GFFA Took a look at the subject "How to feed our cities?" The 2016 Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Summit, Source: BMEL/ Gottschalk

GFFA 2016 “How to feed our cities?" The 8th Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Summit adopts a final communiqué

With the adoption of a joint communiqué by the Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Summit, the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), the 2016 Berlin World Food Conference, came to a close on 16 January. Its title: "How to feed our cities? – Agriculture and rural areas in an era of urbanisation“

The communiqué, adopted unanimously by the ministers of agriculture at the biggest global agriculture ministers' summit, calls for the issue of urban food security a policy to be made a priority on the global agenda. The ministers are confident that urbanisation cannot be sustainably successful without agriculture. Hence they are urging urban and rural areas to work with one another in partnership to plan and manage urbanisation.
In their call for action, the ministers state that they consider it their duty in the coming years to create the political, economic and social framework for a productive and sustainable agriculture, efficient and reliable supply and value chains, and vibrant rural areas.

New window: GFFA conference website

The Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Summit was the conclusion and highlight of the GFFA 2016 - the Berlin World Food Conference. From Thursday on, some 2,000 participants from over 100 countries discussed the topic "agriculture and rural areas in an era of urbanisation" in great depth and in different event formats.
Urbanisation will be one of the major issues affecting humanity in the future. Ensuring an adequate supply for people in growing urban areas will be one of the major challenges. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also emphasised this in a video message to the GFFA 2016. Ensuring that everyone in the growing urban conurbations has access to nutritious food is crucial to achieving the goal of ending hunger, he said.

"Urban areas need rural areas"

According to Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt, successful urbanisation needs a sustainable and efficient agricultural sector. Agriculture and rural areas supply food and are hence "key to the food security of urban populations", Mr. Schmidt said in Berlin. "Now we need to prevent rural depopulation and food riots in urban areas. This is why I invited my counterparts to Berlin to attend the largest global Conference of Agricultural Ministers. We urgently call on growing cities to face up to the challenges together and to understand that without rural areas life in the cities is not possible", stated the Minister.

In the lead-up to the International GFFA Panel, with more than 1,000 participants, Minister Schmidt underlined: "Urbanisation cannot be successful without agriculture. Urban areas need rural areas." On Thursday, the two-and-a-half-day conference had been opened by the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Peter Bleser. At the conference opening he stressed: "Only a productive and sustainable agricultural production will be able to ensure an adequate supply of healthy and diverse food. We therefore need to do better on all levels: On small-scale farms as well as in big establishments."

The GFFA is considered an ideal platform to exchange ideas on key future issues affecting the global agri-food sector. At the conference, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO and the European Commission organised two High Level Panels on urban food security and on the conflicting demands of competition and cooperation between urban and rural areas. In addition to this, the programme included ten expert panel discussions. Among the topics discussed were India and China, two countries where the urbanisation issue is of particular relevance. Against this backdrop, Mr. Bleser underlined the importance of Germany's cooperation with China and India: He said that through this cooperation, German know-how is contributing to sustainable, productive land management in these countries. He added that it is only by strengthening the entire value chain that we can successfully achieve food security in rural and urban areas. He went on to say that China's experience with urbanisation were important for both Germany and the international community. Mr. Bleser: "This has already become clear when we compare the two countries - though in Germany only Hamburg, Munich and Berlin have more than one million inhabitants whilst China already has 170 cities with such a high number of inhabitants!"

The results of the GFFA events were reflected by the Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Summit concluding the GFFA.

At the end of this Agriculture Ministers' Summit the 2016 Final Communiqué was handed over to the representative of UN Habitat, Joan Clos, and to Japan's Deputy Minister of Agriculture Hiromichi Matsushima. In October 2016, UN Habitat will hold the next global summit "UN Habitat III“. The conference objective is to adopt a new agenda for sustainable urban development. Japan currently holds the G7 presidency and wants to put the topic of food security on its agenda.


The GFFA Conference, launched in 2008, focusses on a priority issue that changes every year. As an internationally renowned world food conference it has a special place on the agenda of agriculture ministries around the globe. The Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Summit has become a driver of the international agricultural agenda at the beginning of each year. For instance, Germany and the FAO launched a bioeconomy platform in late 2015 and hence implemented a pivotal decision taken by the GFFA 2015.

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