Great success for the 7th MUFPP Global Forum - The closing report

The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) cities and partners finally met in person after two years of virtual exchanges, from the 19th to 21st October in Barcelona at the 7th MUFPP Global Forum.

The event ends with more than 500 participants representing cities from all around the world, the launch of the Barcelona Challenge and the passing of the torch to Rio de Janeiro for the next Global Forum in 2022.

The gathering was a great success in terms of participation, bringing together city delegates from over 100 cities, experts and civil society organizations who are working on food systems transformation for further sustainability and inclusion.

In the context of the World Sustainable Food Capital 2021, the City of Barcelona hosted the 3-day event on the topic Growing Resilience: Sustainable Food to Tackle the Climate Emergency, dedicated to the food-climate nexus. Several were the opportunities during the Forum for cities to deepen their knowledge on how to respond to climate challenges, improve their food systems and advance together towards the implementation of the global food agenda.

Many experts and institutions took part in the Forum: one hundred and fifty speakers coming from all over the world and 40 political leaders representing MUFPP signatory cities.

The transformation of our food system is not an option but an obligation if we truly want to tackle the climate emergency. We are running out of time. Cities have proven to be brave by leading many of the transformations needed despite their budget and competence limitations. Now it's time to call upon States to implement complete legislation to respond to this reality, as they are the ones who have powers, and they should make use of their competencies. Over and above words, we need to see action. Changing the food system must be at the heart of climate action.

“The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact Global Forum was aptly hosted in the framework of Barcelona World Capital of Sustainable Food 2021. We have a sound scientific basis that proves how ensuring good and healthy food for everyone and responding to the climate emergency go hand in hand. The beautiful expression ‘planetary health diet’ tells it all. This is an element in which cities are protagonists and can make a huge difference. The Barcelona Challenge is a great instrument that will encourage action”.

In the plenary session on the state of the Pact, participants had an overview of the great work that the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact membership has implemented over its 6 years of activity to animate a growing number of cities (today counting 217 signatory cities with 19 new cities in 2021 only, among which Tokyo, Sydney, Los Angeles, Bangkok). The Milan Pact Mayors represent over 400 million people worldwide.

In addition to the plenaries, several side events and parallel sessions covered a variety of food systems-related topics, with emphasis given to urban food policies for healthy citizens on a healthy planet; food infrastructure to promote a local food system transformation; and to communication tools and strategies to coordinate actions and enhance citizens’ involvement and public support. 

Among the Forum side events, we also want to mention the one organized by Food Trails, in collaboration with the Food 2030 Project Family, “EU Food Policy Strikes Again“, 

The Forum also hosted regional sessions to give the chance to cities to focus on their common challenges and seek appropriate solutions for their geographical and socio-economic context. The aim was also to reinforce the network among cities and provide the sharing of best practices and experiences. The Steering Committee members, representing the membership – Antananarivo and Ouagadougou, Bandung and Seoul, Kazan and Tel Aviv, Birmingham, Barcelona and Milan, New Haven and Mérida, Belo Horizonte and Rosario – took the lead and shared with member cities their leadership plans.

The 7th MUFPP Global Forum closed with the launching of The Barcelona Challenge for Good Food and Climate. Built on the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact framework for action and the C40 Good Food Declaration, the Challenge is a pioneer process initiated by cities leading climate action through food policies.

Based on international scientific research data, the Barcelona Challenge for Good Food and Climate presents an operational tool that allows cities to set their aspirational targets and to understand the positive impact of the urban food policies in terms of GHG emission reduction, socio-ecological benefits (prevented deaths, jobs generated, water saved,) and economic return.

During the Forum, the next Global Forum Hosting City was announced: the city of Rio de Janeiro will hold the MUFPP Global Forum in 2022.

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