Bangkok launches first food policy in cooperation with Milan and the European Union

Categorized as News from Asia & Australasia, News from IURC

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has reached a significant milestone with the introduction of the Bangkok Food Policy 2023-2027, aimed at enhancing the sustainability and inclusivity of the city’s food system. The policy is a result of Bangkok’s cooperation with the European Union (EU). Under this policy, Bangkok envisions itself as “the city of food with sustainability, equity and quality”. This vision involves improving food production, ensuring food access for all, bolstering food safety, reducing food loss and waste, and promoting food education.

“The Bangkok Food Policy 2023-2027 is a comprehensive policy document in which we address the different dimensions of the food system to ensure that our food is sustainably produced, safe and of good quality, is accessible for everyone and is properly managed to reduce environmental impact,” said Mr Chadchart Sittipunt, Governor of Bangkok. “Food is a crucial topic in sustainable development. It is linked to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, such as Zero Hunger (SDG #2), Good Health & Well-being (SDG #3) as well as Sustainable Consumption and Production (SDG #12). In addition to the European Union and Milan, the BMA would like to thank all the partners from other government agencies, the private sector, civil society and academia who are helping us to implement Bangkok’s food policy.”

As part of the cooperation under the EU-funded International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) programme, Bangkok received technical support from the Italian Municipality of Milan, a global leader in urban food policy.

“A more sustainable food system means a more sustainable planet.” said H.E. Mr David Daly, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand. “We are delighted to have been able to support the BMA’s initiatives towards a fair, healthy, and environmentally-friendly food system, which is in line with the European Green Deal. Under the EU-funded IURC programme, we are pursuing city-to-city cooperation for sustainable urban development in nine countries across the Asia Pacific and in 38 other countries across the globe. Cities play the leading role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and sustainable food systems are at their core. Facilitating cities to learn from one another and work together contributes to global efforts on climate action.”

The District Food Management Sandbox initiative was launched by the BMA in March 2023. This initiative focuses on applying recommended actions and indicators of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) to Bangkok’s food system, with a specific emphasis on food safety, food loss prevention and food waste management. The Sandbox has been successfully implemented in two districts, Huai Kwang and Samphanthawong, resulting in significant achievements such as the distribution of 3,522 kilograms of food surplus to vulnerable communities, the collection of 191,376 kilograms of food waste, the creation of 19,490 kilograms of compost from food waste, and the reduction of GHG emissions by 476 tons of CO2 equivalent as of August 2023. These impressive results will be now rolled-out to all the other 48 districts of Bangkok.

H.E. Mr Paolo Dionisi, Ambassador of Italy to Thailand, said, “Italy is glad to see that Bangkok and Milan have established ties through food since it plays a prominent role in both the Thai and Italian cultures. Food provides a unique avenue for sustainable development. Better management of the food system will result in the improved well-being of citizens, a happier and more inclusive society and a stronger economy of a city or nation. I hope our Italian stakeholders in the area of food in Bangkok can contribute to the implementation of the Bangkok Food Policy.”

“The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact has brought positive impact to food systems and to the people within them,” said Ms Anna Scavuzzo, Vice Mayor of Milan, during her visit to Bangkok. “We have been working proactively with cities around the world to promote knowledge exchange and cooperation on food system transformation. We would like to thank both the European Union and the Embassy of Italy to Thailand for supporting our journey through the adoption of the new Bangkok Food Policy. We are looking forward to continuing working with Bangkok to achieve the Milan Pact objectives.”

Taking place from 27 to 29 November, the launch of the Bangkok Food Policy 2023-2027 consists of a series of meetings, site visits, a stakeholder engagement workshop, a cooking demonstration and food donations. It is made possible by all the parties mentioned above as well as other stakeholders from the private sector and civil society and volunteers who contribute valuable expertise and resources to the different activities of the event. Please see the full programme for more information.

International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC)
International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) is an international city-to-city cooperation programme in the area of sustainable urban development funded by the European Union for a three-year period from 2021 to 2023. Cities in the European Union are paired with non-EU cities to cooperate on topics of their choice revolving around three thematic networks, namely 1) Ecological Transition and Green Deal, 2) Urban and Regional Renewal and Social Cohesion and 3) Innovative Sustainable and Carbon Neutral Ecosystems and Strategic Sectors. In Asia and Australasia, the programme is implemented in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Two Thai cities participate in the programme: the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration paired with the Municipality of Milan, Italy, and Chiang Mai Municipality paired with Granada Municipality, Spain.

Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP)
In 2015, the World Expo was hosted by Milan with the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. A legacy from this event is the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, which is the first international protocol through which cities commit themselves to developing sustainable food systems. It includes six categories, namely 1) Governance, 2) Sustainable Diets and Nutrition, 3) Social and Economic Equity, 4) Food Production, 5) Food Supply and Distribution and 6) Food Waste. Currently, the MUFPP has over 270 member cities, who have showcased innovative ideas to grant healthy and accessible food to all, protect biodiversity and fight against food waste. In Thailand, the BMA and Chiang Mai Municipality are the two signatories to the pact.

City-to-City Cooperation
With additional support from the Embassy of Italy to Thailand, the BMA became a member of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) in August 2021. In January 2022, the BMA joined the International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) programme of the European Union (EU) and began cooperation with the Municipality of Milan, led by the MUFPP Secretariat. Delegates from Milan and the MUFPP Secretariat visited Bangkok in August 2022, and in November 2022, a cross-department working committee was established at the BMA for collaboration with Milan and IURC, marking a pivotal step in their partnership. In May 2023, a BMA delegation visited Milan to learn from the Italian city’s food system management and programmes addressing food security, food waste and school meals. They also participated in workshops aimed at assisting the BMA in developing its food policy.

Mr Siriwat Pokrajen
Country Coordinator for Thailand, IURC Asia & Australasia
Tel. 081-629-0457

City Capacity Promotion Section
International Affairs Office
Office of the Permanent Secretary for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration
Tel. 02-224-8175