The Governance Challenges of Food System: An International Conference

I just returned from the international conference on food security, sustainability and the law, which was held in Beijing on 24 May 2014. The conference was successfully organized by University of New England, Australia, and Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing.

The conference addressed a wide range of issues, including: how can improved governance reduce harmful impacts of farming on the environment, and upon people (including consumers), how can the many different rivalries over resources involved in the food system be better identified and managed, what legal and other mechanisms can be used to ensure investor and manager accountability and responsibility in reducing farming impacts, how can food, its costs and its benefits, be more equitably distributed between peoples (including between regions and communities, and what are the risks of modern food-system technologies and how might these be better governed.

The two big themes of food security and food safety are discussed equally by many experts in the field, covering a diverse theoretical spectrum, not only law, but also food science, sociology, anthropology and political science. Case studies, both international and national, were presented, to give insights on the development and challenges in food system.

I was honored to be invited by University of New England and to be given the opportunity present my paper on ‘A Critical Assessment on the Transformative Role of the Right to Food: the Case of Agricultural Modernisation in Merauke, Papua’. An edited volume will be initiated in the near future based on the presented papers, to which I am looking forward to contribute.

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