Civil Society-Public Institution Relations in Global Food Policy: The Case of FAO and the CFS

  • Nora McKeon
Part of the International Series on Public Policy book series (ISPP)


Food has constituted a significant terrain for recasting relationships between governmental institutions and civil society over the past two decades. Neo-liberal structural adjustment and trade policies have facilitated control of the world’s food system by increasingly concentrated agrifood corporations, contributing to the eviction of millions of small-scale producers from their land and the disempowerment of consumers. Movements have sprung up around the world to contest these developments in the name of food sovereignty—the right of peoples to determine their food policies. Their engagement has helped to transform the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) into an inclusive policy forum in which they are seeking normative guidance that can help protect their localized food systems. This chapter analyses the CFS after seven years of life as a laboratory of dynamic relations among the different constituencies that compose the food movement and of their dialectic interactions with the governmental, multilateral, and private sector actors who co-habit the CFS space. Lessons learned include the importance of addressing power imbalances among actors and of maintaining clarity regarding the roles, responsibilities and interests of the state and the private sector in mechanisms such as public–private partnerships and multi-stakeholder platforms.


Food Security Civil Society World Trade Organization Food Sovereignty Local Food System 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nora McKeon
    • 1
  1. 1.IndependentRome 3 UniversityRomeItaly

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