Possible Thesis Topics: Trends in Global Food Security Governance

We are looking for good and motivated BSc and MSc students to conduct research on the following four topics:

  • Deconstructing the discourse of evidence-based policy making.

Project: Calls for evidence-based policy making are increasing evident in global food security policy processes, and beyond. For example, the follow up and review process for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to be “rigorous and based on evidence, informed by country-led evaluations and data which is high-quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated” (UN General Assembly, 2015, para. 74). Behind this push for evidence-based decision making lies a set of highly political questions about what evidence is considered appropriate? How should it be selected? Why? And by whom?

This thesis project will identify and analyse calls for evidence-based policy making made in food security policy processes at the multinational level so as to better understand the political nature of evidence and the implications this has for policies and claims to knowledge and expertise.

Level: The topic is suitable for both MSc and BSc thesis students. Methodologies and scope of the thesis will be adapted to suit the level and interest of the student.

Start date: April-May 2016

  •  Governing agroecology: mapping the emergence of a global governance architecture of agroecology

 Project: The Director-General of the FAO, José Graziano da Silva, recently noted that “Agroecology continues to grow, both in science and in policies. It is an approach that will help to address the challenge of ending hunger and malnutrition in all its forms.” Indeed, in recent years there has been increasing interest in agroecology as part of a set of solutions for addressing current food challenges. However, as the concept moves into mainstream policy fora, the definition of agroecology is being redefined and repositioned, with important implications for farmers, practitioners and policy makers.

This research project will identify and analyse the emerging and competing understandings and definitions of agroecology as they relate to global food security policy. Through this research we will gain a better understand of the ways in which agroecology is shaping, and being shaped by food security policy processes.

Level: The topic is suitable for both MSc and BSc thesis students. Methodologies and scope of the thesis will be adapted to suit the level and interest of the student.

Start date: April-May 2016

  • Civil society participation in global food security governance

Project: Global governance is marked by a participatory turn, meaning that there are increasing numbers of global governance processes working to develop processes and mechanisms to enhance the participation of non-state actors in governance and policy making processes. Given this trend, it is not surprising that participation in governance processes has become an interesting site of investigation for researcher. The result has been the development of a growing body of literature analysing diverse aspects of increased participation.

This research project will identify, review and synthesis trends in civil society participation in global food security governance. The student will map out how participation is understood in the literature as well as in the policy processes. Opportunities, limitations and challenges of civil society participation will also be identified.

Level: The topic is suitable for both MSc and BSc thesis students. Methodologies and scope of the thesis will be adapted to suit the level.

  • Food Security: Is there coherence on solutions?

Project: Food security has been described as a wicked problem, suggesting that there is no single or simple solution to the problem of food insecurity. At the same time, there is a growing body of academic literature on food security that proposes solutions. This research will identify and review the key academic contributions and proposed solutions targeted towards policy makers. The objective is to identify points of consensus and areas where there is no consensus and to theorise the implications of this for increasing calls for evidence-based policies.

Thus, this research will aim to identify what evidence could be used in calls for more evidence-based food security policies and will reflect on what this evidence tells us about potential pathways towards a food secure future.

Level: The topic is suitable for both MSc and BSc thesis students. Methodologies and scope of the thesis will be adapted to suit the level and interest of the student.

Further information, contact Jessica Duncan (jessica.duncan@wur.nl)

 

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