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Multi-Stakeholder Mechanisms

Sub-National Case Studies



At sub-national level in Europe and North America, many MSMs are linked to the development and implementation of holistic sustainable food systems policies. In contrast, they are difficult to find in the Global South. Some are currently being formed in Asia and Oceania while in African cities and towns, several SFS MSMs are supported by various international organizations. See below seven case studies of sub-national SFS MSMs.



  • The PAQ was born in a context of persistent food insecurity in Quito.
  • It functions as a citizen consultation and advisory body, to encourage collective action and new initiatives among its members.
  • It plays a strong lobbying and advocacy role, mainly at city-region level, formulating policies and managing knowledge of food systems.
  • It brings together about 30 different stakeholders, representing Quito’s food system.


  • A food systems diagnosis was carried out in 2016-2017, resulting in the development of the Quito´s Food System Sustainability Plan and the Quito Food Charter in October 2018, and later in the design of the Quito Agri-Food Strategy in April 2019, formulated in alignment with the pre-existing food-related policies.
  • Quito's Agri-Food Strategy is recognized by the mayor's office as a city planning instrument and as an official policy.
  • The PAQ fostered a highly participatory process and strong citizen engagement and commitment for the development of the Food Charter and the Agri-Food Strategy.
  • The SFS MSM provided input and lobbied to include food issues in the Quito Climate Action Plan, in the Territorial Development Plan, and in the city's strategic planning in Vision 2040.


  • Limited budget due to lack of full political support.
  • As long as the Agri-Food Strategy is not elevated to become a Municipal Ordinance, no budget is assigned for its implementation. Nevertheless, different food-related activities and projects are carried out in alignment with the strategy.




Source: Carmen Zuleta Ferrari


  • The AFPC has a "policy as practice" approach: its work is focused on supporting key stakeholders implementing food-related projects together (instead of focusing on policy formulation alone).
  • The AFPC functions as a consultative body that promotes collective and new actions among members, and participates in policy formulation processes.
  • It operates at a city-region level and brings together over 31 different stakeholders representing Antananarivo’s food systems.


  • A diagnosis of Antananarivo's food system was first developed using participatory methods and applying a food systems approach. 
  • The AFPC has started to draft collaboratively its first strategy, within the framework of the City-Region Food System project, with the mobilization of a large number of stakeholders. 
  • The SFS MSM has contributed to the formulation of coherent actions in relation to food, eg. the Urgent Multi-sectoral Plan to address COVID-19 issues.
  • It has established networks for knowledge exchange, in particular on urban agriculture, including free training at an experimental micro-gardening site.


  • Lack of regular budget.
  • Poor organization of actors in joint activities and lack of formalization of the decisions adopted.
  • As a young SFS MSM, a pending task for the AFPC is to establish its good governance principles and mechanisms. Therefore, management of power relations and disagreements remains a gap.
  • The AFPC has not succeeded yet in getting stakeholders to grasp the benefits of a ‘food systems approach’.




Source: Lieta Goethijn, City of Ghent´s Food policy coordinator 


  • The Gent en Garde FPC is a multi-stakeholder mechanism that enjoys the full support of public authorities. 
  • The FPC acts as a sounding board for the city’s food policy and plays a strong lobby and advocacy role.
  • It operates at a village, town and city-level and brings together approximately 25 members from various sectors and activities, representing the city’s food system.


  • Ghent en Garde FPC is a frontrunner and an outstanding example of a successful SFS MSM in Europe and worldwide.
  • After introducing “Veggie Day”, 7% of local residents are now vegetarian, compared to the Belgian average of 2.3%.
  • The FPC also built a platform to facilitate short food supply chains between various local stakeholders, which is estimated to have cut emissions by 35.8% in the short term and 79% in the long-term.
  • The Foodsavers project has redistributed over 1,000 tonnes of food to those in need, helping to reduce carbon emissions while also playing an important role in alleviating poverty.
  • It has catalysed local food-related projects through sponsorship or grant funding options, and mobilised stakeholders to come together.


  • Difficulty in reaching agreements due to conflicting agendas and interests.
  • Participatory learning processes are not conducive to the capacity building of members. 
  • Low capacity to support effective decisions and interventions in the context of COVID-19.          





  • The LFB is a formally institutionalized SFS MSM hosted by the Greater London Authority (GLA), who also plays a leadership role.
  • It advises the Mayor and GLA on food issues affecting Londoners and participates in policy formulation processes. 
  • It acts on a city-level and comprises 18 members from independent food-related organizations and experts from all over London.


