Unsafe food causes an estimated 600 million people to suffer from foodborne diseases each year, at a cost of at least US$100 billion in low- and middle-income countries, over half of which is recorded in just 28 nations. But efforts to strengthen food safety systems globally are fragmented, despite food safety playing a fundamental role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The First International Food Safety Conference, hosted jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Union (AU), will bring together government leaders, senior policy makers, and representatives from international organizations, civil society and the private sector, to identify key actions and strategies to address current and future challenges to food safety globally; and to strengthen commitment at the highest political level to scale up food safety in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Conference speakers are scheduled to include the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (incoming African Union chairman), President of Rwanda Paul Kagame (outgoing African Union chairman), Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Heads of state and government, ministers from health, agriculture, trade, environment and other sectors, plus leaders of international organizations, civil society and the private sector, are expected to attend.
Outcomes: The event is expected to adopt a high-level political statement advocating for increased and better coordinated collaboration, technical support and investment to improve food safety globally.
Interview opportunities: Accredited journalists can attend all Conference sessions and access the onsite press centre. A press conference will be held on 12 February following the opening session. High-level national and international officials will be taking part. In addition, interviews can be arranged with officials and experts attending the conference.
What: The First FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference
When: 12-13 February 2019; the opening session will start at 9:30 am on 12 February.
Where: Mandela Hall, African Union Conference Center, African Union Headquarters, Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).