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Youssou N'Dour: "Voice of Africa" to open second international SAVE FOOD Congress

The musician and Senegalese minister works to promote food security as FAO Goodwill Ambassador. Additional prominent speakers including Renate Künast will report on their activities in the fight against food losses and food waste.

With Youssou N'Dour, the "voice of Africa," the second international SAVE FOOD Congress has gained a keynote speaker who is as famous as he is committed. The Senegalese musician, politician and Grammy winner will attend the Congress in Düsseldorf on 7 and 8 May in his capacity as Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO.

Youssou N'Dour has been an FAO supporter since 2000 already, but he has also worked with UNICEF and the International Red Cross. In Senegal, as well as far beyond the country's borders, N'Dour is considered a cultural icon and influential fighter for social rights. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, he staunchly backed an imprisoned Nelson Mandela, performed at the 1988 "Amnesty International Human Rights Now!" tour and participated in UN campaigns against landmines.

N'Dour has also made a name for himself as a musician thanks to a string of successful projects. For instance, he and Peter Gabriel are considered the "inventors" of world music, and many call him the father of contemporary Senegalese pop. N'Dour has collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Neneh Cherry and Wyclef Jean, among others. At the dawn of the new millennium, he intensified his activities in the political arena: He was appointed Senegal's Minister of Culture and Tourism in 2012, and he's currently running for mayor of Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

Youssou N'Dour predominantly supports the FAO through public calls for action on the issue of food security. Thus, he's the perfect keynote speaker to launch the second international SAVE FOOD Congress.

"I'm thrilled that Youssou N'Dour will be kicking off our Congress. His name stands for unwavering commitment – and for our fundamental idea of cooperating and networking across sectors. He and the other high-profile participants will bring our Congress to life and ensure that our shared concern can and will reach even more people," says Werner M. Dornscheidt, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH.

In addition, the SAVE FOOD Initiative is privileged to welcome other well-known participants and speakers – Renate Künast, for example, the Green Party politician, former minister for consumer protection and current chairwoman of the German parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection. In her presentation, entitled "Less is more – Strategies against food waste," she will shed new light on this critical issue.

Three years after its inception, the SAVE FOOD Initiative has grown into a broad international alliance boasting more than 110 members. It serves to connect political officials, leaders from the food and packaging industries, retailers, researchers and representatives from civil society. Featuring a line-up of high-calibre speakers, the second SAVE FOOD Congress will illuminate various aspects of the issue of food losses and food waste and outline possible solutions. What's more, it will serve as a forum for a mutual exchange of ideas, collaborative projects and the identification of best practices.

Each day, the Congress will emphasise a different set of issues. Day 1 will focus on big-picture political and civil-society approaches, while Day 2 will predominantly cover industrial and corporate best-practice case studies. The majority of speakers on this day will represent the private sector. Panel discussions will serve to enliven the programme on both days. Additionally, film director and producer Valentin Thurn will show clips from his film "Die Essensretter" ("The Food Savers"), which deals with practical approaches to reducing the amount of food ending up on the waste pile.

In addition to the Congress, visitors can look forward to the Innovationparc Packaging, the trade fair's very own forum for future-oriented special topics, which will feature, among other things, the latest corporate innovations for reducing food losses.

To obtain the complete programme of events scheduled for 7 and 8 May, please visit the website and select "Congress 2014."

About one third of all food produced for human consumption is thrown away or lost. Less than one fourth of the food presently lost worldwide would suffice to feed the starving population of the world. The event on 7 and 8 May will bring us one step closer to our goal of effectively reducing food losses.



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