In 2007/8 world food prices spiked and global economic crisis set in, leaving hundreds of millions of people unable to access adequate food. The international reaction was swift. In a bid for leadership, the 123 member countries of the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS) adopted a series of reforms with the aim of becoming the foremost international, inclusive and intergovernmental platform for food security. Central to the reform was the inclusion of participants (including civil society and the private sector) across all activities of the Committee.
Drawing on data collected from policy documents, interviews and participant observation, this book examines the re-organization and functioning of a UN Committee that is coming to be known as a best practice in global governance. Framed by key challenges that plague global governance, the impact and implication of increased civil society engagement are examined by tracing policy negotiations within the CFS, in particular, policy roundtables on smallholder sensitive investment and food price volatility and negotiations on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, and the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition.
The author shows that through their participation in the Committee, civil society actors are influencing policy outcomes. Yet analysis also reveals that the CFS is being undermined by other actors seeking to gain and maintain influence at the global level. By way of this analysis, this book provides empirically-informed insights into increased participation in global governance processes.
"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.
1. Introduction and Overview: The World Food Price Spikes
2. Global Governance: A Framework for Analysis
3. The Evolution of Global Food Security Policy
4. The Reform of the Committee on World Food Security
5. Participation in Global Governance: Coordinating "the Voices of those Most Affected by Food Insecurity"
6. Intergovernmental Power Dynamics: Comparing Outcomes of Policy Roundtables
7. Best Practice: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure
8. Policy Coordination at the Global level: The Global Strategic Framework
9. Conclusion: Reflections on Civil Society Engagement in Global Food Security Governance