Mountains and cities, rural-urban dynamics


On 5-8 February 2017, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, hosted a workshop on rural-urban dynamics. The workshop “Feeding the cities: promoting food security and nutrition in an urbanizing world” was organized by the Università degli Studi di Roma ‘Tor Vergata’ within the framework of the Erasmus Mundus Master programme in international cooperation and urban development (Mundus Urbano).

The workshop, designed for post-graduate university students enrolled in Mundus Urbano, included sessions presented by university professors, international experts and government officials. The event provided an opportunity to explore current urbanization trends and analyse possible implications on the future of food systems, food security and nutrition. It aimed to increase knowledge and skills on:

• Urban planning and governance;
• Food security and nutrition;
• Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators (especially related to SDG 2 and 11);
• Land management tenure systems;
• Environmental and ecosystem management; and
• Social issues, such as women's empowerment in the context of change and youth employment.

Rosalaura Romeo, Programme Officer of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, gave a presentation on “Mountains, cities, and food and water security – building alliances for a sustainable future” during the workshop on 6 February. In her presentation, she explained how some of the world’s largest cities, including New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Tokyo and Melbourne, are dependent on freshwater from mountains and that the ten largest rivers originating in the Hindi Kush Himalayas alone supply freshwater to over 1.35 billion people. Rosalaura furthermore highlighted that mountains, preserving a large portion of the world’s precious gene pools for agriculture and medicine, are important for many cities’ food security.

“The way forward includes enhanced climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods for mountain communities by improving governance and multi-stakeholder partnerships, developing the technical capacity of stakeholders, capitalizing opportunities to access climate financing, sharing traditional and scientific knowledge of mountains, and specific mountain policies and investment to increase mountain communities’ well-being and slow out-migration trends from mountain areas, as well as targeted advocacy and communication campaigns,” explained Rosalaura.

Mundus Urbano is a university interdisciplinary post-graduate programme, partially financed by the European Commission, and organized by four European universities, including Technische Universität in Darmstadt, Germany; Università degli Studi di Roma ‘Tor Vergata’ in Italy; Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain; and Université Grenoble Alpes in France.

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Photo: FAO/Sara Manuelli

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