Global Food Security Governance: Civil society engagement in the reformed Committee on World Food Security

I am most excited that my book Global Food Security Governance: Civil society engagement in the reformed Committee on World Food Security is now available for pre-order!

It is part of the  Routledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment

It is not exactly priced for accessibility so I encourage you to request your library to order it instead. That way you can access it for free!

You can do that at this using this link and click on “Recommend to Librarian”.

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Some reviews:

“In Global Food Security Governance, Jessica Duncan provides a timely and thoughtful analysis of the recent reform of the Committee on World Food Security and its evolving role in international policy-making on issues of hunger and nutrition. Both empirically rich and theoretically grounded, the book highlights the central role of civil society in reshaping food security governance and assesses the challenges facing the CFS as its work moves forward.”Jennifer Clapp, Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability, University of Waterloo, Canada.

“The Committee on World Food Security inaugurates a new breed of global governance: one in which civil society co-design institutions with governments. This is a superb assessment of this transformative moment.”Olivier De Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2008-2014).

“The inadequacies of the world’s food system became only too clear when the banking crisis unfolded in 2007. Prices went volatile; hunger rose; politicians floundered. In this book, Jessica Duncan gives a wonderful account of the pressures in, on and around the UN’s Committee on Food Security, reformed as a result. The account she gives us both celebrates democratic attempts to make the food system more accountable, and points to tensions which remain. It’s a great read with sober messages.” – Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, Centre for Food Policy, City University London , UK.

“With global food security emerging as one of the issues of the twenty-first century it is essential that obstacles to improved food access be identified and addressed. In her timely and engaging account of the Committee on World Food Security, Jessica Duncan reveals how powerful global actors are undermining the Committee’s attempts to develop and pursue progressive policies aimed at assisting the world’s hungry. Importantly, she also demonstrates how civil society is confronting global neoliberalism and – through the Committee on World Food Security – is helping to create a new framework for improved food security governance. This illuminating and very well-documented book is a ‘must read’ for those who are hoping for, and working toward, a fairer, more food-secure world.”Geoffrey Lawrence, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, The University of Queensland, Australia and President of the International Rural Sociology Association.

How to feed 9 billion people without wrecking the planet?

I am moving WAY out of my comfort zone by presenting a Pecha Kucha (20 slides  shown for 20 seconds each) at the Eco Intensive Agriculture Conference. I will be reflecting on the “why” and “how” of integrated food security governance for sustainability transformation and talking about why we need to include socio-cultural and socio-ecological considerations in such arrangements.

Here is the Flyer.

Registration for the conference is free (click here)!

Towards eco-intensive agriculture

Call for Papers! Cross-Disciplinary Issues for Food Governance: Challenges and Opportunities

We are now looking for papers for a Session on Cross-Disciplinary Issues for Food Governance: Challenges and Opportunities for the ECPR General Conference 2015, Montreal

INFO HERE: http://ecpr.eu/Events/SectionDetails.aspx?SectionID=423&EventID=94 

Section Chair Gerard Breeman & Section Co-Chair Jessica Duncan
Wageningen University and Research Center
Keywords
Development, Environmental Policy, Global, Governance, Public Administration, Public Policy
Abstract
The call for more integrated food policy and governance arrangements, away from a mono-disciplinary focus on agricultural, international development, environment health is increasing alongside recognition of the need to address the complexity of food systems. As such, policies that integrate nutrition and public health, agriculture, environment, ethics and social justice, trade, ecology, spatial planning, climate change, water management, and energy are needed.

Yet, the interconnectedness of relevant policy domains means that food represents a policy challenge as well as a governance challenge at multiple levels (i.e., local, national, international, multinational) and scales (from global discussion about food security and supply, to local water management; from acute problems to looming catastrophes). All these linkages and cross-overs pose challenges to state actors, civil society, and the private sector. There is a need to setup cross-boundary governance arrangements between traditional institutions and administrative competences, but also expand analysis of possible gaps between institutions, deadlocks, miscommunication or the lack of coordination.

In this section we explore a variety of issues that arise when working towards integrated food policies. We welcome paper proposals that analyse cross-policy and governance issues related to food and agriculture.

We propose the following panels:

1. Governing food policy at the nexus: Jessica Duncan (Wageningen University) and Gerard Breeman, (Wageningen University)

A scientifically-framed nexus of threats, marked by a perfect storm of environmental challenges, has recently attracted attention across in global governance regimes. There has been widespread agreement on the need for greater coordination and coherence in governance arrangement to address these challenges, but integration has been weak in practice. This panel seeks papers that interrogate the governance environment and identify the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of food security, energy, finance, natural resources and climate change governance.

2. Changes and transformations in global coordination for food security: Matthieu Brun (IDDRI) and Sébastien Treyer (IDDRI Science Po)

The 2008/2009 food price crisis highlighted an urgent need for a global coordination on food security. There have been initiatives to coherently define food security as a global public good or a global commons. Since the food crisis the fragmented global governance of food security has seen institutional and procedural changes. Nation States claims that food security is a matter of sovereignty, are questioned by various stakeholders, emerging initiatives, and new partnerships. Civil Society Organisations have gained space through the development of inclusive approaches in global governance and are investing in different political arenas to promote their vision to achieve food security and establish inclusive agricultural at regional and national levels. Transnational corporations and private sector are expected to play a key role in the development agenda, especially in agriculture. This panel aims at analysing transformations in the food security governance; the emerging arrangements, their accountability mechanisms, and the new power relations resulting from such changes and the opportunities to rethink food systems in relation to issues such as climate change, sustainable development, and the financial crisis.

