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FAO and CAAS(IAED, IUA) Discussed to Facilitate the Green Cities Initiative to Build Back Better

Source: Institute of Agricultural Economics and Development

“China has plenty of experiences on establishing sustainable, resilient and green agriculture and food system, which will be a great contribution to the international society, especially for countries from global south”, a common view reached by the participants in the end of a preliminary discussion between FAO and CAAS, held on 23rd October, co-organized by IAED and IUA, CAAS.

 

 

During the meeting, participants from FAO and CAAS exchanged ideas on how to increase the resilience of urban food systems to meet challenges such as climate change, COVID-19 pandemic, food security and safety, as well as natural resources management. Besides, each side introduced its professional advantages. It was agreed to explore further collaboration, through south-south cooperation and other channels, on the areas of urban and peri-urban agriculture, urban food systems planning, circular economy, etc.

 

Guido Santini (FAO Officer) introduced in the beginning that, the world’s urbanization rate is growing rapidly. Today, 55 percent of the global population lives in urban areas, which is expected to rise to 68 percent by 2050. Cities already use almost 80 percent of the total energy produced in the world and consume up to 70 percent of the food supply. To meet the nutritional needs of these growing urban populations is more and more difficult – and this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even harder. Without safe, nutritious and affordable food in such restricted movements and closed markets, cities cannot meet the above challenges. He highlighted the importance of building green space for cities to improve not only food system resilience but also the environmental benefits.

 

Eduardo Mansur, Director of OCB (FAO), set forth the background and key info of “FAO Green Cities Initiative”. He said that, on the occasion of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, FAO launched the Green Cities Action Programme, a new initiative focusing on small, intermediate and metropolitan cities that aims to improve people’s wellbeing through increased availability of and access to products and services provided by green spaces, including urban and peri-urban forestry, agriculture and by sustainable food systems. The aim is to strengthen the resilience of urban food systems and promote healthy diets in at least 100 cities, improving the livelihoods and well-being of urban and peri-urban populations. He called for academic experts to join the initiative as active partners, and collaborate with FAO together to build back better for SDGs.

 

Dr. Yang Qichang, Deputy Director General of IUA (Institute of Urban Agriculture, CAAS), listed potential areas that FAO and CAAS can explore. He stated that, IUA is located in Chengdu city, which is also known as Garden City. The principle of IUA on Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture, together with the experience of Chengdu on green space promotion, could contribute greatly to this Initiative and demonstrate for other cities and countries. He looked forward to collaborating with FAO on global development.

 

Based on existing projects and each partner’s strength, Ni Jia, Research Assistant of IAED (Institute of Agricultural Economics and Development, CAAS) suggested to organize sub-group discussions according to different topics, and set timeline for short-medium-long work plan, to implement the potential collaboration down to the ground.

 

Colleagues from various teams of FAO and CAAS participated in the discussion.

 

“FAO and CAAS has long-term collaboration on sustainable crop production and protection, smart agriculture, ICTs application and other areas, and I do believe that this new area will be a great opportunity for both sides to deepen cooperation”, concluded by Ms. Feng Dongxin, Chief Officer of Partnership Division (FAO).

 

                                By Ni Jia (nijia@caas.cn)