Using the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact to gauge progress in a city region

An analysis that compares the Municipal Development Plan of Santiago de Cali (Colombia) to the Monitoring Framework Indicators found in the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) provide insights for current decision-makers to strengthen development plans, strategies, and monitoring instruments towards sustainability.   

By Sandra Aronson

Cities play a strategic role in building sustainable and resilient food systems by developing effective policies and enabling environments where policymakers and other stakeholders are actively engaging in local and international dialogue. Under the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) cities are sharing best practices in making diverse food systems more sustainable, by relying on public and private monitoring systems to set baseline measurements to gauge the effectiveness of change initiatives.

In Cali – one of Colombia’s major cities with approximately 2.5 million inhabitants – inequitable access and availability of healthy foods and issues linked to food production, consumption, distribution, and disposal contribute to a cycle of poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition, where refugees, the urban poor, Afro-Colombian, and indigenous communities are disproportionately affected. There is a dire need to integrate sustainability into development goals — for social equity and healthy diets across all life stages; economic development and prosperity among medium and smallholder businesses and farms; and to preserve environmental diversity and resilience with no harm done to present or future generations.

Cities around the world face similar issues and they address these problems by sharing lessons learned. The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) is an effort to build coordinated commitment to foster positive change through recommended actions. It creates a network where city governments from around the globe share sustainable food practices that: (a) provide healthy and affordable food to all; (b) strengthen and support equitable urban, peri-urban, and rural food production; and (c) promote strategies that reduce food waste and protect the environment.

This non-binding agreement aims to help cities network, highlight good practices and policies, and measure progress towards more sustainable food systems across six categories: governance; sustainable diets and nutrition; social and economic equity; food production; food supply and distribution; and food waste. Cali is not a signatory city, but evidence from other Latin American signatory cities suggests that joining the pact improves food system policies and contributes new approaches to solve social problems. The associated MUFPP Monitoring Framework Indicators establish baseline measures and monitor progress towards achieving sustainable foods systems using 44 outcome and performance indicators.

Scorecard to Assess Cali’s Readiness to Monitor its Food Systems Sustainability

The Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT and the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, developed an analysis that examines the degree to which indicators tracked in Cali’s 2016-2019 Municipal Development Plan, the city’s Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan, the city’s Resilience Strategy, and the ENSIN (Colombia ’s quinquennial health and nutrition survey) matched the 44 Monitoring Framework Indicators from the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) to provide initial insights for decision-makers in Cali.

The presence of MUFPP key indicators in Cali’s municipal initiatives were ranked with a green-yellow-red scheme. Indicators that were present, or were in full agreement, were marked in green, indicators that were partially present were marked in yellow, and those that were absent were marked in red (see below).

Partial and missing indicators reflect gaps in knowledge and intervention areas and highlight clear opportunities for future action aimed at improving Cali’s capacities to assess and monitor food systems sustainability.

Unsystematic priority setting by decision makers and inadequate investments in education, public, environmental, and food safety demonstrates how the city-region has not successfully implemented a comprehensive plan towards building safe, resilient, and sustainable food systems.

These findings and recommendations have been disseminated with actors from the current local government of Cali and from other neighboring cities, with the intention to continue promoting them among policymakers, partner organizations, and the wider audience in hopes of generating actionable knowledge and spurring future research future research agendas within the Alliance, the CGIAR and community at large.

Ver también:

A city region as a food lab for a greater understanding of food systems