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Expert consultation on assessing city region food systems and monitoring the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact implementation



Indicator consultation for assessing city region food systems, held in FAO HQ, Rome, 13-14 April 2016

On 13-14 April 2016, FAO’s Food for the Cities Initiative organized a consultation with international experts to review and consolidate the current indicator framework that will be used to carry out the assessment of city region food systems (CRFS) and to discuss on the monitoring framework to be used for the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (UFPP) implementation. FAO provided technical assistance in the development of the Milan UFPP’s framework in 2015, and committed to support the formulation of indicators to measure UFPP’s targets and to assist in collating and monitoring data to assess progress and results.

Within FAO’s Food for the Cities Programme, FAO and RUAF Foundation are working on a comprehensive indicator framework to help assess different sustainability dimensions of a city region food system. The indicators can be used to assess the current status of a local food system and to monitor changes resulting from policy and programme implementation. The indicators are based on a review of over 50 studies on city regions, urban, community and food systems.

The objectives of the expert consultation were to:

  • Consolidate and define the current indicator framework to be implemented in city region food systems through  the Food for the Cities Programme;
  • Identify existing tools and methods to collect and collate relevant indicator data;
  • Identify a set of indicators to monitor the implementation of the Milan UFPP’s framework of action.
  • Connect, where possible, the indicator frameworks with other metric systems such as the SDGs targets.

Consultation participants from FAO, from the cities of Colombo, Toronto and Bristol, the Municipality of Milan, the RUAF Foundation, IFAD, WFP, EStà - Economia e Sostenibilità and FIAN International took part in the discussions.

Indicator framework for the on-going work in city regions

The first day of the consultation focused on improving and consolidating the current framework for the RUAF-FAO on-going work in city regions. The scope was to identify existing tools and methods to collect and collate indicator data and find possible proxies to be used when  data is not available.

Presentations were delivered on:

  • The work being carried out through the Food for the Cities Programme (Guido Santini, FAO, technical coordinator);
  • The CRFS indicator framework process and the status of the on-going work (Joy Carrey, Sustainable food systems planner, Bristol);
  • The relevance of an indicator framework in local contexts, and the existing mechanisms to monitor food policies and strategies. Insights from cities:

                     o    Colombo, Sri Lanka (Sudarshana Fernando, International Water Management Institute, Colombo)
                     o    Toronto, Canada (Alison Blay-Palmer, Wilfried Laurier University, Toronto)
                     o    Bristol, United Kingdom (Joy Carey, Sustainable food systems planner, Bristol)

The afternoon parallel working group discussions allowed to identify key topics and indicators for assessing a CRFS that focuses on the five sustainability pillars of the indicator framework:

                     o    Social sustainability and equity;
                     o    Economic sustainability;
                     o    Environmental sustainability;
                     o    Governance; and
                     o    Resilience against shocks.

Monitoring the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact implementation

The second day focused on discussing indicators to measure the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact targets. Following the presentation on the Pact and the monitoring framework proposal by Stefania Amato (Policy researcher and adviser, Municipality of Milan) the discussions focused on what are the key topics and indicators and that should be taken into account when monitoring a food policy or strategic plan within the six recommended actions themes of the Milan UFPP:

                     o    Ensuring an enabling environment for effective action (governance);
                     o    Sustainable diets and nutrition;
                     o    Social and economic equity;
                     o    Food production;
                     o    Food supply and distribution; and
                     o    Food waste.

Special attention was given to ensure connectivity and consistency between the two processes and with the sustainable development goals’ indicators.

The way forward

The work will continue to be carried out during the next five months, including the RUAF-FAO work on city regions and the Milan UFPP. In October 2016, FAO will host the Milan UFPP’s Mayor Summit, a year from the signature of the Pact in Milan. On this occasion, the set indicators to measure the Pact’s targets will be presented; assistance will be provided to obtain and monitor relevant data; and a process will be built to facilitate the exchange of best practices among cities which will contribute to expand the network.