Monday, October 19, 2015

More than 100 Cities Sign Urban Food Policy Pact, Pledge to Fight Hunger

Mayors gathered in Milan to sign pact
Cities will be vital in accomplishing the goal of feeding the world; around 15 percent of the world’s food is now grown in urban areas, and the global proportion of people living in cities will likely reach 65 percent by 2025. The Urban Food Policy Pact (UFPP) will unite city leaders worldwide for the creation of more just and sustainable urban food systems. The pact will address the potential of cities to contribute to food security through urban agriculture.  -Text of UFPP
On  World Food Day 2015, representatives from more than 100 cities signed the Urban Food Policy Pact, pledging to work together on efforts to develop sustainable food policies. The document was presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a ceremony in Milan, Italy. The project, led by the city of Milan, is modeled after an initiative that the Italian city created in 2014 with the assistance of Fundazione Caprilo. The objective is very simple: coordinate all policies dealing with food policy from a host of different perspectives: community, welfare, education, environment, well-being and international relations.

Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapa proposed the pact at the Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) Summit in 2014, and the agreement was launched during the Milan Expo 2015, whose theme was “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

“Today, at  the presence of metropolises from all over the world that are home  to 400 million people, we have achieved an ambitious goal: a commitment for the implementation of smart food policies in our cities," said Pisapia. "This strong commitment entails concrete actions at the local level, aimed at facing global emergencies such as hunger, malnutrition and 1,3 million tons of food wasted every year."

Five cities in the United States and two in Canada are party to this agreement:  Chicago, New York, Miami, Baltimore, San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto. Our neighbors in Latin America include  Mexico City, Guatemala City (Guatemala), Tegucigalpa (Honduras), Bogota and Medellin (Colombia), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Belo Horizonte, Sao Paulo, and Porto Alegre (Brazil). New York City announced its support for the pact on Twitter.

The pact includes five core actions:
  1. engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure an enabling environment; 
  2. promote sustainable diets and nutrition; 
  3. ensure equitable access to food; 
  4. promote rural-urban food production and supply; and 
  5. reduce food waste.
José Graziano da Silva, director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), praised the agreement, pointing out that  urban communities would play a significant role in achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, especially the eradication of hunger by 2030. Read more from Inter Press Service and Xinhua. Here is how the FAO tweeted its support for the pact.
While Urban Food Policy Pact currently has a little more than 100 signators, the model is applicable to cities of all sizes. According to StatisticBrain, using datafrom World Atlas, there were 4,416 cities in the world with a population of over 150,000, including Albuquerque. Imagine if every single one of these cities decided to adopt the UFPP principles.

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