How to feed our cities? – Agriculture and rural areas in an era of urbanisation
14-16 January 2016
The facts speak for themselves: more than half the global population now live in urban areas. According to forecasts, three-quarters of the global population, i.e. around 7 billion people, will be living in cities by 2050. Alongside globalisation, urbanisation is indisputably one of the main trends of our time. Everywhere, discussions are addressing pressing questions on how to supply urban residents with housing, water, energy, education, health care and income opportunities. The key issues at stake across the globe include the economic, ecological and social development of a rapidly growing population and thus also political participation, governability, security and maintenance of stability.
But what impact does urbanisation have on food security? Urbanisation changes structures in cities and the countryside in many different ways. In Europe and the industrialised countries, the migration of people to cities is increasingly resulting in rural depopulation, with rural areas experiencing significant change to population structure and living conditions. In developing countries and emerging economies, on the other hand, we can see that, despite urban growth, a large proportion of the population still remains in rural areas. Theylook to these rural areas to provide them with jobs and good prospects for their future. In many countries, urbanisation also means the development of urban hunger and urban poverty. Hunger follows people as they move to cities, bringing with it the potential for political unrest. What consequences does the above development have for agriculture and rural areas in different regions of the world and what role do agriculture and rural areas play in light of this trend? How can we ensure that growing cities are supplied with sufficient quantities of safe, healthy food? How can we also preserve viable rural areas and make them fit for the future?
From the point of view of agricultural policy, there are three aspects which are crucial for urban food security:
1. modern and sustainable agricultural production ensures an adequate supply of healthy and diverse food;
2. efficient supply chains ensure that this food reaches urban residents;
3. vibrant rural areas are a fundamental prerequisite for making this process sustainable.
Securing global food supplies in an era of urbanisation is one of the challenges facing mankind. It is also a challenge for agricultural policy-makers. Modern, sustainable agriculture, vibrant rural areas and cooperative partnerships with rural and urban development going hand in hand are some of the important prerequisites for meeting this challenge. What we need are overarching policies that regard urban and rural structural change as an interconnected process. Agricultural policy - in cooperation with other policy areas - must take this into account. The 2016 GFFA conference will bring together key international actors from politics, industry, academia and civil society in order to engage in this discussion.
14 January 2016: Opening event and expert panel discussions
15 January 2016: Expert panel discussions and working meetings of the international organisations, International Business Panel Discussion and evening reception hosted by GFFA Berlin e.V.
16 January 2016: International GFFA Panel Discussion and 8th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit