27 Jul The Role of Cities in the Transformation of Food Systems: Lessons from Milan Pact Cities

A new report to explore city food practices selected among the 157 submitted to the Milan Pact Awards (MPA) in the 2016 – 2017 – 2018 editions is soon to be released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) and EStà – Economia e Sostenibilità research centre.

A narrative report and 50 selected practices, in two-page briefs, focus on a number of evolving trends of cities’ efforts to improve their food systems. The document underlines the importance of tackling the numerous challenges that cities, towns and territories are facing in an era where rapid urbanization issues have come to the fore of local, national and international agendas. In order to manage emerging complex challenges and become engines for inclusive local economic growth, many cities are developing new approaches to food, nutrition, agriculture and governance systems.

The central point of the Milan Pact Awards is fostering peer-to-peer collaboration among cities, as well as sharing knowledge on urban food practices. The Milan Pact creates an enabling environment for cities to learn from each other in three different ways. First, it provides for a framework for city-to-city exchange, second, it provides indicators to help cities evaluate their progresses towards achieving more sustainable food systems, and finally, it implements the MPA mechanism through which cities can positively compete and transfer their experiences among themselves.

Three years after the launch of the MPA, ongoing and future city food policies and programs demonstrate the evolution of policy work in local governments. As a result, many cities began to integrate their food policies and practices with other urgent priorities, such as growing hunger and poverty, constant demographic growth, climate change, migration, economic development, and civic engagement, among others. Additionally, more integrated governance approaches helped link different departments and sectors under a common municipal food agenda. The new food system approach, including primary production, distribution, storage, processing, marketing and food waste management, has spur cities to reinforce urban-rural linkages. Food systems partnerships and alliances are key to fostering collaboration between the public and private sector, producers, research institutions and the civil society, among other actors.

The Role of Cities in the Transformation of Food Systems: Lessons from Milan Pact Cities provides evidence of these trends. It represents a balance of lessons stemming from different regions, cities of different size and different entry points based on the categories of the Milan Pact Framework for Action. You can see the 50 selected practices here.

The best practices of the year 2018 will be announced during the MUFPP 4th Annual Gathering and Mayors’ Summit and winning cities will be awarded.

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