CUP’s Bellagio Conference

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The Consuming Urban Poverty has been awarded a conference at the Bellagio Centre in Italy by the Rockefeller Foundation in March 2017.

We welcome this opportunity to engage policy makers and stakeholders around our work.

The conference description as approved by the Rockefeller Foundation is attached below:

“Food security and food systems have been largely neglected in global and national scale urban policy. Urban areas have been similarly ignored in food policy. The Consuming Urban Poverty project, an ESRC/DFID-funded project based at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, which works with partners in Kisumu (Kenya), Epworth (Zimbabwe) and Kitwe (Zambia), seeks to address these absences. This conference is part of the project’s efforts to raise the profile of the urban poverty/food system nexus in academia and policy circles.

The project argues that important contributions to debates on urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa, the nature of urban poverty, and the relationship between governance, poverty and the spatial characteristics of cities and towns in the region can be made through a focus on urban food systems and the dynamics of urban food poverty.

The conference has three objectives. Firstly, it seeks to bring together researchers and stakeholders from major international organizations (FAO, UN Habitat, WHO, Cities Alliance, DFID) in order to provide these institutions with findings, analysis and policy perspectives from the project. Secondly, it seeks to better understand the existing institutional perspectives of the invited organizations on urban food systems, governance and poverty. This will be achieved through providing space for critical engagement with the project’s perspectives and assumptions. It is envisaged that this will increase the effectiveness of any efforts to embed project findings and perspectives in the core business of these institutions. Finally, the conference will workshop viable solutions to begin to integrate food into wider urban poverty debates and urban perspectives into the food security agenda.

This is a particularly important moment for such a conference as governments and international organizations will be grappling with how to engage the Habitat III New Urban Agenda document and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in an integrated manner. Food is embedded in a number of components of the Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda and is a cross-sectoral issue that works across multiple SDGs.

The conference intends to have two sets of outputs with two sets of intended outcomes. The first are academic and include a peer-reviewed journal paper and short pieces for posting on academic blog sites, such as Urban Africa and the ESRC’s Urban Transformations site. The intended outcome is to prompt advances in academic debates on urban poverty and food systems. The second set of outputs will be co-created policy statements. The collaborative co-production of these within the conference should increase their potential policy impact. It is intended that these will be used by conference participants within their agencies and governments to advocate for the inclusion of urban food perspectives. These will also be disseminated through other policy networks and partnerships of the African Centre for Cities to increase the potential impact of the policy documents beyond the organizations and national governments attending the conference.”

Watch this space

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