current food systems contribute to the ongoing health, climate and biodiversity crises, and the violation of human rights”. The signatories pledge to transform the food system by demanding “urgent large-scale action from others, especially government and business decision makers”. More than 1,300 people from 81 countries, including Norway and Egypt, have so far signed the pledge.

Act4Food Act4Change, which launched in May, grew out of a Bangladeshi 2020 Eat Well, Live Well campaign. The main objective of the campaign is to encourage young people to buy nutritious snacks. Additionally, the Eat Well, Live Well commitment is committed to working with food producers and policy makers to improve food production and distribution.

Eat Well, Live Well was “designed to improve the eating behavior of teenagers and make them understand the importance of nutritious eating,” Dipty Chowdhury, one of the campaign organizers, told Food Tank. “Another goal was to empower teenagers to express their dream.”

In Bangladesh, adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 make up a fifth of the total population, or about 36 million people. More than one million young people have signed the initial pledge to eat nutritious and healthy foods.

“It is very necessary to make them healthy and educated,” says Chowdhury.

Sophie Healy-Thow discovered Eat Well, Live Well on Twitter. She thought young people around the world would be interested in the campaign’s efforts for healthier eating habits and a healthier food system. Together with her friend and fellow food activist Maureen Muketha, who is based in Kenya, Healy-Thow sent a proposal to the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. The couple envisioned a youth-led global campaign calling for a change in food systems.

GAIN agreed to support the campaign, and Act4Food Act4Change was born. Healy-Thow and Muketha recruited Chowdhury to implement their overall vision.

“It will show the world the power and leadership of young people,” Chowdhury says of Act4Food Act4Change. “This commitment will mobilize young people around the world.

The trio has since grown into an international team of 24 young leaders representing countries including Nicaragua, China and Lebanon.

The campaign is already reaching out to governments and businesses around the world to demand commitment to Act4Food Act4Change food system actions.

“We ask them very frankly, ‘Are you with us or are you against us?’ Because we need to work with you to make these actions a reality,” Healy-Thow told Food Tank.

While some politicians and CEOs may be inclined to fire young people, Healy-Thow emphasizes their power. Millennials are the largest generation in the world, with just under $15 trillion in global purchasing power. Additionally, youth support — and the reach of Gen Z social media — is impacting elections.

“When you think about the health of the next generation, if you want your country’s population not to migrate, to be economically viable citizens, while having a happy country and a sustainable and sustainable environment in the future, you really have to listen to young people,” Healy-Thow told Food Tank.

Healy-Thow and Chowdhury believe that “Ensuring young people have a seat at the table at all levels of decision-making” is one of the most important on the Act4Food Act4Change list.

“I strongly believe that young people need to be at the board or board level,” Healy-Thow told Food Tank. “Especially in food systems where business has such an important role to play, having a young person who cares about sustainability, climate action and human rights at a very high decision-making table, I think it can only be a positive thing.”

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