The top 5 agri-food universities in the world have agreed to fight hunger together: UC Davis, Cornell University, China Agricultural University, University of Sao Paulo and Wageningen University & Research. The main collaboration will first focus on education with a special role for students and staff exchange: subsequently, they will work together on research. This has been agreed at the international SDG Conference, held in Wageningen on the 30th and 31st of August.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals include eradicating hunger in the world by 2030, as formulated in SDG goal number 2 (Zero Hunger). To achieve this goal, education is of crucial importance.
Therefore the 5 agri-food universities, who call themselves A5, agreed to cooperate in developing new educational and research programs to come to the necessary transformation of food systems. They want to empower students and educate the new leaders of tomorrow. The universities also want to stimulate the exchange of students and staff members to increase their knowledge.
The next generation is instrumental in the decision by the 5 agri-food universities to work together. The universities want to give young people more say in how to organise their future. This was already an integral part of the SDG Conference in Wageningen. Simultaneous to the main conference students organised their own e-conference, a ‘foodathon’, in which more than one hundred students in all continents discussed food issues during 36 hours. They provided a digital platform through which youth worldwide could interact, exchange knowledge and create solutions to challenges related to Zero Hunger.
The outcome of their discussions have been presented at a solutions market of the SDG conference, where numerous organisations have agreed to act as kickstarter to end hunger, among others by providing knowledge, experience and their network to the next generation. As Wageningen Rector Magnificus, Arthur Mol expressed, ‘The youth presented the most valuable part of the conference’.