Winds of change, or more of the same? Urbanization and rural transformation in the context of emerging global initiativesBy Alison Blay-Palmer
This entry is part of a special series of blog posts about the UN’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS): The Future of the CFS? Collectively reflecting on the directions of UN’s most inclusive body. Read more about this project here. Today we continue with our fourth thematic cluster: “Emerging Issues at the CFS: How are they being addressed?”. In this post, Alison Blay-Palmer reflects on opening at the international level for discussing food with an increasingly regional and sustainability focus. She questions whether emerging initiatives call into question the capacity of the CSM and its constituent groups to achieve its mandate on the Right to Food. This is not an exclusive project. If you would like to participate, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.orgI offer the following comments as a new observer of the CFS process. I attended CFS 42 (2015) and then 43 (2016), and participate in the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) meetings for the SDGs and Urban and Rural Transformation. The food spaces within and between rural and urban communities are simultaneously interconnected and contested in part due to increasing distances between smallholder producers who provide most of the world’s food, and urban eaters who are now in the majority and increasing in numbers. In opposition to the globalization and industrialization that creates these rifts in our food system, and in tandem with increased explicit attention to urban-rural linkages by the CFS, recently launched initiatives such as the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP), New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the City-Region Food System project offer local pathways to more coherent regional sustainable food systems and increased capacity for urban and rural transformation that respects the Right to Food. Nevertheless, being outside of CFS debate, these initiatives might call into question the capacity of the CSM and its constituent groups to engage based on:
- inadequate funding for the CFS,
- a lack of joined-up policy; and;
- the threat to agro-ecological farming systems from high technology.
“We [Heads of State and Government, Ministers and High Representatives] will promote the integration of food security and the nutritional needs of urban residents, particularly the urban poor, in urban and territorial planning, to end hunger and malnutrition. We will promote coordination of sustainable food security and agriculture policies across urban, peri-urban and rural areas to facilitate the production, storage, transport and marketing of food to consumers in adequate and affordable ways to reduce food losses and prevent and reuse food waste. We will further promote the coordination of food policies with energy, water, health, transport and waste policies, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds and reduce the use of hazardous chemicals, and implement other policies in urban areas to maximize efficiencies and minimize waste.”