Learning by Doing: China's Role in the Global Governance of Food Security
Indiana University Research Center for Chinese Politics & Business Working Paper No. 30
41 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2012
Date Written: September 1, 2012
China, which faces severe resource and environmental constraints, has now reached a critical juncture in its capacity to maintain self-sufficiency in basic foods. Despite abundant grain reserves, an estimated 10 percent of the population is still undernourished. China’s food security concerns have a significant impact on the broader effort to eliminate world hunger and ensure a reliable supply and fair distribution of food on a global scale. In recent years, Beijing has encouraged the outsourcing of agricultural production overseas, expanded agricultural development projects, and increased its role in providing emergency food relief. Now an active, albeit reluctant, stakeholder in the global governance of food security, the question arises of how China’s emerging role is likely to shape the future direction of the international food regime. This paper outlines the major trends in food security governance at the global level, address the vexed question of what constitutes food security in the Chinese context, and assess the extent to which China’s current involvement in agricultural investments, food aid, and global policymaking is aligned with international norms and practices.
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