European cities unite to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

European cities unite to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

November 16, 2018

European cities unite to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

The BCFN Forum, Milan taking place on 27 and 28 November 2018, offers an opportunity to present the publication Food and Cities, a joint initiative between BCFN and the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, arising from Expo 2015. At the forefront of this are effective food policies of various European Cities.

Today over 50 per cent of the world’s population live in cities and by 2050 the percentage of town dwellers could exceed 80 per cent.

If such estimates materialize, current food systems could not meet growing demand with sustainable development; not least due to the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions directly linked to food production, but also due to the substantial water consumption entailed in crop cultivation, direct pollution of of arable land, and its shortage, chiefly due to raising animals, grazing and cultivation of feedstuffs. 

This is without taking into consideration that social inequality in urban areas is now a real issue and likely to increase. It is not unusual to find, within just a few kilometers, overweight or obese adults living alongside underweight, malnourished children.


The issue is urgent and various cities have been working for years in the field of food sustainability through urbanfood policies , based on social, cultural, academic, institutional and philanthropic dynamism. The initiative’s common denominator is to achieve  the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as is made clear in the recent publication Food and Cities, to be presented during the BCFN Forum in Milan on 27 and 28 November 2018. This joint initiative between BCFN and MUFPP (Milan Urban Food Policy Pact), and the first international pact on urban food policies, is the principle legacy of Expo Milan 2015. The specific link between urban food sustainability and the impact on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) arises in the second part of the publication. Using 44 indicators developed by FAO and MUFPP in relation to UN goals, several international authors have monitored the progress of various cities to show how they are actively collaborating.


EUROCITIES is a network of major European cities, bringing together the local governments of over 140 major cities in European countries and over 45 partner cities, with the aim of representing their interests in European Union institutions and facilitating dialog. Comprising more than 40 thematic working groups, including, as revealed by Food and Cities, one on urban food policies, launched in summer 2016 following the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, and now comprising 51 cities headed by Milan. 

Its main objectives are to promote the emerging role of local authorities in respect of EU food policies, influence European legislation to facilitate the cities’ position, for example on food waste and common agricultural policies, and to create a forum for discussion and stable, inclusive partnership between the working groups’ cities to request funding opportunities. 

EUROCITIES members meet regularly to discuss specific issues, such as food governance,  job creation, research and innovation, and the connection between urban and rural areas. Members also discuss ethical trade, public engagement, health, diet and much more. The working group is also involved in the European Union’s FOOD 2030 initiative, a platform for dialog to evaluate and address the scourge that is food waste. 

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