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The Holy See’s perspective towards the United Nations Food Systems Summit(I)

FOOD FOR LIFE: The role of women in the promotion of integral human development

17 May 2021

14.00-17.00 hrs

Simultaneous translation in Italian, English and Spanish


Hosts: Permanent Mission of the Holy See to FAO, IFAD, and WFP – Rome Forum of Catholic Inspired NGOs

Co-hosts: Secretariat of State of the Holy See - Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

Summary: The year 2021 will be decisive for the Decade of Action towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda and will be marked by high-level summits and events to raise awareness and to coordinate and to support initiatives aimed at achieving SDG2: Zero Hunger. Specifically, the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit, which will take place in New York, and which will be preceded by a pre-Summit in Rome between the 26th and 28th of July 2021, will focus on the need “to transform agricultural food systems so that they may become catalysts of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; increasing resilience in light of the Covid- 19 pandemic, strengthening local value chains, improving nutrition, educating producers on the re-use and recycling of resources so that food waste may be reduced, supplying healthy diets accessible to all, and being environmentally sustainable and respectful of local cultures”.1 Given that food security and nutrition are intricately linked to the impacts of climate change, the conservation of natural resources, ecosystems and agricultural production, the UN Secretary- General António Guterres, has affirmed that the upcoming Summit will focus on giving due recognition to the inextricable link that exists between food security, the climate crisis, and biodiversity.

In light of this global event, the Holy See seeks to offer its contribution through a series of seminars, scheduled  throughout the month of May and inspired by the levers of change identified for the Summit; women, finance, human rights, and innovation. These seminars will exchange ideas, testimonies, and the Holy See's perspective on food justice in the post-Covid recovery.

The present seminar, the first of its series, aims to stimulate debate and share experiences and expertise about the role of women in caring for our common home (based on Catholic Social Teaching, especially in the light of the encyclical, Laudato Si'), as well as in the promotion of integral human development and resilient food systems. In this context, emphasis will be placed on the presence of the Holy See in international fora, as well as its close collaboration with the Organisms of the Roman branch of the United Nations. The concrete experiences and expertise of each speaker will highlight the special and irreplaceable role of women in the Church and in society, in light of their capacity to contribute to improving relations with others and with the planet.

Invited guests: Permanent Representatives and Members of Diplomatic Missions to the FAO, IFAD, WFP and the Holy See; international officials; representatives of Catholic Inspired NGOs, of civil society, and the academic world; representatives of farmers and rural women and men; and other stakeholders.

Technical information: It is possible to register for this seminar through the following link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KQQC_NAbQyexhYO5dhIiZA

Alternatively, the event will also be livestreamed on Vatican social media and can be accessed through the following link: https://www.youtube.com/VaticanIHD

For more information, please contact foodforall@humandevelopment.va


Welcome remarks:


17 May 2021 - 14.00-17.00 hrs

Dr. Vincenzo Conso, Coordinator of the Roman Forum of Catholic Inspired NGOs (5’)


Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, member of the advisory board of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network and Core Group for the U.S. Department of State's Working Group on Religion and Foreign Policy (5’)


1.       Food and Development: Women and Rural Contexts (55 minutes)

Moderator: Mrs. Kerry Medek, GHR Foundation


●      Ms. Daniela Fumarola, Confederal Secretary of Italian Confederation of Trade Unions, CISL (10’)

●      Dr. Jo Puri, Director of the Environment, Climate, Gender, Youth, Nutrition and Social Inclusion Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD (10’)

●      Ms. Susana Raffalli, Caritas Venezuela (10’)


●      Ms. Romana Koech, Representative of AVSI Foundation in Kenya (10’) Panel Discussion (10’)

Break (3’) + VIDEO: Defence and Protection of Life (2’)


2.      Food and Peace: Women and Political and International Contexts (55 minutes)


Moderator: Mrs. Chiara Martinelli, Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité, CIDSE


●      Dr. Gabriella Arrigo, Head of International Relations at the Italian Space Agency, ASI (10’)

●      Prof. Daniela Ropelato, Director of the Doctoral School of the Sophia University Institute (10’)

●      Dr. Lola Castro, Regional Director for Southern Africa, World Food Programme, WFP (10’)


●      Ms. Susie Snyder, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN (10’)


Panel Discussion (10’)

Break (3’) + VIDEO: Women and the Common Good (2’)


3.      Food and Family: Women and Socio-economic Contexts (55 minutes)

Moderator: Ms. Marcela Chapa Garza, Head of the Vatican Covid-19 Commission Secretariat


●      Dr. Marcela Villarreal, Director partnerships, advocacy and capacity development, Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO (10’)

●      Prof. Vera Negri Zamagni, Professor of Economic History, University of Bologna (10’)

●      Mrs. Linda Ghisoni, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life (10’)


●      Economy of Francesco (10’)

Panel discussion (10’) Concluding remarks:

Mons. Fernando Chica Arellano, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations (FAO, IFAD, PAM) (5’)


1 Cf. Statement of His Excellency, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, at the Workshop on Science and Innovations for a Sustainable Food System Preparing for the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, organized by the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit in cooperation with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, on 21 April 2021.