Global challenges for UN agencies in Rome

By Giulio Fabris

 Climate change, migration, conflicts, hunger. Global challenges cannot be tackled individually by states or organizations, but require an international approach. Preventive actions to address these challenges should be based on an inclusive and sustainable development.

Global issues require constant and deep collaboration, partnership and commitment from all stakeholders.

The VII edition of the Diplomacy Festival in Rome was the occasion to gather and discuss with ambassadors, experts and representatives from all the political institutions based in Rome. Also known as the Capital of Diplomacy, Rome hosts over 140 embassies to Italy and the Vatican, 130 missions to international organizations, as well as cultural institutions, NGOs and international universities. The aim of the one-week Festival is to recognize the identity of the international community that works and lives in Rome and to foster dialogue and collaboration..

The event Global Challenges for UN Agencies in Rome at SpazioEuropa discussed the UN agenda and the role of UN agencies and other stakeholders in addressing international issues. Moderated by journalist Tommaso Polidoro, it brought together Jan Tombiński (Ambassador of the EU to the Vatican and UN agencies in Rome), Giorgio Bartolomucci (General Director of the Festival), Francesco Luna (WFP representative in Italy), Elisanda Estruch (FAO Lead Economist) and Mattia Prayer-Galletti (Lead Technical Specialist at IFAD).

The first speaker, Jan Tombinski, pointed out the urgent need of further cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations to tackle the huge challenges we are facing today, especially the refugee crisis. The Ambassador also highlighted the huge investments that the EU is allocating to sustainable development projects in partnership with the Rome Based Agencies, with a particular focus on fighting poverty and hunger.

Giorgio Bartolomucci, General Director of the Festival, highlighted the central role of Rome in the international diplomacy and focused on the opportunities offered by embassies, IOs and international actors. Unfortunately, he said, the city has not always made the most out of the presence of such a big number of international organizations and institutions.
The representative of WFP, Francesco Luna, called attention to the Sustainable Development Goals and to the impelling urgency to stop conflicts, which are deeply connected with hunger and food insecurity. Mentioning the The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report, he made it clear that peace and stability are pivotal to achieve Zero Hunger and the other Global Goals by 2030.

The economist of FAO, Elisand Estruch, talked about the link between food security and migration, which was also the theme of World Food Day 2017. Addressing the root causes of migration through investments in rural areas of developing countries, she said, will help eliminate malnutrition and hunger, as well as reducing the migration flows. 

Lead Technical Specialist Mattia Prayer Galletti spoke on behalf of IFAD, presenting the role of the organization in rural development. He showed the impacts of over 250 active projects around the world in terms ensuring food security and providing technical assistance to developing countries. In particular, he outlined the importance of investing in rural areas to create opportunities for young people: urbanization and unemployment are issues that can be addressed by investing in new technologies in rural areas in order to give youth the choice and the possibility to secure their future without migrating to big cities.

Learn more about which investments can create jobs for rural youth and download the latest IFAD and World Bank Rural Youth Employment paper.

Also, read about how IFAD-supported projects are working to support and employ youth in rural areas from this recent blog post.