Milan, Nairobi and Kigali meet to achieve sustainable urban food systems

11/12/2020 - 

A city-to city cooperation project for the exchange of knowledge and experiences on food waste reduction at urban level.

Food management all along the value chain, from cultivation to food waste disposal, is central to safeguarding food security and responding to environmental concerns. 

In 2019, FAO launched its Framework for the Urban Food Agenda which called for a multisector and multi-stakeholder approach for leveraging sub-national and local government action to ensure sustainable food systems and improved nutrition.

In line with this framework, the project “Exchange of knowledge and experiences between Milan Municipality (Italy), Nairobi City County (Kenya) and Kigali (Rwanda) for the design of an action plan related to food waste reduction and management” has been developed, with the support of FAO and coordinated by the ACRA Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Milan.

The City of Milan, promoter of the first international pact between cities to develop sustainable urban food policies (Milan Urban Food Policy Pact), has been very active in finding solutions to fight the various forms of food waste, also through public-private partnerships. At the same time, both Nairobi and Kigali, consider engaging in better food waste management to be of the utmost importance,  in order to contribute to hunger and poverty reduction.

The project showcases the wealth of experience that the Municipality of Milan has accumulated in food waste management, and provides a unique opportunity for mutual exchanges and learning by the three cities. This exchange has been facilitated by ACRA, a prominent actor in knowledge sharing between cities on effective food waste management.

One of the main results of the project has been the establishment of an open source platform that features various modules and learning materials on food waste prevention, reduction and management drawn from the experience of the city of Milan. The platform has been a joint endeavor of the technical and institutional representatives of the City of Milan, with the support of ACRA and FAO. In the context of the current COVID-19 situation, the platform has served as an effective tool to conduct virtual trainings remotely, and facilitate exchanges between the three cities.   

A two-day live training session on food waste management and reduction was organized on 1-2 December that brought together technical experts from the city of Milan as well as more than 40 officials and representatives from city counties of Kigali and Nairobi. The virtual training has been a unique occasion for city officials and representatives from Kigali and Nairobi to share their experiences and learn the skills and practices developed by the City of Milan in the prevention, reduction and management of food waste. 

The virtual training was preceded by a needs assessment of the food waste situation in Nairobi and Kigali, and participants had the opportunity to discuss findings of the assessment, and identify few issues to be developed into an action plan and subsequently a pilot project on food waste prevention, reduction and management in Kigali and Nairobi. 

The live session saw the participation of Mr. Anping Ye, Director of the South-South and Triangular Cooperation division and Ms. Marcela Villarreal, Director of the Partnership and UN Collaboration division of FAO. 

As a result of this exchange of experiences, Nairobi, Kigali and Milan will have additional tools with which to plan pilot projects on food waste prevention and management, including the recovery and redistribution of safe and nutritious foods. Interactions between participants and food policy experts will offer future opportunities to exchange and share experiences and initiatives.

“We are very interested in this opportunity to share knowledge and experiences related to food systems and policies, especially those concerning food waste”  Vice Mayor of Milan appointed for food policies, Anna Scavuzzo said in her opening remarks – “Cooperation and training are key elements of the transformation towards more sustainable cities. Thanks to FAO for this opportunity and to Kigali and Nairobi for their engagement in the implementation of sustainability strategies for urban food systems” she added.