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Istanbul Discusses its Food System: Fair, Resilient and Sustainable The first workshop of the project, in cooperation with GIZ, TEPAV, and the Istanbul Planning Agency was held virtually on January 15.
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26/01/2022 - Viewed 912 times



Within the scope of the PEP - Promotion of Economic Prospects Programme financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the negotiated preference workshop, “Istanbul Discusses its Food System: Fair, Resilient and Sustainable”, part of an overall project to determine how Istanbul can overcome the current obstacles and where should the efforts be focused to have a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient food system, was carried out virtually on January 15, 2022, with the cooperation of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, TEPAV, and Istanbul Planning Agency (İPA).

The workshop, which uses “Public-Private Sector Dialogue” as a tool, was held to discuss the policies needed to strengthen the food system in Istanbul, both during and after COVID-19. Participants from NGOs, public institutions, private sector and academia discussed their ideas and solutions for a stronger food system with live voting, instant breakout discussions, and simultaneous thematic discussion sessions.

The workshop started with an informational presentation made by TEPAV’s Sibel Güven on the purpose and flow of the program. Following this, GIZ-PEP Programme Manager Alberto Vega-Exposito delivered his keynote speech. Vega-Exposito thanked the stakeholders and participants for the workshop prepared with great effort. Exposito underlined the importance of access to fair, resilient and sustainable food for Istanbul, which constitutes a significant part of Turkey’s population. Afterwards, in his opening speech, Oktay Kargül, the Secretary General of İPA, stated that they continue to work to make a fair, resilient and accessible food system sustainable for Istanbul in order to prepare the city for 2050. He concluded his speech by stating that the outputs of the workshop will shed light on the next 30 years of Istanbul and form a basis for the city’s long-term goals by contributing to the development of strategies and policies on access to healthy food within the Vision 2050 project.

The workshop continued with an interactive presentation by TEPAV’s Güven Sak. Emphasizing that there has been an increase in food prices and loss of income all over the world with the pandemic and climate change, Sak underlined that these events damage the resilience of food systems. In this context, the food security in Istanbul, which constitutes 40 percent of Turkey’s economy, was addressed. In the 1st session of the presentation, the question of “Why are food prices higher in Istanbul?” was discussed. The decrease in agricultural land of Istanbul, overpopulation, agricultural areas being zoned for construction with legislative changes and the legislative changes in general were stated as potential answers to the question. In order to allow the participants to have more time to state their opinions, “the reasons for increases in food prices in Istanbul” were discussed in 6 sub-sessions.

In the 2nd session of the presentation, “The Effects of Exchange Rate and the Pandemic on Food Prices” was discussed. In his presentation, Sak explained the effects of problems in supply, demand and food governance on food prices in Istanbul. These issues were discussed together with the issues of poverty, informal employment and income inequality in Istanbul. In the interactive part of the session, the participants had the opportunity to discuss the reasons for the differences in the food consumption baskets of the lowest and highest income groups and the effects of the pandemic and sudden changes in the exchange rate on food consumption patterns in sub-sessions.

In the last session, Sak presented the priorities and potential solutions to the problems of Istanbul’s food system. Strengthening social protection network, improving the supply chain of food, planning imports and exports of basic food products, supporting agricultural production in urban areas and strengthening food governance were stated as the potential solutions to increase the resilience of the food system in Istanbul in the face of shocks. Sak stated the importance of a governance mechanisms where all the stakeholders are included in increasing the resilience of the food system in the city, as emphasized by the participants. In this context, the approaches in food governance mechanisms were discussed. In the last part of the workshop, again in sub-sessions, the participants discussed potential solutions with respect to supply, demand and food governance aspects of the food system, so that the people of Istanbul can access healthier food fairly and sustainably. The workshop concluded after stakeholders from different sectors voiced their opinions in the main session, stated their wishes for the upcoming workshops and extended their thanks.


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