Urbanization, Rural Transformation and implications for food security and nutrition

Traditionally, governments and the international community have tended to focus on urban and rural development as separate ‘sectors’ and challenges, and usually through the lens of sectoral progress. Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (particularly SDG2, SDG10 and SDG11), the New Urban Agenda, the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition and the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact , have marked a significant and unprecedented shift towards de-constructing the rural-urban dichotomy, and reframing the policy environment around a more holistic approach to integrated policies.

At CFS 43 in 2016, CFS held a Forum on Urbanization, Rural Transformation and Implications for Food Security and Nutrition in order to reach a better understanding of the issues at stake, identify key areas for policy attention and possible roles for CFS.

As a follow-up to the Forum, and following the adoption of the New Urban Agenda at Habitat III, the Committee compiled experiences and effective policy approaches having rural-urban linkages as a primary focus, and touching upon governance, sustainability, food systems and social and economic equity issues. The resulting document “ Addressing food security and nutrition in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics: experiences and effective policy approaches ”, identified some key policy implications and knowledge gaps which were discussed at CFS 44 in October 2017.

To further explore the policy implications, CFS will hold two events in 2018-2019, looking at the food security and nutrition implications of urbanization and rural transformation on lower income groups and on promoting youth and women engagement and employment in food systems across the rural-urban continuum. These will help CFS determine the feasibility of further policy work on these topics.