As another year begins, new sessions of IMUN are finally arriving. IMUN is a project organized by United Network which consists of simulations of the General Assembly or of the commissions of the United Nations, where each participant “pretends” to be a delegate of a certain country and has to confront other people in order to discuss actively about many current topics of interest, according to the “learning by doing” method.

After Rome, Turin, Milan and other cities, from the 28th to the 30th of January IMUN arrives in the worldwide known beautiful city of Venice. Students from all over the region will come to the high school “Benedetti Tommaseo” in order to attend the second edition of IMUN Venice, everyone prepared with their position papers, willing to discuss about the commission’s topics, ready to cooperate to reach a final resolution.

This year, delegates will become part of three different UN’s commissions: the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), which will deal with the topic of developing learning and working possibilities with new and already existing technologies, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in which delegates will discuss how to eradicate racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, and finally the World Food Program (WFP), in which the social and environmental consequences of food waste will be analyzed.

The World Food Program (WFP) is a humanitarian organization, which has its headquarters in Rome, which deals with undernutrition, food security and difficulty to access to food needs, providing food assistance to almost 92 million people in 83 countries around the world. Created in 1961 as an experiment to provide food aid through the UN system, nowadays it is such an important organization, always on the front line, always standing on a state of alert, in order to tackle food emergencies and to mobilize food as fast as possible. Through their operations, WFP is able to act all over the world, particularly in underdeveloped countries which are in constant food shortages, such as Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, providing assistance especially to the people living in a situation of poverty and malnutrition, as well as victims of natural disasters and displaced people. It is important to highlight the dedication of this organization in the fight for achieving very crucial goals, such as protecting livelihoods in emergencies, supporting food security in the most fragile countries, helping people and communities to access to their food needs and reducing undernutrition and the cycle of hunger. The ultimate purpose? A zero-hunger world.

The delegates of this commission will have to discuss about food waste, which represents the food discarded or lost uneaten. This topic is becoming of a great concern, considering that almost one third of the food produced in the world gets lost or wasted, the majority of which reaches its highest peaks in the developed countries, such as Europe or USA, where “people can afford to waste food”. In fact, in the long process in which food undergoes, the Food Supply Chain (FSC), which consists of “production, post-harvest handling and storage, processing, distribution and consumption”, food can be wasted in the first steps, because of the unintentional damage provoked by the mechanical equipment used in  agriculture, or in the processing centers or finally during the distribution, in the supermarkets, where 30-50% of food never reaches our houses as they reach their expiry date without being purchased – not to mention how much food goes to waste every day from our very tables. Food wastage has many social and environmental consequences, such as the wastage of one third of the worldwide land used for production, which can be the cause of the loss of biodiversity, the wastage of water, the waste of energy resources, used during the production and the transport of food, the increase of air pollution, as discarded food ends in landfills and produces for example methane and CO2, as well as an overall economic loss.

Thus, it is of the utmost importance that people become aware of the negative effects of this great issue in order to be better consumers and more careful citizens of the world. Nowadays, there are many scientific studies aimed at lowering this phenomenon as well as humanitarian actions pursued by many organizations, which want to give their own contribution in order to cut the food waste around the world. In fact, UN bodies, international organizations, NGOs, as well as small cooperatives, supermarkets, even internet websites are trying to carry out projects, campaigns, and initiatives in order to increase the awareness of this topic and to set up efficient programs to tackle food waste.

These aspects, together with many others, will be of great concern for the delegates, ready to give their own contribution in order to make themselves heard to carry out their positions and ideas, with the aim of achieving a diplomatic solution. In fact, beyond the important and interesting topics which characterize every IMUN, what it is really about is to create a place of mutual respect, of collaboration, of exchange of ideas, of sharing a common interest towards the world’s issues in order to find solutions to make it a better place.

Irene Martinolli