Cities and Covid-19: food access for vulnerable communities in practice

  • 18th May 2020
  • by secretary
15 May, 2020. WEBINAR. Cities and Covid-19: food access for vulnerable communities in practice.

This webinar is part of a Series of webinars on the Food Systems Approach in Practice promoted by members of the One Planet Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme (SFS Programme), a global multi-stakeholder platform to support countries in the transition towards sustainable food systems. 

Recording of the Webinar forthcoming 

How are cities maintaining access to safe and nutritious food for vulnerable populations in times of Covid-19? 

The webinar, co-organised by FAO, UNEP, ICLEI, RUAF and Rikolto, will share insights from a worldwide survey by FAO and dive into the experience of 3 cities: New York City (USA), Kampala (Uganda) and Quito (Ecuador).

  1. In New York City, where 1.2 million New Yorkers faced food insecurity before the pandemic, a new plan “Feeding New York” has been issued to protect the security of the city’s supply chain, in collaboration with the private sector and civil society.
  2. In Kampala, city authorities have put in place a contactless home delivery system to deliver essential commodities targeting 1.5 million citizens to reduce congestion in markets during the lockdown. In addition, measures were taken to prevent price hikes in the city’s wholesale and retail markets.
  3. In Quito, the city’s response to the food challenges arising from Covid-19 is rooted in the systemic perspective of the “City Region Food System” approach that aims to build resilience at different scales of the food system.


  • Jamie Morrison, Strategic Programme Leader, Food Systems Programme, FAO
  • Kate MacKenzie, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, New York City
  • Esau Galukande, Deputy Director Production and Marketing, Kampala Capital City Authority
  • David Jácome Polit, Metropolitan Director of Resilience, Municipality of Quito
  • Moderator: Charlotte Flechet, International Food Smart Cities Coordinator, Rikolto


Urban food systems and COVID-19

Cities, with their high population density, are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic and many cities in developing countries do not have adequate capacity to address the disruptions caused by the response to the health emergency. 

The risk is particularly high for the 1.2 billion people living in the congested and overcrowded informal urban settlements where conditions are already unsafe and unhealthy for human living. The very poor and those living in slums have extremely limited access to essential health and sanitation facilities, nutritious food and adequate infrastructure such as piped clean water and electricity. The spread of the virus in crowded cities could have extensive morbidity and mortality consequences for urban populations.