FAO Forum on Food, Agriculture and Cities: Challenges and Priorities

More and more of the world’s population is becoming concentrated in and around large cities. Ensuring that the billions of people living in cities have their rightful access to adequate amounts of safe and nutritious food represents a global development challenge of the highest order. Promoting sustainable agricultural production in urban and peri-urban areas and developing food systems capable of meeting urban consumer demand will become increasingly important to global food security. Currently however, the important relationship between food security, agriculture and urbanization is often not sufficiently recognized. Since 2001, the FAO Food for the Cities initiative has been contributing to increased dialogue and partnerships with institutions at international and national levels, and in particular with local authorities. Technical assistance and support in policy formulation and urban planning to institutions and groups is required, in order to ensure access of the urban population to safe food and healthy and secure environments. A recent briefing note on “Food, agriculture and cities: challenges and priorities” highlights the major issues related to food, agriculture and cities and provides a set of recommendations for action at the global, national and local level (please find attached). In order to pursue the work, broaden the approaches, bring new insights, for cities both of developing, intermediate or developed countries, FAO proposes a discussion on the forum http://km.fao.org/fsn/fsn-home/en/ . The Forum is open from this week onwards and will run for the coming 3 weeks.

Any contribution related to food, agriculture and cities are useful that may illustrate, comment or debate on the briefing note is useful. If there needs to be focus on some points, 3 main issues may require a more specific attention:

  1. How would you illustrate or highlight the links between food security in cities, urban-centred food systems and urban-rural linkages? Do you have any examples, good practices or lessons learned to be reported?
  2. Regarding the priorities at a national and local level, what issues/themes would you propose and would like to focus on?
  3. At a global level, how could you and your organization participate/contribute to a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform? What priorities would you have?

This forum discussion will be active for 3 weeks, and will overlap with the World Summit on Food Security. The Summit itself will take place on November 16 to 18, 2009 in Rome and is preceded by three major events (Civil Society Forum, Private Sector Forum, Parliamentarians meeting). We expect that your contributions will therefore be useful to bring elements to the process and also feed into the preparation of the 5th World Urban Forum 5th session which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, next March.

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