January 18, 2017
Chefs Roca Brothers, first year working with the UN
In Davos, UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors unveiled a chocolate bonbon dessert inspired by a social project with the SDG Fund in Nigeria
Davos, 18 January 2017.
On their first anniversary as UN Goodwill Ambassadors, the acclaimed master chefs Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca, known as the Roca Brothers, presented a new chocolate creation to raise awareness on food waste and hunger during a gala dinner at the World Economic Forum 2017, in Davos (Switzerland). The dinner gathered chefs, celebrities, UN representatives and business leaders under the slogan “Global Goals dinner for a Healthy, Not Hungry, Inclusive World”. Singer Shakira, four-time Olympic gold medalist Mike Johnson, film director and SDG advocate Richard Curtis and refugee Olympian Yusra Mardini also participated in the dinner.
Bombón Kaduna, a sustainable recipe for change
The chocolate, titled “Bombón Kaduna”, comes from the Rocas’ collaboration with the Sustainable Development Goals Fund in Kaduna, Nigeria. The SDG Fund is an interagency mechanism created by the United Nations to foster collaboration among UN Agencies, governments, civil society and the private sector to achieve the SDGs. Since their appointment as UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors in January 2016, the Roca Brothers have been working with the SDG Fund in sustainable food initiatives and projects to tackle hunger and undernutrition.
Food security and good nutrition remain a key challenge for many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time rampant food loss occurs. In Nigeria, out of the 1.5 million tons of tomatoes harvested each year, up to 75% are lost. “With our team, together with the SDG Fund and its partners from government, private sector, farmers and UN Agencies, we are contributing to “Food Africa”, a project to reduce post-harvest losses and create youth employment in Kaduna, in the North of the country. “Preserving tomatoes is our first goal”.
“Bombón Kaduna makes use of tomato and pepper, two key ingredients used generously and ubiquitously in local cuisine in Nigeria where we will be working to help local communities over the next three years”, explained Joan Roca. “We are exploring food preservation techniques, such as the dried tomatoes used in this chocolate that can reduce food waste and create new market opportunities for young farmers”. The Rocas also make use of fair trade chocolate “which comes from an environmental project we support with cocoa farmers in Piura, Peru, where as in many developing countries, agriculture represents the most important source of livelihoods”.
It is fitting to talk of hunger and undernutrition in Davos, coinciding with the 2017 global meeting of the World Economic Forum, where world leaders are discussing “responsive and responsible leadership”. According to Paloma Durán, SDG Fund director, “poverty, inefficient food production systems, climate change and conflict are the principal cause of hunger. We see all this affecting Kaduna, North Nigeria, where the Roca Brothers are generously contributing their expertise and knowledge to develop more sustainable food preservation techniques that can generate new jobs”. This is an example, of how sustainable food and agriculture can reduce waste, create jobs, preserve culinary traditions and open new market opportunities, all key to achieving the SDGs.
One year of sustainable development goals
Zero hunger is the sustainable development goal number 2 out of 17 global goals agreed as a global roadmap for sustainable development from 2016 to 2030. In order to advocate for more sustainability in the food industry, the three brothers from Girona, Spain, whose restaurant has been twice named best in the world, were appointed by the UN as Goodwill Ambassadors in January 2016. This is the first time three brothers and chefs have taken up this role for the UN. During the last twelve months, in this capacity, the brothers have used their scarce spare time to deepen their social and environmental commitment.
“At the appointment by the UN last year, Joan, Josep and Jordi were very straightforward with us at the SDG Fund. They wanted to advocate for the fight against hunger, but they wanted first and foremost to work on the ground with local communities to learn with them and from them”, affirmed Durán. “The project in Kaduna is the first example of this. Beyond photo opportunities, they were looking for real opportunities for change”.
In addition to “Food Africa”, the brothers are exploring similar initiatives in other areas of Latin America and Asia. The Rocas have also participated in several dialogues and discussions organized by the UN on how food can be produced and consumed more sustainably and together with the SDG Fund they started an online campaign on sustainable cooking- #recipe4change. In the words of the brothers, “the food industry should not be a threat to sustainability, but a source of sustainable development”.