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OAAG 1000 - Agriculture and Food in the Global Agenda

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

While the food price crises of 2007-2008 have pushed food security at the highest level of the global agenda, it had already been an issue of international coordination for at least 40 years. But Food Security had also been for a much longer period a very central issue for most national states, at the heart of both their legitimacy and their capacity to control the population. Ensuring food security, particularly by controlling agricultural production, has been essentially an issue of national sovereignty. Claims of “food sovereignty” by many civil society organisations also insist on food security being first and foremost a local or national issue. This course seeks to explore this apparently paradoxical situation by analysing how food security issues are addressed in this “two level games”, between national governments and global governance institutions. Through the successive analysis of domestic food and agriculture policies, the various channels through which they are actually inter-related and the history of international institutions dedicated to the governance of food and agriculture issues, the course wishes to make two main points. On the one hand, it shows that the way international institutions frame current debates on food security is deeply rooted in their long history; this path dependence explains the focus put on agricultural production rather than on other dimensions of food security. On the other hand, it seeks to demonstrate that, in the different streams of international negotiations concerned with food security, locally specific solutions should generally be explored first, even if they can highly benefit from institutional arrangements and cooperation at broader levels. Objective of the course: the course aims at giving key elements of comprehension of global issues concerning food and agriculture, and to present the reasons why agriculture and food are an object of public policy at the national or regional scale, and to what extent there is a need for a global regulation. It particularly aims at presenting main fields of controversy on food security and agricultural development, from research priority setting to supply chain transformations, through trade and development, or food sovereignty.


  • AUBERT, Pierre-Marie (Chercheur, Coordinateur de l'initiative Agriculture européenne)
  • TREYER, Sébastien (Directeur des programmes, IDDRI)

Pedagogical format

12 sessions of 2 hours, including presentations by teachers, as well as presentations and critical analysis of papers by students, and group work.

Course validation

Evaluation will be based on active participation to the course, a mid-term paper or a group presentation, and an essay of 5 to 10 pages (expected for the end of the semester). The theme of the presentation and the essay will be chosen among a list of possible subjects.


Readings concerning the subject of the course (one or two papers per week) ; preparation of a group presentation or a mid term paper ; one essay expected at the end of the semester.

Required reading

  • Beverly McIntyre et al. (ed.) (2009) “Agriculture at a crossroads” , International assessment of agricultural knowledge, science and technology for development (IAASTD) – Global report (
  • World Development Report 2008 “Agriculture for development”, World Bank. ( )
  • Eve Fouilleux (2003) “La Politique Agricole Commune et ses réformes : Une politique européenne à l'épreuve de la globalisation”, L'Harmattan
  • Marcel Mazoyer, Laurence Roudart (2002) “Histoire des agricultures du monde : Du néolithique à la crise contemporaine”, Seuil
  • Nora McKeon (2011) Global Governance for World Food Security: A Scorecard Four Years After the Eruption of the “Food Crisis”, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Berlin, 26 pp