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Food for the cities programme

German Habitat Forum 2016: Towards Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda



The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the federal state of Berlin hosted the German Habitat Forum in Berlin during 1-2 June 2016. It was an opportunity to debate sustainable solutions to urban challenges. The UN-Habitat Executive Director and Habitat III Secretary General, who participated at the event, will bring the Berlin Recommendations for the Cities of Tomorrow to the Habitat III Bureau of the Preparatory Committee, as inputs for the ongoing negotiations on the New Urban Agenda.

FAO/IFAD workshop on strengthening rural-urban linkages through Food and Agriculture

During the German Habitat Forum, FAO and IFAD organized a workshop on “Realizing Inclusive and Sustainable Rural-Urban Linkages through Food and Agriculture” to identify key messages for the Berlin Recommendations. Six panelists representing international, regional, national, territorial
and municipal perspectives presented their experiences on improving current food systems through a territorial development approach that target sustainability, resilience and inclusiveness, engage smallholder farmers, and link urban and rural areas. The panelists were:

o    Rudiger Ahrend, Head of the Urban Programme of the OECD’s Directorate for Public Governance;
o    Gino van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability;
o    Daniela Chacón, Deputy Mayor of Quito Municipality, Ecuador;
o    German Jeub, Head of Department for EU Policy, International Cooperation and Fisheries at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany;
o    N. Nilwala, Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Land, Irrigation, Animal Product, Health and Agrarian Development, Western Province, Sri Lanka;
o    Henk Renting, Senior Program Officer at the RUAF Foundation (International Network of Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security).

The workshop recommendations  are taken into consideration in the ongoing debate on the New Urban Agenda, the intended outcome of Habitat III Conference to be held in Quito on October 2016. The following messages were drawn from the discussions for inclusion in the Berlin Recommendations:

  • There can be no sustainable urbanization without sustainable rural development. Integrated and inclusive territorial development approaches, which take into account the multiple reciprocal flows between rural and urban areas, need to be strengthened.
  • A national framework needs to be developed. It should enable local governments to be innovative in developing food policies, foster rural and urban linkages, and shape sustainable production and consumption patterns through partnerships with all stakeholders – including smallholder famers.
  • Food and agriculture, especially smallholder farming, have to be included as key elements in integrated territorial development strategies. This is necessary to enhance social and spatial equality for all citizens living in both urban and rural areas. Food systems should be recognized as appropriate entry points that bring together different policy efforts and investments across sectors and which contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Conclusion and the next steps towards and beyond Quito

The Berlin Recommendations for Habitat III include discussions raised during the workshop. Their vision for cities it is stated that cities:
               o    will be guarantors of quality of life for all;
               o    contribute to achieving prosperity for all;
               o    lead in attaining a sustainable and decarbonized world; and
               o    strengthen rural-urban linkages and support food security.  

The German Habitat Forum has also identified the following six priority areas for action:

  1. Empower cities as actors to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement
  2. Initiate transformative approaches for sustainable urban development
  3. Strengthen the enabling institutional, legal and financial frameworks for cities
  4. Create opportunities for engagement and initiate partnerships for implementation
  5. Focus the follow-up of the New Urban Agenda on policy dialogue and learning
  6. Give more voice to cities in global urban governance

Through the Berlin Recommendations’ vision for cities, integrated territorial development, urban-rural linkages and food security will be included in the discussions on the New Urban Agenda. The focus is now on refining the messages and anticipating the follow up and implementation after Quito. Further discussions and meetings will be held in Quito and Rome in October, and in the months following Habitat III, to highlight the modalities for strengthening urban-rural linkages through policy support, investment, governance and capacity building across national and international levels.