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Food Security and Sociopolitical Stability: Book launch

CEPS Conference Room
1, Place du Congrès 1000 Brussels
CEPS Event

Food Security and Sociopolitical Stability: Book launch


Global food price spikes in 2008 and again in 2011 coincided with a surge of political unrest in low- and middle-income countries. Angry consumers took to the streets in scores of nations. In some places, food riots turned violent, pressuring governments and in a few cases contributed to their overthrow. Foreign investors sparked a new global land rush, adding a different set of pressures. With scientists cautioning that the world has entered a new era of steadily rising food prices, perhaps aggravated by climate change, the specter of widespread food insecurity and sociopolitical instability weighs on policymakers worldwide.

In the past few years, governments and philanthropic foundations began redoubling efforts to resuscitate agricultural research and technology transfer, as well as to accelerate the modernization of food value chains to deliver high quality food inexpensively, faster, and in greater volumes to urban consumers. But will these efforts suffice? 

This event introduces a newly published Oxford University Press volume that explores the complex relationship between food security and sociopolitical stability up to roughly 2025. The book editor, Prof. Chris Barrett (Cornell University, USA) will provide an overview of the volume as whole.

A key message of the volume is that actions taken in an effort to address food security stressors may have consequences for food security, stability, or both that ultimately matter far more than the direct impacts of biophysical drivers such as climate or land or water scarcity. 

The means by which governments, firms, and private philanthropies tackle the food security challenge of the coming decade will fundamentally shape the relationship between food security and sociopolitical stability. This overview will be followed by in-depth presentations of the chapters by Professor Johan Swinnen (KU Leuven) on eastern Europe and central Asia, and by Dr. Luc Christiaensen (World Bank) on China, and a question-and-answer period.

Participation in CEPS Meetings is a benefit of membership. Non-members may be admitted for €50, paid in cash at registration or they will be invoiced 50€ +VAT after participation in the meeting. A limited number of sandwiches will be available before the event, from 12.30 onwards.

Nathalie Francken

Research Fellow, CEPS and Research Manager at LICOS – Research Group on Development and Food Policy, Leuven University