U.N. Chief Guterres Declares 2021 International Year of Fruits and Vegetables

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres listens to a question during a press conference at The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Nonthaburi, Thailand, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday expressed disappointment the world is not eating enough greens. To that end, he declared 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables to encourage people to stay longer at the meal table and eat properly.

In a message launching the campaign, the Portuguese socialist despaired that despite the “tremendous benefits of fruits and vegetables” and the work already done by the U.N. to encourage their consumption, “we do not consume enough of them.” He said:

Fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy and varied diet. They provide the human body with an abundance of nutrients, strengthen immune systems and help lower risks for a number of diseases.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the health and livelihoods of people across the world, we must come together to ensure that nutritious food, including fruits and vegetables, reaches the most vulnerable, leaving no one behind.

He called on all stakeholders to make food systems “more inclusive, resilient and sustainable,” including through adopting a “more holistic approach to production and consumption that benefits human and environmental health.”

“Let us use this International Year to rethink our relationship with how we produce and consume food,” Guterres continued, “and to re-examine our food systems and commit to a healthier, more resilient and sustainable world where everyone can access and afford the diverse nutrition they need.”

Guterres said the 2021 International Year of Fruits and Vegetables complements several other U.N. initiatives including the Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025), the Decade of Family Farming (2019-2028), and the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (dates pending).

The U.N. leader has never shied away from calling for change in a host of areas he deems in urgent need of correct thinking:

Already looking ahead to future endeavours, the U.N. has declared 2024 will be International Year of Camelids in honor of dromedary camels, Bactrian camels, wild Bactrian camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos.

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