India signs cooperation agreement with World Food Programme for 2023-27
Cities can, and should, play a crucial role in the radical change needed to address the problem of hunger, malnutrition and food waste. This was stated by José Graziano da Silva, director general, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), to the mayors and representatives of over 150 cities from around the world who gathered at the third mayor’s meeting of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, which took place in the Spanish city of Valencia.
“Local actions are critical to achieving the goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition, guaranteeing more sustainable food systems which are also more resilient to the effects of climate change, and ensuring a healthy and nutritious diet for all,” he added at the gathering, which was attended by representatives of such cities as Mexico City, Barcelona, Kyoto and Quito, and was a commitment aimed at combating hunger and food waste and improving nutrition.
While the inaugural meeting of mayors of cities of the Pact was held in Milan in 2015, the second took place at the United Nations (UN) agency’s headquarters in Rome last year. Mayors Joan Ribó of Valencia and Giuseppe Sala of Milan also participated in the opening ceremony.
Aligning efforts with the UN’s New Urban Agenda
The FAO chief stressed the importance of fostering collaboration among cities around the world to achieve more sustainable urbanisation and to promote economic, political, social and cultural linkages between the urban and rural areas.
“We cannot accept the dichotomy between the rural and urban areas, which no longer exists,” he said, adding, “We have to adopt a territorial approach based on the integration of the rural with the urban. Only prosperous cities and dynamic rural areas can drive change towards the sustainable food systems we need to fight poverty and hunger.”
To that end, he called for the signatory cities of the Pact to align priorities with the United Nations’ New Urban Agenda, a road map for more sustainable and human-friendly cities approved in the Third UN Habitat Conference on Sustainable Urbanisation, held in Quito, Ecuador.
“The New Agenda makes a concrete call for better urban and territorial planning with a view to ending hunger and malnutrition,” said Graziano da Silva, adding that it also urged for greater coordination between food and energy policies, and those regarding water, health, transport and waste.