Closing ceremony of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV): Recapping a year of awareness and action

On 24 February 2022, the closing ceremony of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV), as 2021 has been designated by the UN General Assembly, took place online.

Organised by the FAO as the led agency for celebrating this year, the event has been an opportunity to again and profoundly raise awareness on the important role fruits and vegetables play in a balanced, nutritious diet, to foster food security, and to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

During the opening remarks, high-level speakers took the floor to represent international organisations and selected countries, among them QU Dongyu (Director-General, FAO), Raques Arbaje de Abinader (First Lady of the Domenican Republic), and Stefano Patuanelli (Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Italy). As a common denominator, all of them referred to the critical contribution of fruits and vegetables to human and planetary health and the concomitant relevance of making them affordable and available for everyone and everywhere.

In the following, a panel discussion took place where a diverse set of participants from the FAO, Chile, Turkey, Kenya, Azerbaijan, the Philippines, and the USA intervened to deliver their key messages. Recapping the year, the IYFV International Steering Committee highlighted the increased activities by stakeholders from difference fields and geographic backgrounds as regards awareness rising, capacity development, and education. In line with that, the panellists further elaborated on best practices applied in the different countries concerning for example the cultivation of organic and indigenous fruits and vegetables and the processing of fresh produce to extent its shelf life. Moreover, challenges resulting from climate change were shed light upon, whose overcoming requires adaptation and the creation and exploitation of knowledge. In that regard, the combination of innovation and tradition is indispensable while following a wholistic food system approach that leaves no one behind.

The IYFV Final Reports on activities carried out by numerous stakeholders throughout the year can be accessed here. FEBA also contributed to the international momentum through various initiatives as outlined on the dedicated website.