The reformed Committee on World Food Security and the global governance of food security

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Duncan, J.
  • Subject: HD

This research explores the reformed UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) as an institution addressing a changed world, and as an illustration of evolving global food security governance. The research sets out to answer the extent to which the CFS is realising its reform objectives and how it is positioning itself within a changing architecture of global food security governance.\ud \ud Informed by literature on global governance and embedded neoliberalism, the inquiry centres around three case studies – Civil Society Mechanism, Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, and the Global Strategic Framework – which serve to highlight the operationalization of key reform objectives while simultaneously providing insight into broader policy processes and dynamics. Data was collected through document analysis, participant observation, and interviews. The resulting analysis provides clear evidence of the impact of enhanced participation on policy outcomes and concludes that the policy recommendations emerging from the CFS are amongst the most comprehensive and useful in terms of applicability and uptake at the national and regional level. The analysis also reveals that despite its methods, outcomes and mandate, the CFS is being systematically undermined by other actors seeking to maintain influence and sustain neoliberal hegemony across food security policies at the global level.\ud \ud The research contributes to global governance theory by describing the functioning of a mechanisms that can address democratic deficits in global governance while elucidating related opportunities and challenges. The research also contributes to scholarship on global food security policy by challenging the application of previous analyses to the contemporary reality. The research addresses limitations in global governance literature by mapping the complexity of social and political relations across sites of negotiation, contestation and compromise between actors. The policy implications derived from this thesis focus on the need to further problematize food security and for policies to target structural causes of food insecurity. Building on the experiences of the CFS, this thesis concludes that transparent, participatory mechanisms need to be created which acknowledge, and seek to rectify, existing imbalances in power relations in policy-making processes.
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