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Pro-poor legal and institutional frameworks for urban and peri-urban agriculture

Urbanization is one of the key drivers of change in the world today as the world’s urban population will almost double from the current 3.5 billion to more than 6 billion by 2050.

By Yves Cabannes
Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations
Rome, 2012
for the Development Law Service FAO Legal Office

Excerpt: Introduction

The objective of this legislative study is to provide an analysis of the texts and the issues that need to be considered to primarily understand the legal and institutional frameworks that facilitate the agricultural practices of poor urban farmers. Special emphasis is also given to the instruments and frameworks that increase access to food for those living in urban poverty and who do not have access to nutritious food.

The study is divided into four sections. Section 1 of this report provides technical definitions of what is urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) and the extent to which UPA can address the global food insecurity prevailing in
cities today.

Section 2 provides a set of international instruments such as declarations, special comments, action plans and guidelines that support the development of an enabling legal framework and strategies from national to local levels
intended to respect, protect and fulfil people’s human rights, achieve progressive steps towards food security, and support UPA implementation.

This section highlights the principle that the creation of an enabling legal framework is one of the fundamental steps towards appropriate and efficient implementation of UPA.

Section 3 presents examples of good pro-poor practices from cities in different global regions where policies and supportive legal frameworks have been developed and implemented. These instruments are organized into three major inter-connected fields, being: (a) policies; (b) legislation and regulations; and (c) incentives at national, state, and municipal levels. Furthermore, a series of key issues and recommendations for the development of safe and sustainable urban and peri-urban agriculture are presented based on the practical experience gained by various local governments in the last few years.

Section 4 examines national and municipal institutional frameworks that are necessary to implement the policies and legal instruments. They draw on the experience of Cuba, Rosario in Argentina and Belo Horizonte in Brazil.

The cases have been selected from a wide literature review, combined with first-hand knowledge of the research team who participated in the study. Cases have been selected that deal with key aspects necessary for creating an enabling environment for urban and peri-urban agriculture. Issues are addressed such as land and security of tenure for land, increased accessibility to safe water and facilitation of small business and tax regimes, and overall, the cases share a focus on pro-poor legal and institutional frameworks.

Read the complete report here.