With support from the European Union, the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) Secretariat, the City of Bandung, and the University of Parahyangan co-organised the 1st MUFPP Asia Pacific Regional Forum on 3-4 August 2022 in support of Indonesia’s U20 Mayors Summit and G20 Summit, to be held at the end of August and in mid-November this year respectively.
Titled “Improving City Food Security and Creating Work Through Urban Farming Based on Culture and Technology”, the event consists of two activities – an international conference on Day 1 and field visits on Day 2 – and aims at addressing the issues of inequality in access to food and urging cities to make their food systems more sustainable to ensure greater food security and better economic opportunities. The event was participated by officials from cities in Indonesia, the Asia Pacific region and the European Union, as well as experts from international organisations working on food.
The conference began with opening words from Mr. Mangadar Situmorang, a rector of the University of Parahyangan, serving as a host of the event. He was delighted that participants from various institutions can meet to discuss challenges and solutions to urban food systems.
Bandung is chosen to be host of the first regional forum in Asia Pacific as the city is on the steering committee of the MUFPP. “We are deeply honoured for the opportunity to the host of this seminal event as we are very much committed to making our food system sustainable,” said Mr. Yana Mulyana, Mayor of Bandung. “The conference will focus on overcoming existing inequalities in accessing food, obtaining greater food security and boosting job creation. More specifically, this event will support the themes of “Green Job” and “Smart City” which are important concerns for the Urban-20, which is currently coordinated by Indonesia with its G20 presidency”.
Representing the EU to give all participants a warm welcome to the forum was Mr. René Sieron, Head of the Finance, Contracts and Audit Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam. He emphasised the importance of issues related to the food system, which prompted the EU to launch the Farm to Fork Strategy as part of the European Green Deal two years ago. “The Farm to Fork Strategy aims to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally friendly. It brings sustainability to the heart of each step of the food value chain,” said Mr. Sieron. “The sustainability of food systems is a cross-cutting issue tying most current climate and environmental challenges together,” he added.
Later, he noted the EU support to the regional forum as part of the “Food Policy Cluster” cooperation implemented within the EU-funded International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) programme. This cooperation includes a series of food policy training webinars co-organised with the MUFPP Secretariat. More importantly, several cities in Asia Pacific have become new signatories to the Pact, including Seberang Perai, Malaysia, whose officials are present at the forum, and Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Further welcoming remarks were added by Ms. Yuke Maluani Atina, representing West Java Province, and Mr. Bima Arya, Head of Association of Indonesia Municipalities (APEKSI). They highlighted the contributions from all stakeholders to deal with the overall urban food supply chain — production, distribution, consumption, and waste management.
Within the IURC programme, Milan is the lead city for cooperation in the food cluster. The Italian city has been in collaboration with IURC to organise a series of webinars on food policy training, which has paved the way in terms of knowledge exchange for the regional forum today.
Describing the state of the MUFPP was Mr. Filippo Gavazzeni, Head of the MUFPP Secretariat. “The MUFPP has grown into a truly global network of cities committed to making their food systems more sustainable. This year alone, we have welcomed 11 cities into our Pact, 9 of which are from the Asia Pacific region, thanks to the support from the EU. These include Chiang Mai, Seberang Perai, Pekanbaru, Gorontalo, Tarakan, Makassar, Bontang, Banjar Baru.”
Thanks to the support from IURC, delegates from Seberang Perai, Malaysia, are among the high-ranking city officials from Asia Pacific attending the two-day event. In addition, IURC country coordinators are onsite to provide support and join activities, including Ms. Jacqueline Chang, Country Coordinator for Malaysia and Circular Economy Specialist, who is one of the speakers at the roundtable of international experts discussing the sustainable management of food systems from various viewpoints.
The best practice session was carried out as a series of MUFPP & IURC Asia Pacific Food Policy Training. It focused on food production, where the city of Milan, Bandung, Seoul and Seberang Perai shared their experience on this topic. Further, Dini Laraswati, the Country Coordinator in Indonesia of IURC Asia & Australasia, took the lead in the interactive discussion under the topic “Strengthening networks and collaborations both nationally and internationally in realizing a Food Smart City”.
On the next day, the participants paid visits to the urban farming sites managed by the local communities. Through Buruan Sae (Sundanese: good garden – Healthy, Natural, Economical) programme, Bandung City has supported the food security of families and communities by utilising the unproductive land in the yards. With continuous support from city authorities, currently, Buruan Sae has more than 300 spots spread across all urban villages, and they are well maintained.