Food Policy – the key factor for the sustainability Agenda of Cities and Mayors

The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact’s members met in Montpellier  – from the 7th to the 9th October  – for the 5th Annual Gathering in order to discuss and update knowledge and experiences on sustainable food systems and local practices and to build new partnership for development.

The two-days meeting of the 5th edition focused on the 2030 Agenda, the 17 SDGs and urban food systems. It hosted open sessions to present case studies and experiences to the public and the Annual Ceremony of the Milan Pact Awards that aim to award best practices of Cities in 6 areas of commitment.

The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact-MUFPP is a global commitment of Mayors from 205 municipalities around the world, that consider food as a key aspect for the sustainable development of growing cities in Northers and Southern countries.

The MUFPP is constantly growing in number of participants and it represents a unique framework for cities and international stakeholders, active in the definition of innovative urban food policies, for the management and governance of local food systems.  Additionally, the Annual Gathering provide a chance to work also on the monitoring framework that have been set up with FAO experts and that many cities are already using in order to monitor impacts and effectiveness of actions and programs. Mérida, Mexico, and Barcelona, Spain, will host the the next Annual Gathering in 2020 and 2021.

The aim of the Pact is to share knowledge and understandings on food systems toward the building of sustainable and inclusive cities. Above all, the annual Milan Pact Awards are one of the most important tools to involve cities around the globe in several areas of interests such as: governance, sustainable diets and nutrition, food production and distributions and so on.

The Milan Pact Awards are promoted by the City of Milan with the support of Cariplo Foundation that is the main partner of the Municipality in the implementation of the local Food Policy.

“Fondazione Cariplo participates to the MPA since their conception, having contributed to the definition of the very idea guiding the Awards. The MPA represent a point of excellence in this field gathering over the 4 editions more than 250 practices from all over the world. All winning cities awarded of the monetary prizes have replicated and transferred their good practices to other cities, and at Fondazione Cariplo we are very proud to say that as a whole the Awards have contributed to the dissemination and development of food policies all over the world facilitating the path towards a more sustainable future”. Carlo Mango–Director of the Research and Innovation Area of Cariplo Foundation

The participation to this 4th edition of the Awards has been very high in terms of number of practices presented – it has doubled from around 50 in the previous years, to 104 practices in 2019 – and in relation to the geographical distribution of cities that come from all Regions. 45 projects came from Europe, 23 from Latin America and 20 from Africa, 9 from North America and 7 from Asia.

African and Latin American cities have increased the number of participants also thanks to the regional forum organized by the MUFPP, that have worked a lot toward cities engagement.

Milan’s Vice Mayor Scavuzzo, in charge of Milan’ Food Policy, highlighted the strong attendance to the 5th MUFPP Annual Gathering in Montpellier, as well as the high-quality food practices presented by the cities. “It represents the solid commitment of cities tackling the sustainability of urban food systems, in an international framework based on United Nation SDG’s. Mayors are implementing concrete actions and they promote it through the involvement of citizens. The Agenda 2030 priorities are  followed by our cities, experimenting the connection among food system sustainability, environment protection and the wellbeing of their communities. Fight against food poverty and food waste, sustainable and healthy diets, quality agriculture and low environmental impact logistics were the main topics discussed during the MUFPP Annual Gathering in Montpellier. Milan is a leading city on those issues and keeps its commitment to foster the changes in citizen’s daily habits. The declaration signed in Montpellier strengthens the actions of Cities and their role in line with the Sustainable Development Goals”.

The spectacular scenery of the Chateau de Pouget, has welcomed all participants of the Awards and 8 cities have been awarded for their innovative actions and projects implemented.

The Milan Pact Awards Jury, composed by 10 members that represent international organizations, civil society organizations and institutions, went through a long and detailed process to evaluate all practices that have been collected until the end of May 2019.

Washington (USA) received the award for Highest Score Award and Mezitli (Turkey) received the award for the Challenging Environment Award, both were the monetary prizes of 15.000,00 euros.

The two monetary awards must be used for peer-to-peer technical assistance to other MUFPP signatory city or networks.

The city of Washington developed a very important program “Good Food Purchasing in Washington, DC” that provides subsidies to residents participating in government health programs, for fresh fruit purchase in local markets. The initiative developed educational and volunteering activities and mobilized an impressive number of people. It reached over 9500 persons, mainly low-income residents, and catalyzed cross sector public/private partnership.

The city of Mezitli, first city of Turkey that entered the Pact and participated to the Award, developed a very important action called “Mezitli Women Producers Market” that reduces gender-based barriers and increase working opportunities for women through food markets. This initiative strengthened local female food producers: 650 women were able to develop the skills necessary to produce and sell food in 9 different female markets. Last year the two monetary Awards have been assigned to the city of Ghent and Lima.

Other six practices have been awarded with 6 Special Mentions as highest scoring practice in each of the six categories of the MUFPP.

· Governance: Tel Aviv (Israel)– The practice aimed to find sustainable solutions to the environmental impacts of food festivals and create guidelines for sustainable large-scale events. The initiative involved 50 food vendors, diverted 17 tons of waste from landfills, saved and donated food losses, collaborating with 60 chefs during an event with 500.000 visitors.

· Sustainable diets and nutrition: Kazan (Russia) – The city established a “Department on Food and Social Nutrition” to launch a reform in school canteens for improved sustainability and health, to fight obesity and other diseases. As part of this reform, the city built 2 centralized cooking centers, serving 160 schools and 150.000 meals per day, while maintaining a price control for breakfast and lunch – the lowest prices in the country.

· Social and economic equity:  Nairobi (Kenya) – The city defined an urban early warning initiative to assess food insecurity levels in neighborhoods, thanks to a set of 5 indicators.

This tool identified 203,000 households at risk in the city, providing them an innovative food security surveillance.

· Food production: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) – The city encouraged actions that promote urban agroecology and quality food production, at affordable prices and creating jobs opportunities. The initiative created 39 urban gardens that produce about 50 tons of organic food per year, involving about 100.000 citizens.

· Food supply and distribution: Montpellier (France) The city improved the sustainability of the whole food supply chain, by focusing on school canteens; Its initiative reached 50% of organic products, replaced plastic trays with compostable ones, provided 14.600 meals per day to vulnerable groups and reduced food waste by 24%.

 · Food waste: Sao Paulo (Brazil) – The city reduced food waste through the donation of food to vulnerable groups and create municipal food banks that collected 170 tons of food.

The initiative established a partnership among 310 charities and reached 120.00 persons in need.

The Milan Pact Awards give a picture of what cities are doing at global level to improve their food systems and the objectives that they have set in order to meet the 2030 Agenda.

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