International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Renewal through Participation in Global Food Security Governance: Implementing the International Food Security and Nutrition Civil Society Mechanism to the Committee on World Food Security

International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Volume 19, issue 2 (2012), pages 143-161

Author: Jessica Duncan and David Barling
Affiliation: Centre for Food Policy, City University London, London, U.K.

ISSN: 0798-1759


The food commodity price rises from 2006 to 2008 engendered a period of political renewal and reform in the governance of global food security. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was designated as the main international forum dealing with food security and nutrition in 2009 as part of this reform. Through the CFS reform process, civil society organizations secured the right to co-ordinate autonomously their engagement in the Committee as official participants and are doing so through the International Food Security and Nutrition Civil Society Mechanism (CSM). The CSM is an innovative institutional form designed to allow a broad range of civil society organizations from different regions of the world and from diverse constituencies, notably those who face food insecurity on a regular basis, to participate in global food security governance. The challenges and complexities of setting up and operationalizing the CSM are presented and illustrated. These findings are considered in the context of the longer-term move towards widening participation in global governance, with a particular focus on the trajectory of civil society participation in food security governance. The broad neo-liberal logic, or embedded neo-liberalism, that underpins contemporary world politics provides boundaries within which the innovative CSM is being given shape through the political agency of the participating civil society organizations. The study concludes by suggesting that while the Civil Society Mechanism faces some internal challenges, these are not insurmountable, and that the CSM represents an effective politicizing, engaging and connecting model for food-focused civil society organization entering into global governance.

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