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ECPR 50th Anniversary Fund

Global Food Governance in the Era of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Assessing Norm Contestation and Conflict Management

International Relations
Normative Theory
Magdalena Tanzer
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Magdalena Tanzer
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Helmut Breitmeier
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Andrés Checa
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Jacob Manderbach
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Sandra Schwindenhammer
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen

As part of the new global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, the UN adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 2 unites ending hunger, achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture. Consequently, the goal calls upon the international community to promote integrated governance approaches and joint efforts at achieving a world without hunger and malnutrition by 2030. However, goal attainment is hampered by different understandings and fundamental norm conflicts.
The paper captures norm conflicts as a major challenge for democratic food and agricultural governance and proposes a theoretical concept for the analysis of norm contestation and the management in the global regime complex for food. The theoretical concept differentiates between core institutions of the regime complex for food on the micro-level (FAO, UNEP, WHO, WTO) and inter-institutional arrangements on the macro level (e.g., the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the Sustainable Rice Platform and the Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems). The paper asks how these inter-institutional arrangements contribute to the contestation and management of norms and, thus, influence the development and content-related design of the norms.
The paper proceeds in two steps: First, it combines critical norm theory of International Relations (IR) and regime complex theory in order to assess norm conflicts. Second, the paper connects structure- and agency-based approaches to identify factors explaining the development and content-related design of the norm of sustainability. It assesses the explanatory value of three factors – interplay management, agency and authority pooling and the role of knowledge. The paper presents preliminary empirical results from a qualitative case study analysis of micro-level institutions derived in the context of the new TANNRE research project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research at Justus Liebig University Giessen (Germany).
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