Ghent’s urban food policy wins UN climate action award

Gent en Garde is an inspiring example of practical action against climate change, says UN

Ghent’s urban food policy, Ghent en Garde, has been honoured with one of this year’s United Nations Global Climate Action Awards. Ghent is the first Belgian city to win this award. The awards are intended to shine a light on practical examples of what people around the world are doing to combat climate change.

Ghent was one of the first European cities to launch its own urban food policy, called Ghent en Garde (in 2013). Ghent’s urban food policy demonstrates the potential to transform the food systems at the local urban level. Ghent en Garde has been leading example in Belgium and other European countries. Our city has regularly shared the methods and learnings from their local food initiatives with other Belgian cities, while its food policy has also been exchanged with cities all across the world. Ghent wins the UN Global Climate Action award in the category Planetary Health.

These inspiring examples of climate action serve as beacons, guiding us towards a more resilient, more sustainable and more prosperous future for everyone.

Niclas Svenningsen, manager of the UN Climate Change global action programme

Ghent en Garde aims to strengthen short food supply chains in the city, while increasing sustainable production and consumption. It also aspires to provide better access to food and decrease food waste. Initiatives have included systems to redistribute surplus food to those in need, encouragement for community vegetable gardens and promotion of the weekly vegetarian day Donderdag Veggiedag. According to the UN, the project demonstrates the potential to transform food systems at the local level.

Through participative governance models, including a food policy council, Ghent’s food policy has evolved from a range of small-scale initiatives to enable wide-spread structural change to the city’s food system

UN statement

The awards were selected by an international panel from 670 applications from all over the world.

This year’s winning activities are amazing examples of innovative, scalable and replicable climate action. We hope they will inspire others as we look to tackle one of society’s biggest challenges.

Gabrielle Ginér, chair of the panel and head of environmental sustainability for British telecoms company BT

Valérie De Prycker