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Food systems and COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean: How to strengthen urban food systems (Bulletin 19)

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1. Editorial

In Latin America and the Caribbean, and around the world, urban settlements – from the smallest to the most populous – have grown steadily. It is often said that life in rural areas poses several challenges, but the same is true for urban centres of all kinds, for a multitude of reasons, ranging from the efficiency of service provision to the quality of road infrastructure. Nevertheless, these reasons are qualitatively different from those faced by people in the countryside.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the difficulties cities face in managing crises that are exacerbated by population density and depend on supply chains that often start outside the city for their resolution. For this reason, one of the unfortunate consequences of the pandemic crisis has been an increase in hunger and malnutrition, hence reduced food and nutrition security.

Therefore, it is vitally necessary for local authorities to be able to develop strategies, plans and programmes that aim to help overcome the major challenges that appeared during the pandemic and have had a negative impact, especially on the most vulnerable.

There are many ways to address this challenge. One of them is to implement a Functional food circuit strategy, which requires integrating local governments in an active and effective governance role and in promoting the use of digital technologies along the food systems value chain.