WUWM-FAO Collaboration Update

← Back

September 9, 2015

During the summer WUWM vice Chairman, Donald Darnall attended FAO events in follow-up to the WUWM-FAO Collaboration Agreement which was signed during the May WUWM Budapest Conference. 

The 1st Mediterranean Conference on Food Supply and Distribution Systems in Urban Environments, held in Rome 6-7 July at the “La Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy.

This conference was organised in response to the challenge posed by increasing urban food demand worldwide and the need for efficient, dynamic and inclusive food systems meeting urban food needs, in order to bring safe and nutritious food throughout cities and, in particular, to areas where low income households are located, at an affordable price.

The goal was to bring together policy makers, food experts, researchers and system dynamics scientists to discuss and identify appropriate perspectives, policy approaches and tools for analysing complex food systems meeting urban food needs in developing countries and in those with economies in transition, as a basis for the formulation of technically-sound local policies, strategies and investment plans at local and regional levels.

The aim of my speech was to explore some of the key systems that contribute to successful retail and wholesale food markets, and the impact food market systems have on urban development planning. I used trend data and process models to illustrate the evolution of fresh food markets and used a simple system dynamic model to illustrate the basic inter-relationships between fresh food market development and urban planning. I also briefly reviewed the results of recent surveys taken within the fresh food market industry which revealed the most significant issues that should be considered by public and private project decision makers, and urban planners when considering the development and/or enhancement of food markets as part of an overall urban development strategy.  

I was also invited as a selected participant to the Expert Meeting which was held in FAO on 8th July 2015. This event was organized in collaboration with the System Dynamics Italian Chapter (SYDIC) and was chaired by Emeritus Professor of Public Administration and Policy, and Informatics, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany - State University of New York. The meeting was also facilitated by Dr Hans Rudolf Herren, President of the Millennium Institute in Washington, who received the World Food Prize in 1995.

The purpose of this event was twofold:

1)      To critically review current FAO methodology for analysing FSD systems to cities and formulating local policies and action plans - Specifically: FAO's Guide: "Aragrande & Argenti, 1999. Studying food supply and distribution systems to cities in developing countries and countries in transition.

2)     To share a common understanding of the problem, so to gain insights and suggestions for the next steps in the elaboration of an improved guide (methodological and operational content and approach, clarity, utility and friendliness).

Further information on the activities related to the WUWM-FAO MoU work plan will be discussed with members during the WUWM 29th Congress in Campinas later this month. I hope to see you there then.