Seminar addresses feeding Asias
A fish market in
Madras, India p
A fish market in
Growing cities, growing challenges
The population of many Asian cities will double over the next 20 years. Asia faces considerable challenges in providing its urban residents -- already some 45-55 percent of the total population -- access to safe and adequate food.
Food production, processing and distribution issues will be discussed in a series of technical workshops at the seminar, organized by the Association of Food Marketing Agencies in Asia and the Pacific and the Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements (Citynet), with the technical support of FAO.
One objective of the seminar is to prepare a plan of action for the next ten years to strengthen the capacity of city and local authorities to enhance urban food security.
Greater collaboration needed
"National policies address food production, but often not from the perspective of meeting expanding urban food needs," says Mr Argenti. "City authorities often think of urban food security as being the responsibility of the central government. They also often take an antagonistic attitude towards food producers, traders, shopkeepers and street vendors. We need to strengthen the skills of local governments in identifying problems and sustainable solutions, in formulating sound policies and programmes, and create meaningful cooperation in an area where there has not traditionally been cooperation."
The seminar will also aim to facilitate South-South and North-South collaboration and exchanges of technical assistance between cities to address specific urban food supply and distribution constraints.
This event will be attended by 130 participants, among them the mayors and other high-ranking executives of a number of cities in the region, including Calcutta, India; Jakarta, Indonesia; Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan; and Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic. Henry Chabert, the Deputy Mayor of Lyon, France, will participate in his role as President of INTA, the International Network for Urban Development, an association that encourages the exchange of best practices on urban development worldwide.
Also attending will be representatives of food marketing agencies; ministries of agriculture, planning, urban development, commerce and health; research institutions, non-governmental organizations; and donors. Each participant has submitted a short paper on a specific food supply or distribution topic.
"There is commitment in Asia to discuss the issue of urban food insecurity and to determine what can be done," says Mr Argenti. "This seminar will open the door, but its success will depend on how serious city and local authorities are in following up on the recommendations made and on whether the international community will respond by providing the technical assistance local authorities need to address the critical constraints their cities are facing."
23 November 2000