In a few days, the 65th World Exhibition to be held this year in Milan will start. Entitled “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, this event is at the crossroads of many areas related to major policies of the EU such as development, innovation and agriculture.
A new type of exhibition
Milan EXPO 2015 is the first of its kind to focus on this essential theme of food. The challenge will be to highlight a paradox of our time, when more than 850 million people suffer from hunger in the world, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year.
The participating countries will present their food production methods, whether traditional or based on technological innovations. The objective of this exhibition is to constitute a real platform for debate on food and sustainable development issues in order to find answers to major challenges such as the fight against hunger, reducing food waste or scarcity of natural resources. It is therefore an important event for the EU, which will have its own pavilion in Milan, both regarding policy development and natural resource management.
Development, a major issue for the EU in 2015
As the world’s largest donor in terms of development aid, this conference is particularly important for the EU. Moreover, in addition to the exhibition of Milan, 2015 will be a pivotal year at several levels concerning development issues for the European Union, which has dedicated this year to the development policy. This is the first time in 30 years that a European Year is devoted to the Union’s foreign policy. The purpose of this initiative is to draw attention to these issues in the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda of the United Nations. Indeed, the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations will expire in 2015. Several objectives are unlikely to be achieved, including reducing the number of undernourished people, which further raises the stakes of the 2015 Universal exhibition.
Resource management and sustainability
Another major issue of the conference is the question of sustainable development in relation to food. On Monday, April 13 the Commission launched an online consultation on how science and innovation can help feed the world. Science and innovation are indeed essential to ensure proper access to food from sustainable production.
The EU is already active in this field, both through its innovation and agricultural policies. Substantial funds from Horizon 2020 will be devoted to major challenges such as food security or sustainable agriculture. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is also paying close attention to the issues of resource use and transition to a low-carbon economy through its financial instrument, the EAFRD, which has a budget of € 96 billion for 2014-2020.
According to David Wilkinson, director of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, which will coordinate the EU’s participation in Milan EXPO, Europe needs to be an example regarding methods to be adopted in food and energy production. It starts with a successful participation in Milan EXPO 2015 and the many scientific events that will be hosted under its pavilion.