ROME, ITALY — The United Nations and Expo 2015 signed an agreement on Nov. 14 confirming the UN’s major support for Expo 2015, during which global attention will zero in on the challenge to eradicate hunger and poverty and on producing enough nutritious food for a world population expected to top 9 billion people by 2050. 

Expo 2015’s theme, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is at the heart of the UN’s founding principles to combat hunger and poverty. Expo will run in Milan for six months from May until the end of October 2015.

The Expo theme touches upon food security and nutrition, sustainability, poverty reduction, development and cooperation, said  José Graziano da Silva, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Claudia von Roehl, director of the Government Partnership Division at the World Food Programme (WFP).

The UN system is closing ranks behind the call to bring the vision of a sustainable, hunger-free world to Expo Milano 2015, FAO, IFAD and WFP stressed.

Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino, said, “With Italy being the location of most of the agencies of the UN dedicated to food and nutrition, it goes without saying that for us, [this] active participation and engagement in Expo is considered by my government as one of the most important engagements we wanted to achieve.

“Expo is not only the promotion of a theme. We would like to have an Expo which will not be remembered because of skyscrapers or architecture, but because of ideas, and because of projects, commitments and ideas that will follow up from this Expo.” 

“Of all the participants in Expo Milano 2015, the UN was the first international organization to show its support and is the first to sign a contract,” said Giuseppe Sala, Italy’s commissioner for Expo 2015. “I am very proud of this outcome and to see here representatives of all three agencies – FAO, IFAD and WFP – that are responsible for food and nutrition at the global level, and which will guide UN participation in Expo Milano 2015.

“This synergy shows once again the global interest in the theme of the World Exposition. “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” takes on a challenge that needs us united: assuring healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, with a view toward sustainable development.”

The work of the UN will be on display across Expo 2015, and its themes mirrored throughout the more than 110 hectares of pavilion space, rather than being one among hundreds of exhibitors. 

Expo 2015 will allow the UN to spotlight its decades of knowledge and expertise with the aim of ramping up efforts to one day achieve the goal of healthy, sufficient food for every person on the globe.

Expo Milano is expected to draw some 20 million visitors to Italy in 2015. So far, 22 UN agencies have submitted proposals for exhibits, that will all center on a common UN message. During today’s signing ceremony, an international competition was also launched for best practices in sustainable development, which will be on display at Expo.