The United Nations (UN) will be celebrating its 76th foundation anniversary this October 24. Because of that, October of every year is known all over the world, including the Philippines, as the UN month. The country is one of the original 51 UN member-states when it was first established in 1945.

In connection to this, 2021 has been declared as the “International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV).” This is according to a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly last December 2019 (A/RES/74/244). The Department of Education is expected to adopt this as the official theme for the UN month celebration for 2021.

In the said resolution, the UN General Assembly noted that there is “the urgent need to raise awareness of the nutritional and health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption and to advocate for healthy diets through increased sustainable production and consumption of fruits and vegetables.”

The international organization also emphasized governments around the world should be “raising awareness of and directing policy attention to the nutritional and health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption, the contribution of fruit and vegetable consumption to the promotion of diversified, balanced and healthy diets and lifestyles, reducing loss and waste of fruits and vegetables and sharing best practices in this regard.”

United Nations month theme 2021 DepEd
The United Nations has declared 2021 as the “International Year of Fruits and Vegetables” (Photo credits: .org/fruits-vegetables-2021/en/)

For its part, the Food and Agriculture Organization explained that the IYFV 2021 as “a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security, and health and as well in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals.” As a tropical country with an economy that still depends on agriculture, “International Year of Fruits and Vegetables” will surely resonate among Filipinos.

Last January, the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Institute stressed that UN’s declaration should prompt Filipinos to look at the fruit and vegetable sector holistically as an integral part of the food system. The agency also made a commitment “to go beyond nutritional benefits and further give awareness on their social, economic, and environmental advantages—consequently addressing the challenges on food availability and sustainability.”

Activities in connection to the theme will be held in schools of all levels nationwide. The celebration are usually led by the schools’ respective Social Studies Departments and UN student organizations. School activities in connection the UN Month celebration include quiz bees, as well as essay-writing and poster-making contests. Because of the still-ongoing coronavirus pandemic, most of the events in connection to the UN month celebration will most likely be done online.

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