Urban Governance for Nutrition

Urban Governance for Nutrition


By 2030, six out of ten people will live in cities, with 90% of this growth occurring in Africa and Asia and most of it occurring in small to medium-sized cities. Cities are facing increasingly complex nutrition challenges: whilst urbanisation is linked to overweight and obesity, undernutrition is often still prevalent as well.

Urban citizens are more reliant on markets than people who live in rural areas, and they consume more highly-processed foods, which often do not contain enough nutrients and contain too much salt, sugar and transfats. People who live in cities also face other challenges: currently, about one in eight of all of the world’s inhabitants live in slums with poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene - all of which influence food and nutrition security.

Local, national and international policymakers, as well as city governments around the world, are grappling with the challenges of poorly functioning food systems. A New Urban Agenda was adopted at the UN Habitat III Conference in 2016 and endorsed by the UN General Assembly. This declaration includes commitments towards sustainable urban development, including food and nutrition security, as well as urban governance. City governments are also working together in networks that foster collaboration and mutual learning, the most prominent of which is the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (currently signed by 163 cities). Several cities have developed or are in the process of developing specific food and nutrition policies.

Urban Governance for Nutrition - one of GAIN’s newest programmes - is helping city governments develop and implement plans and mechanisms to improve their citizens’ nutrition. The programme will result in:

  1. Disseminated knowledge on programme and policy issues pertaining to cities and nutrition.
  2. Two supported city plans and cases demonstrating the process and outcome of engagement with local governments on nutrition issues. We are working with the government in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Surabaya in Indonesia.
  3. Increased awareness of nutrition governance in international urban policy fora and better understanding of the importance of improving urban governance for nutrition

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