On 20 and 21 April 2017, Valencia was the epicenter of the dialogues on Nutrition and Sustainable Food Systems. One of the first initiatives within the framework of the Valencia World´s Food Capital 2017 has been the analysis of the ways to comply with the Milan Pact of 2015, signed more than a hundred cities to promote sustainable food systems.
In this sense, the Mediterranean basin had a special attention, that the experts have defined as one of the most threatened areas of the planet. Maurizio Mariani, President of Risteco and member of the Advisory Council of the MCA Foundation, points out that “we need to capitalize on something for the future and focus on the Mediterranean food system which is very diverse, but requires a commitment of social inclusion. Employment and exchange of views with the South Bank. For that, it is essential to involve regional and local companies, but rather, to establish a political and civil society vision, where the role of the MCA Foundation is central as a platform for exchanging opinions for that vision of the future”.
Professor Jean-Louis Rastoin, head of the UNESCO Chair Alimentation du Monde, Montpellier, said that the first step in this future road map would be a diagnosis of the situation. “In the Mediterranean, two parallel issues converge: overfeeding and obesity with their new diseases, such as diabetes 2 on the north bank; and malnutrition and hunger in its southern basin, which is currently being punished for war. This diagnosis must go through reviving the culture of the Mediterranean diet and to communicating it better, not in the form of advertising but education. “
The Former Prime Minister of Romania and former Commissioner for Agriculture and Local Development of the European Union, Dacian Ciolos explained that “We need to rehabilitate the public view of food. In recent years it is a question of marketing and not a social problem, although it directly affects consumers. That is why food, agriculture and production must be brought down from the government to the local and civil society level”.
Josep Manuel Pérez, Head of Agriculture and Horta Section of the València City Hall points out that “the Milan Pact provides a local vision of impact policies. A territorialized vision. Social change has to take shape in our environment and that must be done by cities, municipalities and local government”.
Vicente Domingo, Special Commissioner for the Actions of Valencia 2017 – World Capital of Sustainable Food indicates that there has been a change of perspective in local politics and also in society. “City mayors are pragmatic politicians who need solutions and quick reactions. That comes very well to this great strategy because they are not supranational projects but urgent and emerging measures in the neighborhoods. And that can make symposiums like this truly fruitful because what we are exposing will lead to the October Mayoral Summit”.
The President of the Mediterranean Citizens´ Assemby Foudantion, Vicent Garces explains that “in the economic sphere, the interests that influence the decision-making process of citizenship are not those of citizens, such as the right to food and the production. The food factor is currently being considered as a fact that generates benefits and profit for the sector that mediates between producers and consumers. The MCA Foundation has presented in this event the Declaration for the Food and Agriculture Transition in the Mediterranean that already support more than a fifty of international organizations as an urgent project.
FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has been present at this meeting and has indicated that there is no time to lose. Guido Santini, the coordinator of FAO’s Food Programs in Cities, said: “we need to improve the global food systems that exist. It is not possible to produce everything locally or consume everything from the local environment, and that is why it is urgent to find a balance between the global and the local, two priority issues for FAO. A first step could be for cities to have more decision in feed issues of their citizens”, he said.