Urbanization is, with climate change, among the greatest challenges of the XXIst century. Today, already more than 50 % of the population lives in urban areas. By 2050, urban dwellers will make about 70 % of the 9 billion people. All the increase of population will in fact take place in cities, in Asia and Africa. There has been many examples in the recent years - from the food riots in 2008-2009 to the Arab Spring - that food insecurity in cities can lead to civil unrest or conflicts. Development goals regarding food and nutrition security have to consider explicitly the urban areas.
Because poverty is measured mainly through money, the MDGs may have been partially blind on food and nutrition security for the urban dwellers. Indeed, in a specific country, 1$ often does not have the same value in a rural area or in a city. Besides, in a rural area, there are often still a lot of non-monetary economy (in low but also in high income countries) while a city is mainly a market place. Moreover, in a city, you have to pay for housing (even in informal housing and slums), transportation, health and education, even before thinking about food. More comprehensive indicators need to be designed to better measure poverty in urban settings.
Among the challenges, we can then suggest:
Local authorities need to be involved in and committed for food and nutrition security for the realization of the right to food. Local authorities should be fully engaged in the governance process, in relations with the National Government. We may seriously consider promoting local food councils as an effective and most progressive way to get all stakeholders together at sub-national level. At municipal level, accountability of the mayors is linked to a close and daily contact with the population.
The “Zero Hunger Challenge” offers a great opportunity as it implicitly include cities:
The first version of the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/026/ME498E.pdf) identifies, among the “issues that may require further attention” (page 36), the “ways to boost rural development to strengthen food security and nutrition in the context of rural‐urban migration”. It is indeed a priority.
The Post-2015 Global Development Framework, objectives, targets and indicators should also be at the local level.
To make the Zero Hunger Challenge more operational, the objectives should be time-bound, with intermediate goals, standing somewhere between 0 and 100%.
The linkages between food and nutrition security and agriculture with the management of natural resources should be more directly reflected in the development goals to further promote sustainable diets.
This thematic discussion was led by FAO and WFP in collaboration with “The World We Want”.
The consultation was facilitated by the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)