How do the international structures for governing food interact with those for governing the earth system, such as the climate or biodiversity regimes?
How do threats to food security influence negotiations on earth system governance architectures, e.g., in debates about the targeting of funds for adaptation; role of biofuels; potential of biotechnology in climate adaptation; interaction of food security and land cover; or the impact of carbon pricing on food security?
At what jurisdictional levels is the food system governed and how do these interact with each other and with other earth system governance systems?
What role are non-state actors, such as corporations and nongovernmental organisations, likely to play in both food system adaptation to global environmental change and in efforts to mitigate changes in climate, biodiversity, or land cover?
What role should the state play in promoting or regulating the actions of non-state actors, for example, in the development of certification schemes, adaptation options, or carbon markets for the food sector?
Who are the most powerful actors in food system governance and how are they addressing earth system concerns?
Earth system governance must respond to the inherent uncertainties in human and natural systems to ensure long-term governance solutions with flexibility to react quickly to new findings and developments.
What are the politics of adaptiveness?
Which governance processes foster it?
What attributes of governance systems enhance capacities to adapt?
How, when and why does adaptiveness influence earth system governance?
How have systems of food governance become accountable for their environmental and social impacts?
What strategies are the state and private sector using to legitimise policies and decisions about food systems, especially those that consider environmental concerns, and how are consumers, nongovernmental organisations and the media having an influence?
What sort of science is needed to monitor and legitimise food governance and how is this changing because of environmental concerns?
Earth system governance is, as is any political activity, about the distribution of material and immaterial values. It is, in essence, a conflict about the access to goods and about their allocation—it is about justice, fairness, and equity. The novel character of earth system transformation and of the new governance solutions that are being developed, puts questions of allocation and access, debated for millennia, in a new light.
How can we reach interdisciplinary conceptualizations and definitions of allocation and access?
What (overarching) principles underlie allocation and access?
How can allocation be reconciled with governance effectiveness?
What legal, moral and other norms are entrenched in food systems governance and how might these change because of environmental issues?
How have changes in markets and state policies changed food allocation and access?
How might vulnerability to climate and other environmental changes translate into food system vulnerabilities?
How does the governance of land use, land cover, and biodiversity (for example through the establishment of protected areas) or the use of land for non-food activities (such as biofuels or cities) change patterns of access to food resources?
Young, O.R., L.A. King, and H. Schroeder (eds.) (2008), Institutions and Environmental Change: Principal Findings, Applications, and Research Frontiers , Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Liverman, D., P. Ericksen, J. Ingram (2009), Governing Food Systems in the Context of Global Environmental Change. IHDP UPDATE Governance as a Crosscutting Theme in Human Dimensions Science, Issue 3, pp. 59-64
Biermann, F., M. Betsill, J. Gupta, N. Kanie, L. Lebel, D. Liverman, H. Schroeder, and B. Siebenhuener (2009), Earth System Governance: People, Places, and the Planet. Science and Implementation Plan of the Earth System Governance Project . Earth System Governance Report 1, IHDP Report 20. Bonn, IHDP