Resource Round-up 16 October 2020

In this bi-monthly post, we highlight key resources, insights, and contributions that span the field of food governance. Far from comprehensive, it reflects the resources that we have come across and found valuable. If you have something for us to highlight, please get in touch (jessica(dot)duncan (at)


Global Governance Working Group of the CSM (2020) Voices from the Ground: From COVID-19 to radical transformation of our food systems.

This report presents the experiences and concerns of millions of small-scale food producers, workers, consumers, women and youth represented in the organizations that participate in the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSM). The report is structured as follows: The premise sets the context by identifying the multiple, interlinked preexisting structural problems which the pandemic has only exacerbated and rendered more visible. The main section presents evidence and analysis from the round, organized according to the different constituencies and regions whose participation in the CFS is facilitated by the CSM. It illustrates the richness of evidence contributed by those most affected, which constitute important contributions, alongside of science-based evidence and macro-economic statistics, in considering policy choices. This section is not included in the shorter version of our report. The concluding section draws key themes and lessons from the evidence and demonstrates why it is incumbent on the CFS to play a leading role in developing a global policy response to COVID-19 in the direction of a radical transformation of our food system, as urged by the HLPE in its Global Narrative report.

Women’s Working Group of the CSM (2020) Gender, COVID-19 and Food Systems: impacts, community responses and feminist policy demands

This report summarizes research around the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on women in and across the constituencies and regions of the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) for relations with the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). Based on the research, the report summarizes acts of mutual aid and solidarity, as well as the negative impacts experienced by women around the world. Principles to guide policies and programmes are identified and concrete policy demands are articulated in four areas: 1) economic activities, markets and access to resources; 2) care work, public health and gender-based violence; 3) participation, representation and digital equity; 4) government responses and social protection.

TN & FOEI (2020) ‘Junk Agroecology’: The corporate capture of agroecology for a partial ecological transition without social justice.

Agroecology has gained ground in recent years as the need to transform our agrifood system becomes increasingly clear. The food and financial crises of 2008, and the deepening climate and environmental crises, have revealed deep challenges for the way we produce and consume food. Global agrarian justice and food sovereignty movements, organised in global convergences like the Nyéléni Forum, have emphasised the importance of agroecology in this transformation. They highlight the political nature of agroecology: ‘it requires us to challenge and transform structures of power in society’.

Right to Food and Nutrition Watch (2020) Food at the center of the response to ecological crises

The 2020 issue illustrates how the profound social, political and ecological crises boil down to the same systemic patterns. Articles cover a range of issues from the role of industrial agriculture as a trigger of diseases like COVID-19, to how central land is to our responses to eco-destruction and climate change. The Watch also features an interview with activists and their views on veganism as one of today’s prominent currents to fight climate change.

FIAN International (2020) Cooking Up political agendas

‘Cooking up Political Agendas’ evokes the emancipation of women through collective organizing and knowledge construction. The Guide has been developed by female human rights practitioners, activists and rural workers. It provides women in rural areas –  whether or not they belong to local or national organizations –  with practical guidance on how to build a right to food and nutrition agenda based on recent international human rights law standards. 

Agroecology Europe (2020) Reforming the Common Agriculture Policy of the European Union

Agroecology Europe developed its position on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by analysing and drawing on the consequences of the current environmental, social, and economic situation of the agricultural and food system, and by building this position on the solid foundations of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFUE); the priorities for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the 2021-27 period; the European Green Deal, and specifically the Farm to Fork approach. Agroecology Europe recommends four measures:The phasing out of current subsidies by agricultural area and livestock head, and on energy, large equipment and external inputs; If basic subsidies are maintained, they should be paid on a full-time equivalent worker (FTE) basis and not on a hectare (or livestock head) basis; The main part of taxpayer’s money spent within the CAP should be allocated to the production of public goods, i.e. the provision of ecosystem services and the restoration of biodiversity and the ecological network (payment for result-oriented agro-environment and climate measures) ; A financial support to the transition towards agroecological farming.

Herrens el al. (2020) Transformation of our Food Systems: The making of a paradigm shift

The book’s Advisory Group consists mainly of former authors and review-editors of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development. It was convened by Hans R. Herren and Benny Haerlin at the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the publication of the IAASTD in 2019. Initially aiming at a conference taking stock of the developments in the area of global agricultural practices and policies since 2009, the group decided that this publication would serve this purpose better and in a more sustainable way. Its members have discussed key questions to be raised and answered in this book and the list of international reports and initiatives to take into account. They also reviewed individual articles.

Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition (2020) Foresight 2.0: Future Food Systems: For people, our planet and prosperity

This evidence-based report offers policy solutions to improve the quality of diets using a food systems approach through promoting availability, accessibility, affordability, desirability, and sustainable, healthy diets for all. The aim and key added value of this report is to draw on the best available science and evidence to set out a practical way forward which is grounded in the realities of policy development in LMICs. The advice and recommendations offered by the Global Panel are aimed primarily at decision-makers in LMICs, but they alone cannot turn global challenges around. In a highly interconnected world, high-income countries also have a vital role to play, particularly where their own decisions have impacts on LMICs. High-income countries (HICs) not only share responsibility for some of the major problems facing us all but are also facing obesity and diet-related disease epidemics of their own. This report shows that the underlying problems run deep. Our food systems are failing to produce the foods essential for healthy diets in sufficient quantity and at affordable prices. They are also driving degradation of the natural environment – soil, water and air quality, biodiversity loss and climate change – and dangerously undermining our future well-being. Since this report was commissioned in 2018, COVID-19 has highlighted just how fragile and precarious the world’s food systems have become. The situation is unsustainable.

