Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark Whittingham
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© 2017. Although policymakers and scientists are increasingly embracing the food system perspective, it has been poorly reflected in institutional terms. We aim to fill this gap by addressing the question as to what forms of governance are most appropriate to govern food systems in a more holistic way. The article presents a diagnostic framework consisting of five principles: 1) system-based problem framing to deal with interlinked issues, drivers and feedback loops; 2) connectivity across boundaries to span siloed governance structures and include non-state actors; 3) adaptability to flexibly respond to inherent uncertainties and volatility; 4) inclusiveness to facilitate support and legitimacy; and 5) transformative capacity to overcome path dependencies and create adequate conditions to foster structural change. This framework is used to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of three food governance arrangements in South Africa, each of which deliberately aimed to embrace a holistic perspective. Although promising on paper, the outcomes are disappointing because of a reversion to a technical onedimensional problem framing during the implementation, the dominance of single departments, the limited attention to monitoring and flexible responses and the exclusion of those most affected by food insecurity. We conclude that the tensions between the ambitious objectives of the arrangements and the institutional constraints of implementing them can persist because of inadequate resources to facilitate transformative change. Finally, we propose an agenda to further elaborate the framework and improve its practical usefulness.
Author(s): Termeer CJAM, Drimie S, Ingram J, Pereira L, Whittingham MJ
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Print publication date: 01/03/2018
Online publication date: 30/08/2017
Acceptance date: 17/08/2017
ISSN (print): 1573-5214
ISSN (electronic): 2212-1307
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