Busy day!

I lost a days worth of work yesterday (my analysis of the rise of governmentality in global food security governance and ongoing challenges to the “problem of population” … à la Foucault).
ASIDE: For those who who read Foucault, this Tumblr brightened my day yesterday.
Anyway, having somewhat recovered from the emotional scarring of loosing that work (supported by a large mug of hot chocolate, a bike ride, home made pizza, and wine), I got off to a productive start today.

  • Spend most of the morning live-streaming the IFAD Governing Council 2012 Meeting which included an interesting presentation by Bill Gates, followed by a question and answer period. I wont analyse the speech here but I will say I was shocked and disappointed by two things:
  1. He claimed the Millennium Development Goals to be a “success” in terms of improving health. As Tim Lang (@ProfTimLang) tweeted: “How can Bill Gates call the UN Millenn Devt Goals (MDGs) a huge success?1.3 bn fat + 1 bn hungry = failure in my view.”
  2. Gates called for Rome-based agencies to develop “global productivity targets and measure achievements” with support of donors: like a report card. This smells like the World Bank’s Doing Business Project which provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement by gathering and analyzing comprehensive quantitative data to compare business regulation environments across economies and over time.  Doing Business is a hot topic in the WB at present with China working to eliminate the programme on the basis that it is a Western set of metrics used to rate countries on Western standards. CSOs tend to support the removal of the ranking but keeping the indicators since a drop or raise in rankings is not reflective of economic growth. Others argue that rankings give policy programme “teeth”.

I wonder how you create standaridized measures of success across a sector as diverse as agriculture and who will monitor or assess these?

  • I also managed to send off a proposal for a session at the Global Studies Association Conference . The session, which I am coordinating with a good friend, is called “Standing in solidarity — maintaining distance?: Exploring methodological and ethical dynamics of participatory research with food social movements”

Fingers cross that it gets accepted!

  • I have also downloaded two reports to read this afternoon. If you have thoughts or comments on them, it would be fun to get a little interactive!

1) A report by David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, submitted to the G20, called “Governance for growth: Building consensus for the future” Read it here
2) A PowerPoint presentation from the Neighborhood Civil Society Facility Regional Seminar (held in Brussels from the 9-10 of February 2012) called “Civil Society and the EU” (click to open the file).

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