Annual Civil Society Forum for Food Security

REGISTER NOW to the Annual Civil Society Forum, 5 – 6 October 2013! 
Join hundreds of civil society actors in preparation for the 40th Session of the Committee on World Food Security and register to the CSM Forum by September 20th! 
The Forum is a space where CSOs can finalise the positions which they have been developing through the CSM working groups during the intersessional process. It is open to all interested civil society participants working in the field of food security and nutrition, although emphasis is put on the broad and inclusive participation of social movement representatives, to ensure that they are able to effectively influence the messaging and eventually, the outcomes of the CFS. The CSM Forum also provides the space for Coordination Committee members to report back to the broader membership of the CSM.
What’s on the table for discussion? 
All policy issues to be discussed during the CFS plenary session!

Two policy roundtables: (1) Biofuels and Food Security and (2) Investing in Smallholder Agriculture and other relevant food security issues for the CFS, including an update on the process for developing principles for responsible agricultural investment (rai), addressing food security in protracted crises, global and regional linkages with the CFS and monitoring CFS decisions.  

Before participating, please read carefully these PRACTICAL GUIDELINES for civil society participation in the Civil Society Forum and 40th Session of the Committee on World Food Security.
More information on how to sign up HERE


The White Revolution and the reordering of relations amongst the pastoralists of Gujarat, India: A case for pastoralist policies.

I have a new article out in the journal Food Chain. I am apparently not allowed to post it for copyright reasons but hopefully those interested can access through their libraries!

REFERENCE: Duncan, Jessica. 2013. The White Revolution and the reordering of relations amongst the pastoralists of Gujarat, India: A case for pastoralist policies.  Food Chain. 2(1&2): 89-103.



This paper introduces India’s dairy policy before analysing some of the implications of these policies on the pastoralists of Gujarat State, illustrating the need for pastoralist-appropriate policies. The paper argues that on the basis of mounting ecological and economic data, dairy policy in India needs to consider pastoralist management systems and livelihoods and develop appropriate policies and programmes to support them.  While the programmes have created important opportunities for increased earning potential for pastoralists, they have also lead to negative consequences for food security, traditional livelihoods and livestock diversity. A recognizable neoliberal turn in Indian dairy policy will most likely amplify negative impacts of the previous programme and potentially compromise existing best practices. The paper concludes with policy recommendations and a call to ground future policy processes with the normative and analytical right to adequate food framework.

Keywords: Pastoralism; White Revolution; Gujarat; India; Mission Milk; Participation

Beyond GDP

I have a new favourite blog:

It has LOADS of great articles on there. I highly recommend it.

Reading through the website I came to a post called “Global GDP may be increasing but human welfare isn’t”It provides a nice summary of a new article that examines the Genuine Progress Indicator as a more useful tool than GDP.

If you are interested, here is the reference. Downloading the article requires a subscription.

Kubiszewski, I.,Costanza, R., Franco, C., Lawn, P.,Talberth, J., Jackson, T., Aylmer, C. (2013) Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress. Ecological Economics 93: 57-68. 


While global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased more than three-fold since 1950, economic welfare, as estimated by the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), has actually decreased since 1978. We synthesized estimates of GPI over the 1950–2003 time period for 17 countries for which GPI has been estimated. These 17 countries contain 53% of the global population and 59% of the global GDP. We compared GPI with Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Human Development Index (HDI), Ecological Footprint, Biocapacity, Gini coefficient, and Life Satisfaction scores. Results show a significant variation among these countries, but some major trends. We also estimated a global GPI/capita over the 1950–2003 period. Global GPI/capita peaked in 1978, about the same time that global Ecological Footprint exceeded global Biocapacity. Life Satisfaction in almost all countries has also not improved significantly since 1975. Globally, GPI/capita does not increase beyond a GDP/capita of around $7000/capita. If we distributed income more equitably around the planet, the current world GDP ($67 trillion/yr) could support 9.6 billion people at $7000/capita. While GPI is not the perfect economic welfare indicator, it is a far better approximation than GDP. Development policies need to shift to better account for real welfare and not merely GDP growth.

Food Systems Research Priorities over the Next 5 Years

Submission Due June 5, 2013
2,500 words maximum
Edited but not peer-reviewed; query form required

The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development  soliciting commentaries on food systems research priorities for the next five years. Farm and consumer organizations, research groups, agencies, and any other stakeholders are encouraged to prepare commentaries on what they feel are the key applied research priorities for the community development aspects of food systems. We are interested in helping fill gaps in research and the literature, and this call for commentaries is intended as a way to solicit ideas for research over the next few years.

