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Cities and Local Governments at the forefront - Key results from the FAO Survey “Urban Food Systems and COVID-19”

FAO Webinar presentation - Urban Food Systems and COVID-19 Key results from a FAO Global Survey - 29 July 2020










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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Cities and local governments at the forefront in building inclusive and resilient food systems
    Key results from the FAO Survey “Urban Food Systems and COVID-19", Revised version
    2020
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    The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting urban food systems worldwide, affecting the food security and nutrition of urban populations. With up to 70% of the global food supply destined for urban consumption, the disruption of urban food systems has particularly affected the food distribution and the food retail sectors. The management of the crisis by city and local governments can therefore play a major role in preventing the spread of the virus and, at the same time, in mitigating the disruptions in their food systems and any negative effects on vulnerable populations. It was consequently deemed very important for FAO to map the municipal responses to the emergency, and to analyze progress and setbacks in managing disruptions in the urban food systems and related implications for food security and nutrition. Such understanding will strengthen the evidence-base on which countries will build policies and programmes dealing with the crisis and its effects. It will also provide valuable information on how to strengthen the performance and resilience of urban food systems. In an effort to better understand how city and local governments faced the challenges of food systems disruptions associated with COVID-19, information was collected through a survey of relevant stakeholders. The survey questionnaire was administered between April and May 2020 . 860 urban actors returned the completed questionnaire, 56% of which were members of local governments while the rest of the respondents were members of academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and national governments.
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    Urban Food Policy Assistance
    Supporting national and local governments to design urban food policy and attract investment
    2019
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    The complexity of urbanization and food-system sustainability means national policies, sub-national and city-level strategies, plans and actions need to be more coherent to have impact. Currently, the majority of national and city-level urban policies do not adequately address food-system and nutritional issues, nor do policies in food security and nutrition address urban issues. There is a clear need to ensure adequate coordination between the various levels of government and institutions involved in urban food-policy development. National Urban Policies provide an opportunity to integrate food systems and natural-resource management into national development policy frameworks and take a major step towards the 2030 Agenda. Inclusive food governance mechanisms, such as food policy councils, and the development of integrated and evidence-based food plans and actions are crucial strategies that municipal decision-makers could use to integrate food systems into the urban development policy processes. This programme will help mainstream sustainable food systems and nutrition into the formulation and implementation of urban policies, fostering leadership at local level and promoting innovative synergies between local and national authorities, civil-society organizations, the private sector, academic institutions and other participants.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Urban food systems and COVID-19
    The role of cities and local governments in responding to the emergency
    2020
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    Cities, with their high population density, are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic and many cities in developing countries do not have adequate capacity to address the disruptions caused by the response to the health emergency. The risk is particularly high for the 1.2 billion people living in the congested and overcrowded informal urban settlements where conditions are already unsafe and unhealthy for human living. The very poor and those living in slums have extremely limited access to essential health and sanitation facilities, nutritious food and adequate infrastructure such as piped clean water and electricity. The spread of the virus in crowded cities could have extensive morbidity and mortality consequences for urban populations. The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting urban food systems worldwide, posing a number of challenges for cities and local governments that are obliged to deal with rapid changes in food availability, accessibility and affordability – which strongly impact the food security and nutrition situation of urban populations. The majority of the urban population in developing countries relies on informal sector activities and casual labour including those related to food systems (street food vendors and those working in wet markets) and have access to limited or no assets or savings. Policies to limit the effects of the virus such as lockdowns, or physical distancing can spell disaster for the livelihoods of those individuals and their families leading, inter alia, to food insecurity and deficient nutrition.

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