The event is jointly organized by Bread for the World, German NGO Forum on Environment and Development, INKOTA-network and MISEREOR
Already today, more than half of the world population lives in cities. This tendency will further increase in the future. How to supply these urban areas with food long-term and in a socially just and environmentally sustainable manner is a huge challenge. So far, there are few strategies showing a necessary vision to handle this challenge of feeding the cities in the time to come. Already existing approaches are very much at their limits. With four examples from Brazil, Germany, India and West Africa the panel will raise the question on possibilities of a democratization of food systems worldwide.
In West Africa, most of the coastal cities and urban areas are deeply dependent on the import harbors. Meat, rice, wheat and vegetables from Europe, the US, Brazil and Asia flow from these harbors into the cities and further into the countryside. For the local producers this means that their original markets are lost and that there is little hope for local food production. Consequently, without a perspective for a live in the countryside the rural youth rushes into the cities.
The conflict about India’s public food stocking policies, mainly unnoticed by the public in the global north, still splits the WTO (World Trade Organization). But does the WTO have the right to decide how India will feed its megacities? And is the WTO helpful on the way to fulfill the Right to Food in India and elsewhere or not?
On the other hand, Brazil is considered a shining example of how a food system can be democratized and strengthened. The CONSEA food policy councils (Conselho de Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional) bring people from urban and rural areas together with the vision to eradicated hunger and fulfill the Right to Food. The democratic participation of especially the population’s most disadvantaged groups in the creation of national food policies via the CONSEA councils is unique in the world. The second secret for its success in the fight against hunger is believed to be the strong support of smallholder agriculture through the opening of the institutional markets for their products.
The German capital Berlin is surrounded by the agro-industrially dominated German federal state of Brandenburg. This has led to a state where for a long time now, the food producers in Brandenburg have not been able to meet the rising demand for regionally produced and socially sound organic food in Berlin. Therefore, more and more concerned people come together in order to democratize the food system and strengthen the relationships between urban and rural areas in the region. Consequently, one of the first food policy councils in Germany will be established to develop sustainable food and agriculture strategies for the Berlin-Brandenburg region.
Regarding the global perspective, new ideas and concepts clearly need to be developed and adapted to local contexts; there is no one fits all solution. It is obvious that diverse debates are needed on how to feed our future cities in participatory processes and a sustainable manner. Brazil has already come a long way. The question remains how other countries can tackle obstacles made by WTO regulations and others on their way to a progressive realization of the Right to Food.
Panel discussion and open debate with the audience.
- From India: Biraj Patnaik, Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food of the Indian Supreme Courts
- From Brazil: A representative from CONSEA
- From West Africa: A representative from civil society
- From Berlin-Brandenburg: A representative from the food council Berlin-Brandenburg
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