  • A joint assessment of the city’s food system was first conducted, which included mappings of food system actors and food-related policies.
  • The LFB has contributed to the formulation of policies, in particular, the London Food strategy, and the promotion of these policies.
  • It has also implemented front-running strategies focused on decreasing childhood obesity by restricting advertising, assisting boroughs in developing plans to market high quality and nutritious food, restricting the opening of take-away food outlets within 400m of schools and more.
  • It supported the publishing of the annual Good Food for London report, which outlines ways London boroughs can secure a healthy and sustainable food future.


  • Lack of mandatory regulation for stakeholders to engage in the SFS MSM.
  • Lack of budget. 
  • Difficulty resolving disagreements between parties



  • Launched on World Food Day 2018, the Montreal Food System Council (CSAM) is an institutionalized SFS MSM led by Montréal – Métropole en santé
  • It leads decision-making on food-related issues in the city of Montreal.
  • Its priorities have been food security and poverty, local food production, (peri-)urban agriculture, sustainable diets, food diversification and food environments
  • Formulation of the Integrated Action Plan 2020-2022 comprising 92 projects. These range from capacity-building initiatives like knowledge exchanges on agriculture to online courses that provide consumers with practical information on making sustainable food choices
  • Surveillance des indicateurs de la pauvreté et de l’insécurité alimentaire à Montréal, a project that aims to make key poverty and food insecurity monitoring indicators available to decision-makers
  • Supporting initiatives to encourage cross-sectoral collaboration, such as Démarche pour une relance durable et la résilience du système alimentaire, a project that seeks to identify courses of action for sustainable economic recovery, taking stock of the impact of the health and economic crisis on the food system


  • CSAM is still a relatively new mechanism, and thus needs time to show concrete results
  • Stakeholders lack the time to participate in additional initiatives that go beyond the core mission of their organizations
  • Governance could be improved if the council was more open to accepting more input from stakeholders in public consultations
  • Lack of clarity in the way its vision, mission and goals have been articulated among the members of the council
  • Lack of responsiveness to urgent issues, such as COVID-19-related food emergencies




Source: Los Angeles Food Policy Council


  • Established in October 2010, LAFPC is an independent, non-profit, non-registered SFS MSM with strong government support
  • LAFPC has a sub-national focus but also plays an advocacy role at many different levels: global, regional, national, sub-national, city-region, city and locality levels.
  • LAFPC’s collaborative multi-level work has included conducting research, promoting coalitions, developing communication strategies and media relations, influencing decision-makers, funding some joint activities, and fostering capacity building among members


  • The creation of networks among stakeholders, such as the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network
  • Formulation of food policies with programs like the Good Food Agenda, the Good Food Purchasing Program and the Good Food Zone initiative, which have been perceived as correctly addressing inequalities in access to fresh food and the needs of the most vulnerable


  • Lack of sufficient funding to finance an ambitious agenda and to involve more stakeholders
  • There is a need for more local government involvement
  • Slow progress at meetings due to the large size of working groups
  • Lack of meetings in 2020/2021 due to COVID-19-related restrictions, which has hindered progress
  • Ability of LAFPC’s leadership to resolve disagreements, manage conflicts of interest and manage power relations.




Source: Fundación Alternativas


  • The MFSC-LPZ is formally institutionalized by decree and recognized as an official entity.
  • It focuses on promoting local and sustainable food systems that are capable of ensuring that all people have reliable access to fresh, healthy and nutritious food
  • It works at the city-region level, but also establishes linkages with municipal food security committees in other cities


  • Formulation of food-related policies and creation of food stakeholder networks
  • The Metropolitan Region of La Paz included its work in the integrated food system model proposed and designed by the MFSC-LPZ in conjunction with Fundación Alternativas, positioning sustainable food as part of the agenda
  • Stakeholders have found the MFSC-LPZ to be a rich space to share ideas, which has been very useful in broadening their vision and knowledge of food systems.


  • Lack of budget and time for stakeholders to participate in additional initiatives.
  • Perceived lack of political support.
  • Need for more strategic monitoring of the implementation of the policies adopted. This is important to broaden the range of priority areas, so that they are not solely governed by institutional interests aimed at responding to funders.
  • High turnover of stakeholders participating on the committee, which hinders engagement, participation and follow-up

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