ECPR General Conference
Université de Montréal, Montreal
26 - 29 August 2015




Cross-Disciplinary Issues for Food Governance: Challenges and Opportunities

Development
 
Environmental Policy
 
Governance
 
Public Administration
 
Public Policy
 
Global
 
Section Number
S16
Section Chair
Gerard Breeman
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
Section Co-Chair
Jessica Duncan
Wageningen University and Research Center

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.

Panel List

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Number 
Title 
 
P041Challenges in Food Governance View Panel Details
P044Changes and Transformations in Global Coordination for Food Security View Panel Details
P145Food System Governance View Panel Details
P172Governing Food in an Era of Crises View Panel Details
P371The Aftermath of the Food Price Crises: Implications for Food Governance View Panel Details
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