Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launches Green Cities Action Program for Africa

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The counties of Nairobi and Kisumu are part of the pilot phase of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently launched by the regional action program Green Cities for Africa. The program aims to apply innovative solutions and to make urbanization an opportunity for cities to become more sustainable, more resilient, to provide access to healthy food and to ensure a better life for all.

The initiative aims to scale up rapid action measures to make large, medium and small cities more resilient and safer in food and nutrition, with pleasant natural environments and healthy production and distribution systems. ” more integrated nutritious foods for the benefit of residents and farmers.

Letters of Intent have been signed with six African cities: Praia in Cape Verde, Kisumu and Nairobi in Kenya, Antananarivo in Madagascar, Quelimane in Mozambique and Kigali in Rwanda. The six cities will begin the pilot phase of a program to involve 1,000 cities around the world by 2030.

“We can redesign our cities,” said FAO General Manager QU Dongyu in the opening speech at the online launch. He explained: “With affordable healthy and sustainable food, with accessible green spaces, with green lifestyles and with new jobs that our citizens need. ”

He noted that the vast majority of cities in Africa have fewer than 300,000 inhabitants. “With the right policies and planning, combined with innovative solutions, local governments and communities can build resilience and improve the well-being of city dwellers and peri-urban dwellers,” he said.

“The Kisumu County government over the past 5 years, and with the help of development partners, has implemented several initiatives aimed at greening the city as well as resilient food systems. We are therefore delighted to be part of this great initiative, ”said Kisumu County Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o.

Salifou Ouederaogo, Minister of Agriculture, Hydro-agricultural Development and Mechanization of Burkina Faso, welcomed FAOAlexis’ initiative is timely for his country, where the share of the population living in cities is expected to double by 2050. FAOThis program is “a real opportunity to consolidate and amplify the pilot actions already underway at the national level and especially to include the action plans of the Green Cities Initiative to develop toolboxes for the development of the rural sector. in our country, ”he said.

Opening remarks at the high-level launch were also given by Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, and Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), an umbrella organization for local governments across the continent.

The mayors of the six pilot cities also spoke at the event, as did senior officials from Senegal’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Global Fund for Urban Development and the Green Climate Fund. and FAO Deputy Director General Maria Helena Semedo.

FAOThe Director General of the called on cities and mayors committed to engage innovators, entrepreneurs and local youth to deliver new climate-smart solutions, digital technologies, practices and strategies to create green jobs and enrich connections between urban settlements and their rural environment. He called on the authorities to involve young people, especially in places where urbanization is in its infancy and is developing rapidly.

“We must allow young people to define their own future city,” he said.

Vision

Some 55 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities, and that number is expected to rise to 68 percent by 2050, with the vast majority living in low-income countries, particularly in Africa and Asia. Cities offer powerful economic opportunities, but can also be home to high levels of poverty and account for a significant share of natural resource use, greenhouse gas emissions, and food consumption.

FAO launched the Green Cities Initiative (GCI) in September 2020 at a high-level event at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, highlighting the major role that urban demographic trends – as well as urban forestry, urban agriculture and food systems urban – are called upon to play in achieving the Development Goals and transition to a low-carbon economy. Greener, cleaner, more resilient and regenerative cities can catalyze more self-sufficient opportunities as well as better lives.

the GCI aims to promote sustainable and resilient local food production and short supply chains, establish green agrifood processing centers, efficient food distribution systems and food environments, and efficient management of water resources and food waste focused on the circular economy. Landscape initiatives, parks and clean air are also an integral part of the Initiative. The increase in local food production and the promotion of short supply chains have taken on new importance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FAO funds the initial phase and seeks to attract more resources and interest for the overall program. The objective is to promote key innovative “quick win” actions to develop the capacity of local stakeholders in the first cities that joined the project to integrate food systems, urban and peri-urban agriculture and forestry into planning. local, requiring a holistic approach to governance. that in the case of metropolitan areas, they often span several municipal jurisdictions.

This means fostering enabling environments with risk and vulnerability assessments, and targeted actions according to the characteristics of a city. A key question is to identify the “functional territories” that underpin food systems and define urban-rural links.

FAO will help participating countries use georeferenced data and other indicators to provide a rapid and systematic understanding of potential vulnerabilities to shocks, identify potential biodiversity hot spots and strategically map food retail environments to improve the ‘access to nutritious food where it is lacking. Local governments will also be helped to promote rooftop and backyard gardens, vertical farms in abandoned structures and high-tech aquaculture, as well as train residents to maximize the value of these opportunities. The Organization will also help Members set up platforms to engage in city-to-city dialogues and partnerships.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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