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Food for the cities programme

Why we do it

At present more than 50 percent of the world’s population is living in urban areas, and it is expected to rise to 70 percent by 2050. This causes an enormous challenge to conventional food production and supply. Food and nutrition security of poor urban populations is and remains at risk as a consequence of the volatility and rapid increases in food prices, natural disasters and climate change effects. This calls for global action.

The international community urgently needs to better define its role and develop tools and methodologies to address the challenges of food and nutrition security, agriculture and management of natural resources in a context of urbanization, one of the major challenges of the 21st century.

Moreover, there is the need to enable local authorities to ensure governance of dynamic and sustainable food systems, contributing to the realization of the right to food and to the promotion of sustainable diets, with strong urban-rural linkages and enabling the involvement of all key local stakeholders, with particular attention to smallholder farmers and local authorities.

Since the 1990s, FAO has collaborated with numerous partners on more than 250 urban-related projects in more than 100 countries. FAO’s  Food for the Cities initiative and the Growing Greener Cities urban and peri-urban horticulture programme have implemented projects and collated successful case studies in urban-related food and agricultural issues.

Although considerable progress has been achieved, more collaborative cooperation is still needed to deal with the potential hazards caused by the rapidly growing urban population and fragile food systems.