Food for the cities programme

FAO hosted the 2nd Mayors Summit of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact on the occasion of World Food Day 2016


With sustainable policies in agricultural and urban development to fight hunger and food insecurity at the heart of this year’s World Food Day theme, FAO hosted the Second Annual Mayors Summit of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) on 13 and 14 October. For two days, Mayors and representatives from 50 cities, technical experts, national representatives, and other stakeholders met at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy. They met to review the progress of the Milan Pact launched one year ago. Speakers and participants discussed follow up activities, priorities for the coming years, and presented Milan Pact Awards to eight cities for their good practices in line with the Pact’s Framework for Action.

Guiding and monitoring cities efforts

The technical workshop held on 13 October allowed participants to exchange ideas on how to monitor cities’ efforts in reaching the Pact goals, and how to enhance its operationalization using city networks and city-to-city cooperation mechanisms. The first session focused on helping cities understand how their food system functions, define the trajectory to follow, and monitor progress made in meeting commitments outlined by the Pact. Cities showed their interest, especially in having relevant indicators to assess key components of the food system more precisely. The limiting factor lies in the lack of availability of data at local level in some cities. Further discussions will continue with the signatory cities  to keep building this framework.

It was agreed that city networks (such as C40, Eurocities, ICLEI, Cittàsane, etc) play a key role in enhancing advocacy actions and activating partnerships and can be key for signatory cities to reach the MUFPP goals. FAO proposed to building on city-to-city cooperation mechanisms, in order to be taken into consideration in the near future. It would contribute to fostering and accelerating the implementation of the Pact, especially in developing countries, by providing peer-to-peer cooperation and exchanges of good practices among signatory cities.

During World Food Day celebrations, mayors and city representative convened for the official ceremony of the Second Mayors Summit of the MUFPP. FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva opened the Summit stressing that “all cities, big and small, can and must help build the sustainable, resilient food systems of the future”. Corinna Hawkes (Centre of Food Policy; IPES-Food) and Roberta Sonnino (Cardiff University) delivered keynote speeches that underlined the importance and the scope of such an international commitment to build sustainable food systems in an urbanizing context. It was followed by supported statement made by Mayor Sala of Milan and representatives of the Italian Food and Agriculture Ministry and the city of Rome.

Awards for good practices

During the Summit, eight cities received awards for their significant efforts in implementing actions towards sustainable and resilient food systems. Three out of the eight pilot cities of the FAO-RUAF City Region Food Systems Programme received awards for their work in building more sustainable and resilient food systems within their city regions.

Six awards in the following category of the Framework for Action were presented:

  • Food production: Quito, for the AGRUPAR programme on urban agriculture;
  • Sustainable diets and nutrition: Birmingham, for its projects to fight childhood obesity;
  • Food waste: Riga, for an innovative method to treat and reuse food waste to fertilize soils and produce energy for greenhouses and household heating;
  • Social and economic equity: Lusaka, for using food for social equity, through the work done by women's groups with the municipality to integrate immigrants and food system services to fight food insecurity, unemployment and poverty;
  • Food supply and distribution: Toronto, for “Grab Some Good”, a collaborative initiative aiming at bringing healthy food in underserved communities; and
  • Governance: Vancouver, for the Vancouver Food Strategy.

Two monetary awards were presented on the following categories:

  • For the highest score within a challenging environment: Mexico City, especially for the “Community Dining Rooms Programme” that has set up more than 200 canteens throughout the city in areas with high rates of marginalization in order to offer affordable meals, thus empowering vulnerable people by providing them with employment opportunities.
  • For the overall highest score: Baltimore, for creating the “Baltimore Food Policy Initiative” which aims to address health, economic and environmental disparities by increasing access to healthy affordable food in Baltimore City’s food deserts.

It was announced that the third annual Mayors Summit of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact will be hosted in 2017 by the city of Valencia, in Spain.

Additional material

Watch the webcast of the 14 October Official Ceremony of the Mayors Summit here.
Photo gallery of the 13 and 14 October events can be found here and here.
Learn more about the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact here.
Read here a short description of the winning practices.