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    15 December 2020

    The Secretary-General

    Message on Launch of the International Year
    of Fruits and Vegetables 2021

    15 December 2020

    Fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy and varied diet.  They provide the human body with an abundance of nutrients, strengthen immune systems and help lower risks for a number of diseases.  Yet, despite these tremendous benefits, we do not consume enough of them.

    By declaring 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, we are taking a closer look at a critical sector and urging the adoption of a more holistic approach to production and consumption that benefits human and environmental health.

    A key moment in the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables will be the Food Systems Summit where we will call on all stakeholders to intensify efforts to make food systems more inclusive, resilient and sustainable. 

    The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes the role our food systems play in fighting hunger, ending poverty and protecting our planet.  Yet, today, rising populations, increased urbanization, the growing scarcity of natural resources, agricultural pollution and land use change, high levels of food loss and waste and the impacts of climate change are all highlighting the fragility of our food systems.

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the health and livelihoods of people across the world, we must come together to ensure that nutritious food, including fruits and vegetables, reaches the most vulnerable, leaving no one behind.

    Let us use this International Year to rethink our relationship with how we produce and consume food.  Let us re-examine our food systems and commit to a healthier, more resilient and sustainable world where everyone can access and afford the diverse nutrition they need.

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