Consider networking with colleagues or kindred organizations to produce a joint commentary that briefly reviews the current literature and then identifies specific research gaps, needs, and/or opportunities. These priorities can cover one particular issue or component of food systems, or cover a more broad range of issues. Examples of topical areas might include (but are not limited to) the following:

  •  Community-based sustainable production
  •  Organizing value chains, food hubs, webs, networks and the like
  •  Agriculture of the middle
  •  Land use, farmland protection, farm-neighbor relations
  •  Food security, justice, sovereignty
  •  Community food waste reduction, and recycling
  •  Community development techniques, strategies, approaches to food systems work
  •  Food systems development pedagogy
  •  Issues of gender, race, and power
  •  Metrics and indicators of progress and impact

Please submit a query to Duncan Hilchey that outlines the focus of your commentary as well as prospective collaborators.

The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development(a.k.a. the Food Systems Journal; ISSN 2152-0801) is an online international, peer-reviewed publication focused on the practice and applied research interests of agriculture and food systems development professionals and scholars.

In Solidarity with African Civil Society, UK CSOs call on G8 to abandon New Alliance

Several people and organisations in Africa, Europe and the UK have been raising concerns about the implications of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition promoted by G8 leaders.

Addressing these concerns, a coalition of UK Civil Society Organizations have written a statement in solidarity with African civil society to call on the G8 to abandon the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in light of the dangers it poses to smallholder farmers and efforts to combat hunger in Africa.

You can download a PDF of the statement here: StmtOnNewAlliance_May2013_forSignOn

They are requesting individuals to sign on.

The deadline for signing is midday Thursday 30 May 2013. I apologise for such a short deadline. Please confirm your intention to sign to Gromero (a)

More about the New Alliance

The New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition is a private sector investment initiative launched by the G8 in May 2012. Its objective is to open up African agriculture to multinational agribusiness companies by means of national ‘cooperation frameworks’ between African governments, donors and private sector investors, with no reference to the needs or wishes of African farmers. Companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill, Diageo, Unilever, Yara and DuPont have signed ‘letters of intent’ to engage in the New Alliance, and six African governments (Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania) have signed up to national cooperation frameworks agreeing to far-reaching policy reforms in favour of private investment. Four others (Benin, Malawi, Nigeria and Senegal) are expected to sign up to the New Alliance later this year.

The New Alliance has been modelled on the ‘new vision’ of private investment in agriculture developed by management consultants McKinsey in conjunction with the ABCD group of leading grain traders (ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus) and other multinational agribusiness companies. Government officials have acknowledged that most of the content in the national cooperation frameworks has been taken from other corporate initiatives such as AGRA (the Alliance for a New Green Revolution in Africa) and the Grow Africa investment platform of the World Economic Forum. DFID has announced that the UK government will be contributing £395 million to the New Alliance over the coming three years.

There have been many strong critiques of the New Alliance from civil society in Africa and Europe, in view of the unprecedented powers it offers multinational agribusiness companies and the significant threat it poses to small-scale farmers in Africa.


e-consultation on food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems

The UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in its thirty-ninth Session (October 2012) requested the High Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), to undertake a study on ‘Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems’ to be presented to the Plenary in 2014. This report has to be policy oriented, practical and operational.

Until 30 April 2013, the HLPE is running an open e-consultation on the scope of this report, and the pertinence of main questions. References of global and national studies and data on the subject, especially on food waste, are also welcome.

To participate, please visit the dedicated HLPE e-consultation website (, or send directly your contribution to the HLPE Secretariat at and Contributions are welcome in English, French and Spanish.

The HLPE also wishes to inform that a public call for candidatures to the Project Team for this report is currently open until 30th April 2013. Please visit for more information. The HLPE Steering Committee will appoint the Project Team after review of candidatures.


Debate: Does Africa needs to move towards industrialization or not?

Rick Rowden recently published an article in on “The Myth of Africa’s Rise: Why the rumors of Africa’s explosive growth have been greatly exaggerated” (note that you need to sign up with FP to access the article). 

Following from that he was invited by The Economist magazine (UK) to participate in one of their periodic online debates; this one on the question: How real is the much talked about “rise” of Africa?