Scientific Articles

Clapp and Moseley (2020) This food crisis is different: COVID-19 and the fragility of the neoliberal food security order

Our analysis situates the current COVID-19 induced food crisis within a longer-term historical perspective on policy responses to past food crises. We argue that the legacies left by these past policies created vulnerabilities in the face of the present crisis, which is characterized by three interlocking dynamics: disruptions to global food supply chains, the loss of income and livelihoods due to the global economic recession, and uneven food price trends unleashed by a set of complex factors. We make the case that the COVID-19 pandemic marks an inflection point and demands a different set of policy responses that work toward fundamentally transforming food systems.

Claeys and Peschard (2020) Transnational Agrarian Movements, Food Sovereignty, and Legal Mobilization 

In this chapter, we analyse a diversity of legal mobilizations by contemporary agrarian movements, from the creation of new human rights to direct participation in global food governance, the institutionalization of food sovereignty, civil disobedience, and peoples’ tribunals. Our main argument is that there is a need to expand the scope and methods of research in law and anthropology to account for the diversity of actors and alliances, their innovative legal strategies, the different scales, and the multiplicity of institutional and extra-institutional arenas in which transnational agrarian movements engage with the law in their struggles against capitalism and neoliberalism. To document and analyse social movement innovations, lawyers and anthropologists must engage with transnational, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches, and critically reflect on their methods, roles, and positionalities as social actors involved in social justice struggles.

Schebesta and Candel (2020) Game-changing potential of the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy

The European Union’s new Farm to Fork Strategy will initiate several well-defined actions, but its potential to foster genuine change of EU food systems depends on the resolution of four key governance challenges, and political momentum during the implementation phase.


Farming Matters (2020) Agroecology and feminist economics: New values for new times

Contrary to what is sometimes argued, the current planetary crises have not arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic, but are rooted in an unsustainable and unjust global economic system. It is time to learn from other ways of doing things, other cosmovisions and other values. That way, we can build a new social and natural contract, based on agroecology and feminist economics. A new issue of Farming Matters sheds light on ways to do so.

Fakhri (2020) The right to food in the context of international trade law and policy

In his first report, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, conveys to the General Assembly that trade policy has primarily focused on economic frameworks and has either ignored or marginalized people’s human rights concerns. At the same time, human rights policy has provided a powerful sociopolitical critique
of trade but does not offer an institutional alternative to the existing regime. Neither approach has adequately responded to climate change. The present report blends trade and human rights perspectives and provides principles and an institutional map that can improve understanding of the right to food anew in political, economic and
ecological terms.

Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (2020) Our daily diet: How governments, businesses and consumers can contribute to a more sustainable food system

Government authorities move towards a system-sensitive food policy with a clear vision and specific objectives If government authorities want to make and implement more sustainable food policy, they should also take the characteristics of the food system into account. This requires a food policy that is sensitive to the international and complex nature of the food system, also taking into account the inherent conflicting values. System-sensitive food policy requires a vision and objectives that are both clearly understood, to be able to influence and change the preconditions and rules of play in the food system. This vision and these objectives are not based on one set of wishes and values regarding sustainable food, but rather offer room for experiments that arise from the various perspectives within society with respect to a sustainable future for food. A clear vision and specifically formulated objectives may stimulate and guide citizens and businesses to become more sustainable. The effects of measures, experiments and initiatives are difficult to predict, because of the complexity of the food system. By monitoring the effects, it is possible to make continual adjustments and learn more about how to shape a broadly supported and sustainable food system. Dutch government authorities, both national and local, are already pursuing policies that contribute to a more sustainable food system. The current policy aimed at reducing food waste and influencing consumers’ dietary patterns could be intensified, for example through education about food, raising awareness of food waste and supporting companies that offer sustainable products.

Youth Working Group of the CSM (2020) Youth demands for a radical transformation of our food systems

This Declaration, prepared by the CSM Youth Working Group, is the outcome of a participatory process of sharing experiences, struggles, visions and solutions. The youths engaged in this process represent perspectives from all CSM constituencies: smallholder producers, urban food insecure, consumers, young women, men and non-binary youths, food and agriculture workers including migrant and seasonal workers, pastoralist youths, Indigenous Peoples, fisherfolk, hunters and gatherers, and students. They are based in India, Mozambique, Australia, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Brazil, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Argentina, Kenya, and the United States. In the Declaration, we share how we and our communities have been experiencing the recent months, how we have been responding, and what our demands to our governments and the international community are. These policy demands not only respond to Covid-19, but will put us on a path towards building healthy, sustainable, resilient and dignified food systems for all.

Native Land Information System (2020) Native Food Sovereignty Index 2020 

A new composite measure that combines 20 indicators to support healthy and sovereign food-systems aggregated for the first time at the reservation level. The NLIS is pleased to launch the Native Food Sovereignty Index (NFSI) for US Native Lands. The NFSI is a new composite measure to support efforts towards Food Sovereignty on Native Lands! The NFSI 2020 combines 20 indicators of healthy and sovereign food-systems for the first time aggregated at the reservation level.

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