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Urban Food Systems: The Nutrition Challenge

EATx UNGA 2016

Cities are where the future happens first. Regarded by many as major contributors to climate change and other environmental challenges, cities are becoming laboratories where the most innovative ideas for sustainable living are tested, making them engines of global progress and change.

EATx UNGA 2016

During the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York, the EAT Foundation and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will host a high-level side event: “Urban Food Systems: The Nutrition Challenge”. The event will take place on September 20th from 1.15 to 2.30pm. 

Cities are where the future happens first. Cities, regarded by many as major contributors to climate change and other environmental challenges, are turning themselves into laboratories where the most innovative ideas for sustainable living are tested and realizing their potential as engines of global progress and change.

More than half the world’s population currently lives in urban areas and this is expected to increase to 70% by 2050. Growing urban populations demand more from our planet’s limited natural resources but also have enormous potential.

Behaviours often associated with living in cities – such as sedentary lifestyles and overconsumption of calories and ultra-processed foods – contribute to obesity, which is linked to several non-communicable diseases.  City dwellers may lack access to nutritious foods because these foods are simply not available in some urban areas, a phenomenon known as food deserts or food swamps, or because these foods are unaffordable. Health challenges associated with malnutrition can persist for generations.

Increasing demands for energy-intensive products such as meat, dairy and ultra-processed foods exacerbate the food value chain’s negative environmental impacts. Growing, processing, and transporting food all produce greenhouse gas emissions, and food waste is a particularly significant source of emissions. The food value chain also impacts biodiversity, water quality and availability and pollution, and other planetary concerns.

Feeding the world’s growing population healthy food on a stable planet requires joint efforts from all sectors of society. International institutions, local and national governments, civil society groups, researchers, and the private sector all have a role to play.

2016 is marked by a number of international processes that promise to shape the way we address urban development, climate and nutrition. These include the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Habitat III conference, the launch of the Decade of Action on Nutrition, and the Committee on World Food Security’s focus on food systems and urbanization.

To link to these opportunities and highlight the need for a coordinated approach to addressing urban food system challenges, this EATx will be an event at the United Nations that bridges sectors and disciplines involved in food system challenges to discuss concrete solutions and commitments. The program will include a series of keynotes and an interactive panel discussion involving prominent experts from government, academia, the private sector, the UN and civil society.

Co-Sponsors for EATxUNGA 2016:

  • Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation – International Sustainability Unit
  • C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
  • Nordic Council of Ministers
  • New York Academy of Sciences
  • NCD Alliance
  • Save the Children
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • Palau UN Permanent Mission
  • Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network
  • The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, (GAIN)
  • World Bank Group

Event Information:

You can watch the video on UN Webtv here