Cities call on UN agencies to recognize their role in shaping a sustainable food system

400 mayors, experts and city delegates from the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact gathered in Valencia from 19 – 21 October 2017 to discuss sustainable food systems in the framework of the Third Annual Gathering of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP).
The cities of Toronto and Antananarivo win this year’s Milan Pact Awards.

The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP), the first international protocol on sustainable urban food policies, was launched in Milan in 2015 and has been signed by 159 cities so far. The gathering of mayors and city officials is an opportunity for signatory cities to exchange ideas and share their progress in meeting the goals of the Pact.

“It is in the hands of the mayors to lay the ground for participation of every city to meet this global challenge, and the cities have to share their good practices with other cities” says Joan Ribó, Mayor of Valencia. He says “cities are the essence of civilization. The history of the evolution of societies is full of collaborative processes. Only by working together we will make
a difference”.

“The Milan Pact, two years after its launch, is proving to be an extraordinary means to promote collaboration among cities on food policies and sustainability. Thanks to the exchange of good practices on urban agriculture, prevention of food waste, school meals and so forth, taking place both at regional level – in North America Western Africa and Latin America – and across continents, we have been able to activate network of cities with great strategic value,” says Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan. “The joint commitment of Mayors signing the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact highlights our capacity to put forward innovative solutions to global economic, social and environmental challenges when tackling food issues. Cities are ready to play an important role in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.”

MUFPP cities launched an appeal to the UN Secretary and the all UN agencies for their efforts to foster inclusion, resilience and sustainability to be recognized. They call on the UN bodies to adopt multi-level approaches to food systems governance” acknowledging “the need to include actors at subnational level in upcoming review and follow up to the global agendas”. Cities also urge UN agencies, governments and civil society to “include sustainable and actionable initiatives to strengthen urban rural linkages integral to sustainable development.
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Milan Pact Awards
One goal of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact is to foster the exchange of ideas and solutions for food related issues among cities. One of the most important mechanisms to enhance this
exchange is the Milan Pact Awards (MPA), promoted for the past two years by the City of Milan with the support of Fondazione Cariplo.

The MPA awards the best urban practices in sustainable food management of the MUFPP signatory cities. It comprises two monetary prizes and six special mentions. This year’s highest score, endowed with 15.000Euro, was awarded to the city of Toronto (Canada) for the good practice “Community Food Works for Newcomers: Using food as tool for settlement and integration”. The programme provides learner-centred training at no cost to obtain a Food Handler Training and Certification. This supports refugees and other newcomers to access employment in the food sector, helps them improve basic food and nutrition skills, and perhaps most importantly, uses food as a vehicle for immigrant and refugee settlement and integration into their new community.

The city of Antananarivo (Madagascar) received the second monetary prize also endowed with 15.000Euro for the category “Challenging Environment”. The city launched an “Urban Agriculture Programme” which promotes the installation of micro-vegetable gardens in the city’s low-income neighborhoods to improve food security and create income-generating activities for the sale of locally produced fresh vegetables. This Urban Agriculture Programme has spread to 24 districts, 21 traning centers and 15,000 beneficiaries.

The monetary prizes will be used for transferring the good practice from winning cities to other MUFPP cities in order to help them develop their own sustainable food practices. Last year the prizes were awarded to Baltimore, who shared the importance of adopting a comprehensive food strategy through the US Conference of Mayors Food Policy Task Force, and Mexico City which is sharing their practice with Tegucigalpa to improve the quality of their school canteens.

Additional special mentions go to the following cities and good practices:
· Governance: Ede (Netherlands) for its political commitment to draft and implement an integrated food governance framework
· Sustainable diets and nutrition: Copenhagen (Denmark) for its organic conversion project
· Social and economic equity: Austin (USA) for its Healthy Food Access Initiative
· Food production: Dakar (Senegal) for its Micro-Gardens Project
· Food supply and distribution: Ljubljana (Slovenia) for their short food supply chain work
· Food waste: Bruges (Belgium) for their innovative approach in reducing food waste in health care centres

Altogether, 53 good practices from 39 cities were submitted for this second round of Awards and were evaluated by an international jury composed of representatives of the United Nations, scientific and research institutions, civil society, the private sector and the Fondazione Cariplo.