Comparative analysis of existing urban food policies

From this Cleverfood project comparative analysis, it transpires that cities and regions are already committed to working on food systems transformation in a holistic way, however they need a more coordinated approach at national level and a European framework is crucial for significant impact.

Results showed a strong political commitment to food policies, with 76% of cities having some level of formal commitment. Additionally, over half of the cities, 53%, have institutionalised their food policies, strategies, or plans. Administrative structures dedicated to managing food policy activities are present in 63% of the cities. The survey also highlighted the role of EU-funded projects as key drivers in the development of integrated urban food policies.

Food policy governance is complex. Multiple governmental levels with distributed competencies influence cities’ ability to implement these policies effectively. The regional level is particularly crucial for bridging the gap between urban and rural areas and providing a platform for cities to coordinate with national governments. Successful regional food strategies are characterised by their intersectoral approach, stakeholder participation, and interdepartmental collaboration, with regional food councils playing a pivotal role in fostering collaboration and steering policy implementation.

Most European national food policies remain sectoral, which can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities. However, there are emerging examples of more integrated approaches in several countries, indicating a potential shift towards more cohesive national food policy frameworks.

These findings underscore the importance of multilevel coordination and the development of comprehensive strategies to address food-related challenges effectively.

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