Since the 2007/08 food price crisis there has been a proliferation of multi-stakeholder processes (MSPs) devoted to bringing diverse perspectives together to inform and improve food security policy. While much of the literature highlights the positive contributions to be gained from an opening-up of traditionally state-led processes, there is a strong critique emerging to show that, in many instances, MSPs have de-politicizing effects. In this paper, we scrutinize MSPs in relation to de-politicization. We argue that re-building sustainable and just food systems requires alternative visions that can best be made visible through politicized policy processes. Focusing on three key conditions of politicization, we examine the UN Committee on World Food Security as a MSP where we see a process of politicization playing out through the endorsement of the ‘most-affected’ principle, which is in turn being actively contested by traditionally powerful actors. We conclude that there is a need to implement and reinforce mechanisms that deliberately politicize participation in MSPs, notably by clearly distinguishing between states and other stakeholders, as well as between categories of non-state actors.
- Civil society
- Committee on world food security
- Multi-stakeholder processes