The third focus from the 7th Global Forum of the MUFPP, held in Barcelona from the 19th to the 21st of October 2021, aims at providing an overview of other two important events dedicated to the implementation of urban food policies to tackle climate change and to highlight the messages that came out from the final closing plenary session.
Starting from this last event, the speakers, mainly Mayors, stressed the importance of working together as cities toward the findings of food solutions to climate change.
Closing Plenary: Mayoral discussion and official launch of the Barcelona Challenge for Good Food and Climate
This last plenary showcased a round table with the Mayors of important cities such as Milan, Barcelona, Bogotà, Glasgow, Quelimane, Valencia, with the participation of the Vice president of the Spanish government and the Spanish Ministry of consumption and the Director of C40 network.
The core of the discussion has been the role of cities in addressing the food-climate nexus as well as the launch of The Barcelona Challenge for Good Food and Climate: a call for cities and their citizens to transform their food system to tackle the climate emergency.
According to Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, the hosting city of the Global Forum 2021, the transformation of food system is not an option but an obligation. This is urgent if cities want to tackle the climate emergency. She affirmed that “Cities have proven to be brave by leading many of the transformations needed despite their budget and competence limitations. Now it’s time to call upon States to implement complete legislation to respond to this reality, as they are the ones who have powers, and they should make use of their competencies. Over and above words, we need to see action. Changing the food system must be at the heart of climate action.”
On the same idea is Mayor Giuseppe Sala, from Milan, that confirmed that at the eve of the COP 26, cities should continue prioritizing the nexus between food and climate through collective work. Additionally he focused the attention on the fact that cities have a sound scientific basis that proves how ensuring good and healthy food for everyone and responding to the climate emergency go hand in hand. Mayor Sala reaffirmed that: “ In 2015 we were pioneers, but now food systems are increasingly on the global agenda. This is also thanks to our works and concrete results, we were able to achieve together and contribute to the global discussion. The substantial value of the Pact is city to city support and exchange, we are a sort of family and try together, we don’t want to leave anyone behind.”
The intervention of the Mayor of Quelimane gave the opportunity to think about the value of this North-South cooperation among cities and to the importance of the relations created through the MUFPP work.
Last but not least the speech from Mark Watts, Director of C40 network, has linked the importance of the “Good Food Cities Declaration” promoted by C40 and based on the planetary health diet and the new Barcelona Challenge that call up to a new engagement of cities just before the COP 26 event in Glasgow. The C40 Food Declaration has reached a lot of cities in the last decade, and these got involved in the issue of healthy and sustainable diets creating impacts and changes from school canteens to reducing food waste in supermarkets or schools.
Beginner’s Guide to Food Policy
This side event, held on the first day of the Forum, showed innovative practices and results reached by the UK Food Foundation’s Food Cities 2022 initiative. This initiative promotes and supports city authorities in ODA countries to develop and implement food policies, strategies and multi-stakeholder partnerships that aim to increase access to healthy diets and generate a positive impact of urban food systems as they respond to the COVID-19 emergency.
The goal of this action is to facilitate a learning partnership that promotes peer-to-peer exchange and offers an online platform with tools to guide cities in developing urban food systems solutions. The session described the key stages to initiating a Food Policy/Strategy and participating cities showed their experience of beginning the process of developing a food strategy.
Urban Food Policy to tackle climate change emergency
Considering the fact that the global food system is responsible for roughly ⅓ of global GHG emissions, in order to tackle the climate emergency we must urgently transform the way we produce, eat, and dispose of food, worldwide.
In this important parallel session opened by Danielle Nierenberg from Food Tank, international experts and city officials have presented perspectives and experiences on how cities are addressing the food-climate nexus at the city level through the delivery of the Good Food Cities Declaration.
The session covered the three main topics of the Declaration:
1) food procurement;
2) healthy diets & the food environment
3) food waste.
The speakers of this session gave the sense of the variety of actors involved in food system transformation from city to research centers and NGOs. Here the participants that joined the discussion:
– Stefania Amato, Food Systems Network Manager, C40 (Moderator)
– Brent Loken, Global Food Lead Scientist, WWF
– Brian Cook, Senior Researcher at University of Oxford
– Meti Tamrat, Addis Ababa Municipality
– Betina Bergmann, Senior Consultant In Food Procurement, Copenhagen Municipality
– Ruth Stossel, Food Policy Program, Tel Aviv Municipality
– Victoria Simon, Director of Operations, Sustainability, Los Angeles Municipality
– Dana Gunders, Executive Director at ReFED
– Anna Richardson, Concillor, Glasgow Municipality
– Thays Thatiane Padilha, Planning Sector in the Municipal Secretariat of Food and Nutrition Security, Curitiba Municipality