Food Partnership

About the Thematic Area

The transformation of food systems requires a systemic approach, and the Thematic Partnership should prioritise the role of cities in leading this transformation. Considering the current momentum and the need for comprehensive legislation to ensure food system resilience, the partnership should align itself with ongoing trends and initiatives. It would be beneficial for the partnership to be supported by the upcoming EU Sustainable Food Systems Framework and the EU Food Policy Council.

The main objective of the partnership is to foster coordination and collaboration between these initiatives, leveraging their combined efforts to drive transformative changes in food systems and position cities as catalysts for this change. The partnership recognises the importance of flexibility and a systemic focus, enabling it to adapt and align with ongoing processes.

The UAEU Partnership on Food operates based on core values that guide its monitoring activities. These values include maintaining a food system perspective, supporting multilevel governance, considering the real price of food (including externalities), and recognising food as a human right and a common good.

To promote sustainable and equitable food systems, the partnership should address key themes such as agroecology, food justice, access to land, and public land management. It should emphasise the importance of localising food systems, incorporating the external costs of food production into prices, and encouraging public procurement of local and organic foods. By advocating for policy alignment and resource pooling, the partnership has the potential to drive systemic transformation within the European Union and contribute to broader objectives, such as the European Green Deal and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

About the Partnership

The UAEU Partnership on Food should gather relevant stakeholders from all parts of the food chain in order to build a shared vision together with the necessary means for its sustainable implementation. It can bring added value by creating a major one stop shop platform of exchange enabling a better visibility on and synergies between the ongoing initiatives. Its role should be to provide input to European regulation and funding and multilevel governance actors so as to better address local challenges; connect and build capacity for cities to support positive food system transformation. Its sustainability and effectiveness could be ensured through:

  • a multi-layered organisation enhancing the visibility and contribution of cities and allowing alternative punctual involvement of multiple local authorities depending on the subject at stake and needed expertise and input;
  • a series of data collection, analysis and visualisation digital tools facilitating an overall comprehensive perspective on the topic and action in the field as well as collaborative contributions, comparative scenario building and evaluation and informed decision making.

What does joining the partnership entail? 

Joining the partnership entails a concrete contribution of the development of the Food theme and the implementation of the Food partnership. The future partners will be instrumental in scoping and focusing the theme based on their expertise, they will be actively involved in the analysis of the selected themes and sub-themes and their development into concrete actions that can be implemented at the EU, national and city levels. The action plan will be presented to the Director General for Urban Matters of all the EU member states, as well as EU institutions and banks, and where relevant present the opportunity for collaboration. Finally, joining of the partnership will provide the opportunity to implement the proposed actions. 

What are the responsibilities? 

  • Attendance and active contribution to the Partnership meetings. 
  • Contribution to specific themes of the Partnership choice and interest. 
  • Contribution to formulating concrete actions added to the action plan. 
  • Contribution to the implementation of actions. 

What kind of resources are required? 

  • Time commitment during the duration of the Partnership work. 
  • Resources commitment for: Travel to the meetings (including accommodation). 
  • Staff commitment:  dedicated staff responsible for the matters of the Partnership.  

What are the benefits? 

  • The possibility to make a concrete contribution to better EU policy, funding and knowledge, through a production and implementation of an action plan. 
  • Joining and expanding a network of likeminded organisations at the European level. 
  • Joining a vast network of over 14 UAEU Partnerships and their over 300 member network dedicated to improving urban dimensions of the EU Policies through dedicated urban themes. 

About the Call for Partners

This Call for expression of interest for partners aims at establishing a new Partnership under the Urban Agenda for the European Union (UAEU) on Food and will remain open until 29 September 2023.

It was preceded by an Ex-Ante Assessment (EAA) guiding the applicants especially regarding the themes pertinent to the Food thematic area and the most appropriate organisation, timing and activities for this UAEU partnership.

The call is accompanied by a Background Document, explaining the eligible applicants, the selection process and criteria, as well as the responsibilities for each category of partner. It also provides a description of the theme that the partnership will focus on.

Please consult both documents before submitting an application.

The specific selection criteria include:

  1. Motivation to become partner, to be involved in the UAEU in the specific theme, possibly with reference to one or more specific sub-themes and issues. 
  2. Expertise and qualifications of the applicant with regard to at least one of the previously mentioned themes and issues Expertise should be clearly demonstrated through description of past projects and initiatives.
  3. Outreach to relevant stakeholders and participation in networks and cooperation programmes 
  4. Readiness to participate with own human and financial resources

The horizontal selection criteria aim at guaranteeing a composition of the Partnership consistent with the objectives of the Urban Agenda for the EU and of the new Partnership on Food. These will be considered once the specific selection criteria described below are assessed, in order to make a selection amongst the highest scoring participants.

  1. Multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach: 15 to 20 partners from all levels of government and from different types of organisations. 
  2. Size of cities: at least one ‘small-sized city’ and one ‘medium-sized city’ (please see definition of categories in the Background document) 
  3. Geographical balance between the members. 
  4. Diversity of types of geographic and economic regions where cities are located (metropolitan / coastal / mountain / rural) 
  5. Prior involvement in the UAEU: is not required. 
  6. Coordinators: maximum two, of which at least one from an urban authority. In their expression of interest, applicants should indicate if they would like to be considered for the role of a Coordinator.

How to apply

As per the Multiannual Working Programme accompanying the Ljubljana Agreement, urban authorities, Regions, Partner States, city consortiums and national city umbrella organisations are able to apply to this call. Moreover, Member States and other stakeholders (Managing Authorities for EU funds, experts/academia, NGOs, economic and social partners, civil society organisations and private sector representatives) are also able to apply to the Call. In the specific case of the UAEU Partnership on Food, a multi-layered organisation is recommended.

Applications should be submitted via the below link by 29 September 2023 at 18.00 (CET).