2021! ThE InternationaL YeaR of Fruits & VegetableS
Did you know that 2021 is the international year of fruits and vegetables? But that’s not all. Find out more about this brand new year below.
One might imagine that 2021 could have been the international year of vaccines. Since the beginning of 2021, all countries around the world run after the immunization of their citizens. But the designation of a year to mark a particular topic is done well in advance by the United Nations (UN). Therefore, vaccines are not yet on the agenda, but they surely will be soon.
Along with this, why are some topics and not others chosen to lead a year?
On 25 September 2015 the UN approved a set of Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are meant to achieve a world free from poverty, hunger and disease. To do so, the member states of the UN adopted the 2030 Agenda. This agenda, entitled “Transforming our World”, includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
GOAL 1: No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
GOAL 4: Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
GOAL 5: Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality: Reduce inequality within and among countries
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
GOAL 13: Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
GOAL 14: Life Below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
GOAL 15: Life on Land: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
Plus, to tackle these goals all countries and actors must develop efforts. But what does this really mean? It implies that targets must be achieved in every context. In other words, institutions, businesses, academia, society and individuals must collaborate all together. It requires a multi-stakeholder approach.
Furthermore, the SDGs are interlinked. Ergo, we cannot focus on one issue at a time. Therefore, 2021 is not only the international year of Fruits and Vegetables, but also of the following concerns:
Then, the purpose of the UN in 2021 is to promote especially the following SDGs:
- GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
- GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
- GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
- GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
- GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
And as we are bananas, we would like to highlight the importance of the measures related to our International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. Because the period 2016-2025 was also proclaimed the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition.
What can we do to participate?
It was on December 19th, 2019 when 2021 was declared the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. In its resolution (Resolution of the UN A/RES/74/244), several calls for action were collected. The UN encourages all stakeholders to work together as follows:
As an individual: Keep a balanced diet that includes abundant fruits and vegetables. Encourage your kids to eat fruits and vegetables. We can all promote healthy diets, where fruits and vegetables should make up half of our plate at any given meal.
As a company: Promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables. But also promote a fair supply chain. As a stakeholder of the retail market, supermarkets can help to promote a fair consumption of fruits and vegetables by keeping fair prices for all growers. Moreover, according to the UN, businesses can develop tools to improve “the sustainability of storage, transport, trade, processing, transformation, retail, waste reduction and recycling”.
As a country: As also foreseen by the UN Resolution A/RES/74/244, countries can “raise awareness of the nutritional and health benefits of fruits and vegetables consumption”. As well, international institutions can work “to strengthen the capacity-building of developing countries to adopt innovative approaches and technology”.
But public organisations can also work hand-in-hand with private ones for the purpose set out in the mentioned Resolution: “to integrate smallholders into global production, value and supply chains for the sustainable production and consumption of fruits and vegetables”.
And, last but not least, we can all contribute to combat the loss and waste of fruits and vegetables.
Thus, to achieve all that, the UN stresses that ”the costs of all activities … should be met through voluntary contributions, including from the private sector”. So, let’s contribute and support the International Year of fruits and Vegetables!.