3. Food System Governance: Katrien Termeer (Wageningen University) and John Ingram (Oxford University)

Much of the food security debate used to centre on food production and developing countries. Scholars and policymakers, however increasingly request a broader and more integrated approach. The food system concept for instance, aims to understand the interconnected relationships between: various activities ; various food security outcomes , various scales, and various socio-economic and environmental constraints and impacts. This broader perspective enhances new governance challenges, due in part, to the inherent fragmented institutional structure of the food system, characterized by predefined jurisdictional scales, compartmentalisation of policy domains and separated public and private spheres. The current governance institutions strengthen the food system but they also hinder it, because there are too few linkages, the short term dominates the long term; or they provide too little flexibility. Governance arrangements are challenged to cross these historically entrenched institutional boundaries, that allocate power relationships and resources, and that represent dominant beliefs, roles and rules. We welcome theoretical papers contributing to the understanding of food system governance, and empirical papers (from developing and developed countries) that analyse promising governance arrangements based on a food system perspective.

4. Challenges in Food Governance: Carsten Daugbjerg (The Australian National University and Grace Skogstad (University of Toronto)

Previously, governing food and agriculture was for insiders who were policy experts and represented the industry or the government. Agricultural policy focussed on maintaining farm incomes and ensuring the viability of the farm industry. Food regulation was aimed at ensuring consumers safe food. Over the last three decades, multiple dimensions have been added to food and agricultural policies so that the latter now interlink with policy domains such as trade, development, biotechnology, energy, environment, and ethical consumer concerns. The multi-dimensionality of agriculture and food policy has brought new actors and interests into agri-food policy making, challenging existing governance structures. This panel examines the ability of existing theories of governance and public policy to explain the consequence of these challenges for changes in food governance.

5. The aftermath of the food price crises: implications for food governance: Jeroen Candel (Wageningen University)

The food price crises of 2007/2008 and 2010 led to political attention to food systems in general, and food security in particular. Although food prices have not (yet) subsided to previous levels and food security still plays an important role in policy and scholarly discussions, have the spikes resulted in any structural changes regarding the governance of food security. This panel seeks to understand recent developments in the governance of food security and food systems. We welcome papers that empirically analyze and discuss change and continuity of governance systems, institutions, policies, policy instruments, and/or political leadership in the aftermath of the food price crises. Comparative studies are particularly welcomed.

Ph.D. Fellowship Competition: Global Governance and Regional Integration

The BIGSSS Ph.D. Program: Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) invites applications to its Ph.D. program. The program will commence on September 1st, 2015.

Successful applicants for our Ph.D. fellowships will pursue a topic in one of BIGSSS’ three Thematic Fields:

Field A: Global Governance and Regional Integration

Field B: Welfare State, Inequality and Quality of Life

Field C: Changing Lives in Changing Socio-Cultural Contexts

As applicant you are asked to apply with your own research project broadly related to one of the three thematic fields. You must indicate one or two supervisors for your proposal. If you do not name one or two potential supervisors, your application will not be considered. Please be sure to check the BIGSSS homepage and the ones of our faculty for their research interests. By having a close fit to the research interests of BIGSSS faculty, we can assure the best possible supervision. Please note that you should not contact the potential referees directly. Instead, it is sufficient that you indicate their names in your Statement of Purpose. For more information, please refer to“Application Materials”.

All fellows are expected to choose Bremen as their place of residence.

More details available here: http://www.bigsss-bremen.de/admissions/phd/overview/

Defining Civil Society

When people ask me about my research, I often tell them that I study civil society engagement in global food security governance.  A common response is… **blank face**.  Some people seem to think that this is not the sexiest or most exciting field of research, but I disagree and assume that if you are hanging out on this site, you likely agree with me.

So anyway, as part of my “fun” Sunday morning routine, I was reading some of the literature on civil society and came across a definition that I am quite fond of.

In 2002, in the Journal of Global Governance, Jan Aart Scholte published an article “Civil Society and Democracy in Global Governance”. Therein, he writes:

Civil society is a political space where voluntary associations deliberately seek to shape the rules that govern … aspect [s] of social life. “Rules” in this conception, encompasses specific policies, more general norms and deeper social structures. Thus, civil society actions may target formal directives (such as legislation), informal constructs (such as many gender roles), and /or the social order as a whole. The “aspects of social live” that concern us here is the governance of global realms (Scholte 2002: 283).

He also provides a brief but interesting review of the evolution of the term “civil society”. Briefly,  in 16th century English political thought, civil society referred to the state, whereas today it is understood in contrast to the state.

Hegel, writing in the 19th century, included the market in his definition of civil society where as today civil society tends to be associated with the not-for profit sector.

Gramsci, writing in the 1930s, saw civil society as an area where class hegemony forges consent. Yet today, civil society is more often associated with disruption and dissent.

As those who have been following this blog, and the participatory turn in global governance (by way of deliberative democracy), know, civil society is blending with state governance structures and the private and philanthropic sectors,  to form the architecture of global governance.

Thus, Gramsci’s construction of civil society becomes rather useful for starting to analyse and make sense of the relations that are at play in these global realms, to draw from Scholte’s language.

Perhaps more interesting (for me) is that in the reformed Committee on World Food Security, we can see a shift from pre-reform — where civil society space was made up of contesting and dissenting actors — to a new arrangement where civil society actors have been brought in (or have created the space for their engagement) and where non-state actors contest policies and push boundaries to reshape and reform and re-imagine hegemony.