Seoul international urban food conference 2021

The 25th of October 2021 was held the second Seoul International Conference on Urban Food organized by Seoul municipality. Seoul is a signatory city of MUFPP and is currently representing the region of Asia Pacific in the MUFPP Steering Committee with the city of Bandung. The first one were delivered during the pandemic in 2020.

The aim of the conferece was to discuss with overseas cities about actions in response to climate change that is strictly connected to food systems. As the temperature rises faster, the social transformation at a global level is urgent. In this context, with the majority of people living in urban areas, the role of cities and mayors is crucial in order to promote policies to reduce emissions that are harmful for our environment.

The invited participants shared their experiences and strategies under the theme of building a sustainable and healthy food system in an era of climate crisis.

In the introduction, Ms. Park Yoo Mi, Director of Civil Health at Seoul Metropolitan Government who presented the 5 year master plan for Seoul, a food strategy based on 6 six core values: health, food security, co-prosperity, community support, ecology and happiness as a key value of making citizen enjoy good foods.

The first session was focused on the coexistence between accessible healthy diets and respect for the planet boundaries, starting with the speech of Zachary Tofias of C40, that presented the Good Food Cities Declaration, then Lujain Alqodmani of EAT who talked about the Planetary Health Diet and stressed the concept of shifting to plant based foods as fundamental to reduce carbon emissions. Additionally, both of them underlined the importance of a combined approach between planetary health diet, sustainable production practices and food waste reduction to achieve a sustainable food system.

Another presentation was given by Filippo Gavazzeni of the MUFPP secretariat just back from the 7th Global Forum where, with many signatory cities, was also launched the Barcelona Challenge, a commitment related to the transformation of urban food systems that will be brought to the COP26 in Glasgow.

The second session was focused on two practical case studies: Andrea Magarini of city of Milan with the great example of reducing food waste trough Local Food Waste Hubs, an initiative that won an Earthshot Prize, a very prestigious environmental award, and Shaleen Meelu of Birmingham, who collaborated with Pune (India) for a common food strategy.

Other speakers were organized in two group discussions,Seoul National University, Greenpeace Korea, Sangmyung University and many others, with some interesting reflections on presentations and on how to build a winning food policy strategy. 

More information on the meeting are available in the webinar here.

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