Sustainable environments and sustainable livelihoods in food production and distribution are the products of active participation in the governance of food systems, says the International Institute for the Environment and Development (IIED). There is more at stake than just equity for civil society: it is a key to generating sustainability IIED argues in a briefing document published last week.
“Across the world, food system governance is marked by exclusionary processes that favour the values and interests of more powerful corporations, investors, big farmers and large research institutes,” Dr Michel Pimbert, Agroecology and Food Sovereignty team leader of IIED declared. His study lists six effective strategies to remedy the situation.
They include building organisations with a local focus and strengthening the role of civil society in the democratic process. Drawing on the work of IIED projects around the world, Pimbert and his colleagues give examples of economic strategies that would level the economic playing field to make citizen participation in food system governance possible.
These hinge on being able to generate a degree of material security by making the global economy more inclusive and reducing dependency on the money economy as a sole means of exchange. “The shift away from globalised linear food production systems to more citizen-controlled circular models that mimic natural cycles in a range of urban and rural settings is vital if we are to integrate food and energy production with water and waste management,” explains Pimbert.