Barcelona Challenge – One year after report

Food systems – entailing activities that allow for the production, transformation, distribution and consumption of food- are responsible for over a third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions1. Due to all that, food and agriculture are key triggers to cool down the planet. Although cities are not where food is produced, they consume over 70% of the world’s production7 and they often are where cultural norms are created regarding
nutrition. Local entities lack significant jurisdiction over food systems but can promote food policies with relevant effects in the face of climate change, because they are closer to citizens and are more innovative and dynamic.

Cities can develop various actions that contribute to the construction of local agri-food systems that guarantee access to sustainable, healthy, nutritious and sufficient diets and prevent food vulnerability at a time of global emergencies, such as the situation we are living in today.

Some cities are already on this journey and articulate international joint mechanisms such as The Barcelona Challenge for Good Food and Climate10, launched in 2021 by the Barcelona City Council, the Network of Spanish Municipalities for Agroecology, Red de Municipios por la Agroecología in Spanish (RMAe), the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) and C40, among others. This is an international call for cities and its residents to make a commitment towards the transformation of their food systems in order to confront the climate emergency. So far it has been signed by 24 cities that bring together over 36 million people. Its goal is to reduce GHG emissions up to 11.17 million tCO2e per year, that is, the equivalent of the emissions of 2.4 million polluting cars, through fostering policies that make their food systems more sustainable and healthy. This initiative was launched during the MUFPP Global Forum that took place in Barcelona in October 2021 and will be relaunched in this year’s edition, from the 17th to the 19th of October in Rio de Janeiro.

This report presents the coordinated effort of cities for the development of policies fostering the development of local, healthy, fair, and sustainable food systems and it provides current initiatives that promote food security and care for our planet’s health. Projects like these showcase the kind of political decisions that cities can take nowadays to properly face historical challenges. From our position as municipalities we summon national authorities to reinforce the food transition for climate action.