At the 8th Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) Global Forum, held on 17-19 October 2022 under the theme “Food to Feed the Climate Justice: urban food solutions for a fairer world”, RUAF and partners discussed the critical role of cities and food in creating a just, inclusive and sustainable future.
Jointly with FAO and CIRAD, RUAF organised the side event “City Region Food Systems (CRFS) Programme: Building climate resilience in city region food systems to enable inclusive and sustainable access to food”. The session focused on sharing knowledge on climate risk analysis and planning measures to increase resilience. The event provided an opportunity to hear from representatives of four cities, Antananarivo, Nairobi, Tel Aviv and Porto Alegre, on approaches to climate risk to build long-term transformation and promote climate justice policies. The side session also discussed the jointly developed CRFS handbook and online toolkit to analyze vulnerabilities and risks, define priorities and develop food system policies, strategies and plans focusing on resilience.
In his take-away message, René van Veenhuizen, RUAF Senior Programme Manager, stressed the importance of understanding the concept of resilience. “In a recent study by RUAF for the Asian Development Bank on the role of UPA in Urban Climate Resilience, it was also emphasized to start with clear definitions to allow an understanding of opportunities and the challenges of the current food system, and using the multiple values and benefits of UPA. Hence there is a need to be specific, clarify the concept and the need to further operationalize this as part of multi-actor action planning. This is what the CRFS tool does”.
The critical need to pay attention to the prevention of stresses and shocks, as part of the CRFS approach was emphasised, along with the need to build transformative action based on understanding the vulnerability of local and global food systems. A key aspect is the exchange of knowledge through dialogue and interaction among cities to promote collective initiatives, policies and innovative solutions that cities can undertake. Cities can lead, and are taking action in improving and transforming their city region, involving multiple stakeholders, sectors, and levels.
The recording is available here.
On 18th October, RUAF, MUFPP and FAO HQ, with the cities of Nairobi, Quito, Douala, Kolding, Guelph and Porto Alegre hosted the interactive event “Working with indicators for climate-resilient and sustainable urban food systems”.
This session reported on follow up work in using the MUFPP Monitoring Framework Handbook and Resource Pack, including work with FAO on Green Cities Initiative and with CGIAR Resilient Cities.
Joy Carey, RUAF Senior Programme Officer, explained: “The main aim for this session was to encourage more cities to feel more confident about starting to use the MUFPP monitoring framework by hearing from both cities that have been using it for sometime and cities that are new to monitoring. The purpose of the MUFPP monitoring framework is to help cities to keep track of the progress they are making on food system change, and to facilitate more focused learning exchanges between cities.”
The MUFPP Framework, developed by RUAF and FAO, includes 44 indicators for measuring progress on implementing urban food policies, across the six MUFPP categories of food governance, sustainable diets and nutrition, social and economic equity, food production, food supply and distribution and food waste.
Cecile Michel, from the MUFPP Secretariat, concluded the session emphasizing that “these important sessions on monitoring will be continued at the regional fora”.
The recording is available here.
The last event in the series, “Climate Justice and Urban Food Systems Change: putting ideals into practice“, called out the need to put people and their environment at the center when discussing policy transformation and sustainable development. Climate justice refers to the urgency of raising our voices, promoting just and equal representation, equitable sharing and fair distribution of the benefits and burdens of climate change and responsibility. Climate justice is therefore critical when it comes to transforming food systems and making cities livable for all. Food is a critical entry point for making cities more inclusive and climate resilient. However, vulnerable and low-income populations pay the highest costs and are often excluded and marginalized when it comes to policy decisions. If we really want to talk about justice, this has to change.
In opening the session, René van Veenhuizen, commented that the “work on food system resilience needs to proactively identify and find ways to implement the most effective ways to build the (resilience) capacities of the most vulnerable people.
Samuel Ikua, Project Manager at the Mazingira Institute, commented: “The least addressed concern is on climate change and the generational injustice: the older generation is handing over a bad world – which they didn’t receive like that – to the current young generation. The young people are on the receiving end of the impacts of climate change (to which they did not contribute to) and this makes them vulnerable and exposes their future to climate related risks.”
Representatives from three cities, Marina Borgatello from Rosario, Argentina, Sarah Pullen from the city of Birmingham, UK and Alexandra Rodriguez, the Metro Region of Quito, Ecuador presented their experiences, priorities and approaches to climate justice. They highlighted the need for increased information sharing to inform policy decisions and strengthen actions for increased climate resilience, as well as the main challenges that cities are facing to assess the fairness of policy and practice responses to address climate change and its consequences.
In the following panel on different RUAF programmes, Mangiza Chirwa, Project manager (sustainable food and cities) for Hivos Zambia, shared the experiences from the Healthy Food Africa project on the need for ordinary citizens to understand the climate justice agenda in ways that are meaningful to them at individual level in order for them to show responsibility and fully participate in advocacy. She also spoke about the importance of distinguishing city climate justice strategies from those targeted at rural areas due to the marked difference between how climate change affects cities and how it affects more rural communities. The CRFS model is useful in understanding how different climate justice strategies can be used in city regions, such as Chongwe and Lusaka.
The experiences of these different programs have emphasized the need for diverse participation in food systems governance and planning platforms to better guide and implement ‘fast and fair’ changes, ensuring that voices are heard and involving community leaders to make change happen.
Joy Carey, RUAF Senior Programme Officer, wrapped up the session, stressing that data is critical and we must identify clearly who is most vulnerable. Participatory governance is the only way to hear all voices and identify a common agenda. She concluded: “In addressing inequality within a city, effective solutions can be found by combining an understanding of what really works from behaviour change science with speaking to everyone and really gathering a wide range of different perspectives and ideas. It is important to think about the most inclusive use of language and to take time to properly understand what motivates people”.
The recording is available here.
The above-mentioned sessions were organised by RUAF and/or RUAF partners, supported by the Resilient Cities Programme.