The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) cities and partners finally met in person after two years of virtual exchanges, from the 19th to 21st October in Barcelona at the 7th MUFPP Global Forum.
In the framework of the Barcelona World Capital of Sustainable Food 2021, the city hosted 3 days of intense work and exchange, bringing together more than 500 participants from over 100 cities all around the world: political leaders representing MUFPP signatory cities, but also experts and civil society organizations who are working on food systems transformation for further sustainability and inclusion.
The nexus between food and climate as an emergency has been the theme of the 2021 MUFPP Global Forum, which significantly took place just before COP 26.
The Opening Plenary of the 7th MFPP Global Forum
The urgent need to transform how food is produced and consumed to tackle the climate crisis has also been at the centre of the Forum’s Opening Session, and particularly of the speech of Ada Colau, the Mayor of Barcelona, the event’s host, who pointed out that this is the decisive decade for tackling the climate crisis and cities have a key role to play because half of the world population lives in urban areas, consumes up to 70% of the food supply and is responsible for 75% of global CO2 emissions.
ULCG General Secretary, Emilia Saiz, put the emphasis on the need of trasforming the current global food system because “it is not meant to feed, but to produce and consume”; while activist Vandana Shiva highlighted the need to democratize it. FAO Director General,
Qu Dongyu intervened to confirm FAO’s commitment in helping cities identify their priorities in order to build agri-food systems and strategies.
Then the plenary showcased the experience of three cities that are working very hard to make a real change: Kazan, that recently became Coordinator of the MUFPP’s Steering Committee, Bordeaux and its priority program to revitalize the city through a natural and agricultural development and Birmingham for the process of improving the city’s food environment through “The Food Consultation”, “The Healthy Food Forum” and “The Food Pledge”.
Integrated food policies for healthy citizens on a healthy planet
“Healthy citizens on a healthy planet” was the theme of an important parallel session of the MUFPP Global Forum, co-organised by the EAT Foundation. This session presented inspiring examples of urban policies focused on improving health, with special attention to obesity and inequalities, bringing together experts and three cities prioritizing urban food policies for health and obesity prevention: Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and Lyon.
European Food Policy Strikes Again
At the beginning of the Forum also a significant side event took place “EU Food Policy Strikes Again”, promoted by Food Trails and the other “Food 2030 Project Family” (five Horizon-funded consortia aiming at innovating local food systems, involving 52 cities, of which 21 are part of MUFPP, investing 48 million euro by 2024). In this event representatives of the five projects shared approaches to co-creation of effective food policy’ solutions with local actions.
On the one hand, this event showed how cities of different consortia can start to work together: alliances and partnerships are the key to success as the Pact’s spirit suggests, but also when similar contexts face similar challenges, it’s easier to find solutions. On the other hand, the side event shows how funding of European calls can be crucial not only to connect EU Cities with each other but also with cities worldwide (MUFPP signatories cities).
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