International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture (IPSA)
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture (IPSA)
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Climate change (2 hits),

Full Submission

Promoting urban rural linkages for food and nutrition security in the context of the green economy and sustainable governance

Submission to the UN Secretariat from International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture (IPSA)

?Making urban market facilities accessible to regional and local producers will create urban-rural linkages that could slow rural-to-urban migration, stimulate local economic development, and strengthen food security.?

- Vision Statement from Gerda Verburg,
Chair of the Seventeenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development upon successful conclusion of the Session, 15 May 2009

International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture (IPSA) is a civil society organization ( that has worked to promote coherent policy that meets good practice in scaling up of agroecological and sustainable agriculture serving small farmers and vulnerable peoples since the first Rio UN Conference on Environment and Development. IPSA worked with sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) initiatives led by civil society major groups, supported by governments and facilitated by intergovernmental organizations from the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) through the CSD 16th and 17th sessions in 2008-9.

As a result of Major Group and government collaboration facilitated by IPSA during CSD 17 related to issues of agriculture, land, water, desertification and sustainable development for Africa, recognition was given to the importance of urban rural linkages for food security. In addition to the Chair?s Vision Statement cited above the final text calls on governments to ?encourage strong rural-urban linkages and partnerships between countryside and communities, to enhance livelihoods and food security?.

Since 2009 major conferences hosted by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), UN Habitat, FAO and other organizations have highlighted the importance of urban rural linkages in the context of a volatile urbanizing world, and transformations to the food system resulting from Climate change, economic instability and biodiversity loss. As one of the pillars of sustainable development, agriculture and the food system are necessarily linked to, and part of, the solutions to these challenges.

Food and agriculture systems are instrumental in the greening of the economy and the coming transformation of agriculture demands a multi-level governance response from local to national and international levels. Urban to rural and rural to urban linkages for food and nutrition security, environmental resilience and economic vitality, can bring to the foreground ?bundled solutions? to conserve biodiversity, improve land use and natural resource management and adapt to Climate change while increasing food security and fostering sustainable diets that reduce non-communicable disease worldwide.

Policy outcomes related to urban rural linkages in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development are:

1. Key roles of local and national governments, collaborating with civil society and the private sector, need to be acknowledged and formally engaged in coming efforts and collaborations.
2. Improvements of the technical competencies of partners to address challenges to food and nutrition security, and to provide educational and policy guidance to national governments and ministries to enable local urban and rural decision makers and planners are needed.
3. Collaborative strategies for implementing technical and policy support need to be developed in greater detail.
4. Recommending areas of policy support for effective implementation from the global and national levels to engaging local authorities and communities in a more coordinated and systematic manner is also a key step in addressing the challenges of food and nutrition security, agriculture and natural resources management in an urbanizing world.

The elements of greening food and agriculture systems that need to be understood in linking growing cities to both urban and rural landscapes, and the dimensions of approaches in a multi-level governance approach to food system resilience are topics of the recently published multistakeholder FAO paper: Food, Agriculture and Cities: the challenges of food and nutrition security, agriculture and ecosystem management in an urbanizing world. This paper was presented at a side event in the recent 37th session of the FAO Committee on World Food Security (available at

IPSA plans to work with Major Group partners, FAO, UN Habitat and interested governments during upcoming intersessional and preparatory meetings for the Rio20 conference. For more information, contact Thomas Forster at
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