Strengthening local voices in the governance of food systems and the environment

Project
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The aim of this action research is to identify and support processes that can help democratise the governance of food systems, land use and the environment. It seeks to find more equitable ways of including citizens in policy making and in the design of technologies and institutions that shape food systems and the environment.

The following themes and case studies have been identified through discussion with partners and an analysis of emerging global challenges. In each case, different participatory methodologies and institutional innovations are combined to create safe spaces for citizen deliberation and inclusion in policy making, institutional choices, risk assessments, and the design of technologies.

Follow the link for more information and publications relating to each theme.

Food and farming futures for small producers and indigenous peoples

Transforming agri-food research for citizen participation and the public good

Citizens reframing conservation policies and practice for food and livelihood security, environmental sustainability and justice

Strengthening local voices in policy debates on climate change, agro-fuels and the food-energy nexus

Marginalised and excluded social groups stand to gain most from the development and spread of more inclusive forms of governance based on the principles of deliberative and direct democracy.

It is anticipated that increased food security and other livelihood assets will accrue to these social groups as their rights, knowledge, realities and priorities are made to count more in policy processes, research priorities, technological designs, regulatory frameworks, resource allocation and institutions.

Additional resources

Making agricultural research work for small farmers and agroecological approaches in West Africa,  Michel Pimbert (2010) - A paper prepared for the International Seminar Convened under the Auspices of the Mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food:"The contribution of agroecological approaches to meet 2050 global food needs”. Brussels, June 21-‐22, 2010.

Links and publications have been organised by theme:

Publications and links about - Food and farming futures for small producers and indigenous peoples

Publications and links about - Transforming agri-food research for citizen participation and the public good

Publicationsand links about - Citizens reframing conservation policies and practice for food and livelihood security, environmental sustainability and justice

Publications and links about - Strengthening local voices policy debates on climate change, agro-fuels and the food-energy nexus

Film - watch a video of Michael Pimbert speaking at the Oxford Real Farming Conference

Science and Craft in Concert
by Michel Pimbert
Oxford Real Farming Conference, 2011

Open and respectful dialogues between scientists and food providers are needed to transform the dominant paradigm of agricultural development. But genuine and effective intercultural dialogue must be based on processes that give the least powerful actors more significant roles than before in the production and validation of knowledge as well as in defining upstream strategic research priorities and policies. This presentation highlights some of the enabling factors that are important in this regard, including:

  • Free prior informed consent, jointly developed rules of engagement, and a mutually agreed code of research ethics
  • formation of safe spaces for intercultural dialogue
  • reversals from normal professional roles, behaviors and attitudes
  • cognitive justice - acknowledging the right for different knowledge systems to exist
  • extended peer review and diverse gatekeepers of knowledge
  • the roles of local organizations and federations in mediating countervailing power and knowledge for food sovereignty.

Donors

This project is funded by Oxfam NOVIB, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swiss Development Cooperation and the Christensen Fund.


Partners

IIED will work with the following partners and their wider social networks:

India Deccan Development Society (DDS)
Iran Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment (CENESTA)
Bolivia Mainumby

Mali Kene Conseils
Peru Qolla Aymara
France Réseau Semences Paysannes
Italy The International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty
Switzwerland Commission on Environment Economic and Social Policy

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