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Rapid urbanization and food security in Egypt

Urbanization together with associated demographic and environmental changes are posing unprecedented challenges related to hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in developing countries.

Due to factors such as rural-urban migration, climate change, natural resource scarcity and livelihood insecurities, the urban population worldwide continues to increase rapidly. Global projections reveal that the pace of urbanization will further accelerate in the coming decades and that nearly two-thirds of the world population will- by 2050- be concentrated in metropolitan centres.

Consequently, food systems in cities of developing countries, where urbanization is occurring most quickly, will come to face significant adjustment pressures since poverty will become increasingly urbanized, demand for urban food will grow and cities will exert greater influence on peri-urban and rural livelihoods and environments. In this respect, Egypt is no exception. The country has experienced rapid urban transformation during the past two decades, resulting in a massive loss of fertile cultivated land.

Providing food and nutrition security for the rapidly expanding populations in the Egyptian cities is increasingly recognized by researchers and policymakers as a pressing challenge to sustainable development. Therefore, it is widely recognized that sustainable development challenges will be considerably greater in Egyptian cities and that achieving the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) greatly depends on how cities in Egypt are planned and governed. In other words, it depends on the ability of Egypt to build resilient and sustainable food systems that adapt to land use changes and foster food security to meet the needs of increasing population pressure

Against this background, YPARD Egypt will participate in a one-day workshop that Institute for National Planning (INP) in Egypt will organize in association with the Department of Economics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden on April 20th to address issues related to urbanization and food security in Egypt. YPARD Egypt

The workshop will be held in tandem with the Annual Conference of INP. More specifically, the workshop will explore the urgency for rethinking food systems for urban food and nutrition security from the perspective of research, policy and practice. Moreover, the workshop will bring together researchers and stakeholders from relevant disciplines and sectors to discuss and define research and action priorities for building more sustainable food systems in Egypt that can resile to urbanization and land use changes and meet food and nutritional security demands of the rapidly growing population. Furthermore, the workshop will provide a platform for participants to exchange ideas, present current research, discuss challenges, initiate future research collaborations, and create and grow a community of interest within the urbanization and food security areas.

Workshop topics

Under the theme of this workshop, discussions to address the following issues are proposed:

  • Stocktaking the state of knowledge with respect to food systems (crop and livestock) in urbanization in Egypt and other developing countries.
  • Challenges of urban development and food security from the perspective of national decision makers.
  • Identifying and conceptualizing the emerging challenges for urban food systems.
  • Impact of urbanization on food consumption, health and nutrition in urban areas.
  • Urbanization, rural transformation and the importance of rural-urban linkages for improved food systems and for food and nutrition security.
  • The interface between food systems, resource use (land, animals, plants and humans) and urban food security.
  • Transformations in food value chains and mechanisms for improving food chain efficiency.
  • Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems
  • Experiences from other developing countries in enhancing the sustainability of food systems and lessons that Egypt can learn from these experiences.
  • Processes, actions, policies that need to be changed or implemented to build sustainable urban food systems in Egypt.

All YPARD members are welcome to participate in the workshop. For questions and inquiries regarding participation, please contact: ypardegypt@gmail.com

Photo credit: YPARD (Flickr)