When dealing with the sustainable development, food and nutrition take on an extremely fundamental role. Because of the utmost importance of these two issues, the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation works adopting a multi-disciplinary approach to analyze the relationship between nutrition and sustainable development. Its main aim is to promote the sectoral interaction between academia, politics, business and civil society to ease the seeking for solutions to current challenges and to achieve the goals of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. Indeed, the food system is facing worldwide severe challenges related to the increasing population demanding to be fed, the growing malnutrition afflicting one out of three people, and hunger. With all of this in mind, BCFN Foundation to organized the 8th International Forum on Food and Nutrition, in Milan this December 2017.


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The two day event made up of seminars and workshops, addressed the environmental and socio-economic challenges that the food system has to face worldwide. Policy makers, academics, representatives of the private sector, and members of several networks have been invited to attend the event to share their knowledge and thoughts on this issue as related to the 2030 Agenda. Especially, themes as food security, climate changes and migrations, sustainable food systems (at urban, national and supranational level), have been the focus of the second day, when influential speakers explored and spread their knowledge about these topics.

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The new generations were the leading figures of the first day, which brought together young researchers and leaders from all over the world in order to collect their ideas, aiming to solve urgent problems linked with the situation of the food system. Some SDSN Youth representatives also attended the workshop session, where a number of youth networks representatives gave rise to new ideas and solutions with the purpose to develop and strengthen partnerships, to better face challenges related with the full achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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The co-participatory session saw the representatives of the BCFN Alumni Association, BCFN Yes!, SDSN Youth, EAAE, UFWH, SIYLAB, ENACTUS, and IFAD working closely together to brainstorm solutions. The idea design phase was characterized by a lively and intense debate among all the participants, which kicked off an intense and inclusive conversation leading to eight ideas, addressing eight different SDGs. The aim of this working session was fully achieved when each group presented its ideas on the stage during the plenary session in the late afternoon. Participants showed a huge passion in integrating their ideas and in cooperating to find potential solutions, trying to bypass the divergences in their point of view and fields of research. Instead, the added value of the workshop session has been their ability to transform differences into opportunities of sharing and working together, in order to bypass the complexity and those obstacles linked with the severity of the situation.


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“The food system is hungry for new ideas” is the slogan of the Forum. One of the most important message thrown to the audience during the event has been an invitation to young researchers, students and citizens to motivate themselves and to take action, if we really want something to change. The workshop session has had indeed the power to do exactly that, which constitutes an effective proof demonstrating the potential of young people and how much they could be the bearer and driver of new ideas to tackle current and future challenges.


Alice Cavalieri is a PhD student in Political Science, European Politics and International Relation at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies (Pisa, Italy). Her research interests concern mainly budgetary policies and the allocation of financial resources among policy sectors in a comparative perspective, focusing in particular on the decision-making process. She is also Network Coordinator of SDSN Youth Italy and the Mediterranean region.