More specifically, does Africa needs to move towards industrialization or not?

Rick argued that it does while World Bank economist Wolfgang Fengler argued it does not.

The online debate played out over the last week, and they have just posted our closing statements.

Now its up to us to vote and decide the winner.

Get engaged:


Launch of the Sustainable Development Goals e-Inventory

Crowdsourcing proposals for post-2015 to feed into the intergovernmental process on SDGs

Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future and partners are pleased to announce the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals e-Inventory, a new online tool to crowdsource proposals on global goals for the post-2015 period.

The SDG e-Inventory provides all stakeholders with a platform to outline and disseminate their experiences of, research on and recommendations for global goals. This information can then be used to inform the intergovernmental process on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It will also help stakeholders (including governments and intergovernmental organisations) become better informed about the wide range of proposals, expectations and evidence-based arguments on SDGs and other global goals for development being proposed as part of the post-2015 development framework.

Overall, it is hoped that resource will improve the likelihood of achieving an SDGs framework which fully integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development (social, environmental and economic).

 To achieve these objectives, the e-Inventory will:

  • Enable stakeholders to outline their vision for post-2015 global goals. This may be in the form of  fully formed proposals, which include detailed targets and indicators, or simply principles and themes that should be applied to the goals;
  • Provide an initial database of published proposals for global goals for the post-2015 period;
  • Allow stakeholders to update their submissions and provide feedback/comment on other proposals as the discussions on the Post 2015 Development Agenda and the SDGs develop;
  • Provide capacity building resources to help stakeholders fill knowledge gaps around the intergovernmental process, develop their own proposals, build alliances, and develop advocacy strategies; and
  • Provide stakeholders with the data to undertake analysis to identify trends, commonalities and knowledge/evidence gaps. Stakeholder Forum will also use this information to conduct and disseminate regular analysis to inform the intergovernmental process on SDGs.

To find out more, search existing proposals, or make your own submission, visit

Participant observation for solidarity scholarship: opportunities, challenges, results

I am off to give a talk called “Participant observation for solidarity scholarship: opportunities, challenges, results” today on a panel called “Food Power, Food Sovereignty, and Food Security as part of the SOAS Anthropology of Food Professionalisization Event.

For those of you who are interested, here is my presentation: DUNCAN 2013 SOAS Anthro & Food FINAL

Special shout out to Josh Brem-WIlson for chatting through some of these ideas with me last year and for sharing a great paper he has just written on the topic.

Nation-wide Mobilization around Right to Food in CANADA

MONTREAL, 22 February 2013 – As the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter prepares to deliver his report on Canada to the UN Council on Human Rights in Geneva on March 4, dozens of organizations across the country are mobilizing to engage in a dialogue with the UN expert about what needs to be done to respect to right to food in Canada and to take action locally and nationally. The list of events is rapidly growing and stretches from coast to coast to coast, including small towns and large cities in all provinces and territories.

Food Secure Canada is organizing the cross-Canada initiative in response to the overwhelming interest expressed by its members when the Special Rapporteur came to Canada last year.  Food Secure Canada has called upon the government to take the rapporteur’s recommendations seriously.

“Food is a human right that belongs to every one of us,” said Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada. “Yet we know that more than 12% of Canadians – indigenous peoples, people in Northern and remote communities, those on social assistance and the working poor — amongst others –experience some form of food insecurity. This is an urgent, national problem that can and must be addressed.”

The national web-based Conversation between the Special rapporteur and civil society groups across the country will take place at noon (EST) on March 4 in English and March 5 in French.  Communities are gathering in food banks, universities, offices, town halls and other places to participate in the event.  The rapporteur will present his report, followed by a period of questions and comments from the audience, and most community events will then host a local discussion around what can be done to improve respect for food in their communities.

Follow us on Twitter @foodsecureCAN #Right2FoodCAN


To contact Food Secure Canada:  Diana Bronson, Executive Director, at 514 271-7352 or cell 514 629 9236

To find out about local events, please consult this list. Most events are open to the media and the public but please check precise arrangements with local organizers.

Food Secure Canada is a national membership-based organization concerned with zero hunger, safe and healthy food and sustainable food systems. Its basic platform is explained in Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada.

Food Secure Canada – Sécurité Alimentaire Canada

3720 avenue du Parc, suite 201
Montréal, QC H2X 2J1