Since 2007 the world's population is predominantly urban. FAO has been following with attention the acceleration of urbanisation over the last 20 years and its implications for the Organisation. FAO's Strategic Framework 2000-2015 and corresponding Medium Term Plans therefore identified Food for the Cities as a Priority Area for Inter-disciplinary Action.
The task of feeding the world's cities adequately constitutes an increasingly pressing challenge, requiring the co-ordinated interaction of food producers, transporters, market operators and a myriad of retail sellers. It also requires constant improvements in the quality of transport and distribution systems. Not least, it involves a shared understanding among city officials and national and international development agencies of the common problems and the potential solutions faced when seeking to feed cities on a sustainable basis.
Jacques Diouf FAO Director-General (FAO: The State of Food and Agriculture 1998)
If poverty in the cities is not explicitly addressed and food not given the needed attention in urban planning, the Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved. This can only be done within a comprehensive perspective linking cities to rural areas.
... urban poverty tends to be fuelled by people migrating towards the cities in an attempt to escape the deprivations associated with rural livelihoods. Partly due to the rural decline, the world is urbanizing at a fast pace and it will not be long before a greater part of developing country populations is living in large cities. Therefore, urban food security and its related problems should also be placed high on the agenda in the years to come.
Jacques Diouf FAO Director-General (FAO: The State of Food Insecurity 2006)