In the context of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, a non-binding international agreement among cities from all over the world, the Municipality of Dakar (Senegal) in collaboration with the Food Wave project, organized the 5th MUFPP Regional Forum in Africa from the 17th to the 19th of July 2023.
The event saw the participation of 21 policy officers and local authorities from 14 African cities as well as 10 African activists and 24 Food Wave activists from Europe and Brazil.
Committed to develop sustainable food systems that are inclusive, resilient, safe and diverse, that provide healthy and affordable food to all people in a human rights-based framework, that minimize waste and conserve biodiversity while adapting to and mitigating impacts of climate change, participating cities had the chance to work on their local food policy through the Food Policy Action Canvas methodology, developed by the Polytechnic University of Milan.
The FPAC is a conceptual and practical instrument aimed at supporting urban policy makers to translate most relevant food-issue related policy areas into detailed and concrete policy actions. The FPAC is composed of two major components, which reinforce each other and develop in an iterative manner.
The first component of the work related to defining the food policy’s priority goals of most relevance, guided by the policy priorities and categories set by the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Secondly, key beneficiaries to address, type of relationship and channels to engage them, activities to be performed, relevant stakeholders and resources to mobilize were defined by the participants. Potential and actual drivers and barriers were considered to assess the risk and feasibility of the planned food policy actions.
Opened by Jean Louis Ndiaye, Vice Mayor for the Municipality of Dakar, Cécile Michel, MUFPP Secretariat, Anna Scavuzzo, Vice Mayor for the Municipality of Milan, and Valeria De Paoli, Head of Programmes for ACRA, the forum included a session dedicated to engaging development agencies and international organizations for African urban food systems, as well as field visits.
In particular, Food Wave activists had the chance to meet with local climate and sustainable development movements discussing the global impacts of climate change, the role of international cooperation in activism and the involvement in policy making as a change-making tool.
Below, the retelling of Malalarimisa Minosoa Andrianirina, activist from Antananarivo (Madagascar), sharing their experience and gained knowledge from the event.
The city of Antananarivo, Madagascar is one of the signatory cities of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. During the MUFPP 2023 event, which took place from July 17 to 19, 2023 in Dakar, Senegal, I had the opportunity to take part and represent the civil society and activists of the city of Antananarivo, accompanied by a representative of the Commune Urbaine.
Madagascar is rich in a wide range of resources: human, territorial, mining, agricultural, etc. Unfortunately, these resources are poorly exploited, as one of the main problems facing our city and country is undernourishment and malnutrition. We have all the resources we need to turn things around: manpower, space, time and seeds. But we also have civil society organizations and state departments vying for governance and funds, which ultimately leads to disparate and non-curative actions.
The presence of a representative of the Commune Urbaine d’Antananarivo on the one hand, and an activist on the other, was, in my opinion, very judicious, as we had the opportunity to exchange views in complete transparency on the various points that are holding back our activities and preventing us from achieving our objectives.
Personally, I found the event short but rich in exchange, sharing and know-how. For me, the three days of the forum were an opportunity to learn about the various strategies, methodologies and implementation of joint work between the municipality and civil society organizations from the point of view of the dozens of cities represented. This diversity was an opportunity for me, because in Madagascar it’s rare, almost non-existent, to see the various government departments working with civil society organizations. In fact, all the actions carried out here are still disparate, because the state and civil-society parties carry out actions that are sometimes/often similar, without consulting the (sometimes/often) same beneficiaries. From this forum, I have retained the various approaches so that the two parties can work together without encroaching on each other’s territory. From this forum, I learned that it was a good idea to compare my municipality’s point of view with that of a social worker/activist. I hope that this meeting was the first step towards a long series of joint work between the state (municipality) and civil society in Antananarivo. From this meeting, I hope that the municipality will take into account the know-how and expertise of activists and social workers in Madagascar.
My ambition is to emphasize to the municipality the importance of working together for greater impact and to ensure that actions are curative not only in terms of food security in our city, but also in terms of social protection for Malagasy people to at least reach the physiological needs level. We also need to work together to find the right approach to respond positively to the food security pact we’ve signed.