“Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”

By Tahia Afra Jannati
Member, Peace Cafe, University Of Dhaka

International Youth Day is observed every year on 12 August to bring youth issues to the forefront. Annually this day is celebrated by the international community to celebrate the potential of youth as active associates in the global community and to create more conversations around the problems faced by the youth.

The theme of International Youth Day 2021 is, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”. The theme aims to highlight the fact that without the meaningful participation of young people the success of such a global effort will not be achieved. Along with this year’s theme other social issues such as climate change, healthcare, social inclusion, and conservation of biodiversity will also be addressed.

In a world drastically affected by Covid-19, we need to create better food systems that meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable. Our food systems are far more vulnerable without the active participation of youngsters. Youth is an important demographic in development. Our generation of youth has a critical role to play in making our food systems more sustainable, resilient, and effective. This active and energetic age group must be leading the way in building better food systems.

Inclusiveness in the production of food is inevitable. Because there is no other way to bring a positive change. Only an inclusive group of young generations can ensure a food system that is sustainable and reduces the nutrition inequity gap. This way everyone can have access to healthy and nutritious food. Food systems have to be gender-inclusive because only this will lead to a positive impact on food production, food preparation, and nutrition.

The youth need support from governments around the world as their allies to play an important role to participate in the redesigning of food systems for a sustainable future. Governments have to encourage and engage young people to set the stage for an inclusive and fair world. Global leaders have to focus on making agriculture more appealing through new technologies or making the system more financially rewarding. It is the sacred responsibility of today’s youth to be on the frontline of the struggle to build a sustainable future. Young innovators have to come forward to address the challenges surrounding our food system.