Virtual event – On 15 October 2021, as part of celebrations to mark World Food Day 2021, FAO Turkey co-organized a virtual event with the Union of Municipalities of Turkey (TBB) with a view to discussing FAO’s Vision on Urban Food & Food Systems and Local Food Production.
In his welcoming remarks, Kayhan Özüm, Deputy Secretary-General of the Union of Municipalities affirmed that TBB supports the efforts of municipalities on food and reminded the participants that laws provide municipalities with a legal framework covering food-related tasks. Özüm also highlighted the importance of agricultural infrastructure in a relation to agricultural sustainability.
Following Özüm’s speech, Ayşegül Selışık, Assistant FAO Representative in Turkey, explained that rural to urban migration and the expansion of cities in terms of population and geography generate direct impacts on food systems, nutrition, livelihoods and sustainability, which need to be managed. Selışık also emphasized the importance of sharing knowledge with cities around the world to learn best practices in the field of urban food systems. Ahmet Volkan Güngören, Deputy Director-General for EU & Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry shed light on the role of local administrations with respect to urban food systems. Güngören pointed out that by implementing a circular economy approach, local governments, especially municipalities, can play a significant role in developing sustainable food systems at both local and national scales.
After the opening session, the event continued with a number of presentations. Mehmet Tarakçıoğlu, Senior Programme Specialist at FAO Turkey, explained the conceptual framework for food systems and outlined six pathways towards food systems transformation. Özge İmamoğlu, Head of Department of International Organizations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, focused on the UN Food Systems Summit, held on 23-24 September 2021, and reflected on Turkey’s efforts to prepare a national roadmap for food systems transformation.
Giorgi Kvinikadze, Statistician at the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, presented the global SDG indicator framework and SDG monitoring framework to the participants, and underlined the importance of data disaggregation for increasing the visibility of vulnerable groups. Fazıl Düşünceli, FAO Agricultural Officer, gave a presentation on FAO’s vision and efforts to improving local agricultural production and rural livelihoods. He provided details of FAO’s City Region Food Systems Programme, the Green Cities Initiative, the Urban and Peri-urban Forests Programme, and also shed light on FAO’s cooperation with other international organizations to support initiatives on local agricultural production. Finally, Mücahit Sami Küçüktığlı, Secretary-General of the International Agricultural Cities Union, described for the participants the work of municipalities in Turkey, emphasizing their efforts to protect agricultural lands and to support livestock.