Skip to main content

Public private partnerships in global food governance: business engagement and legitimacy in the global fight against hunger and malnutrition

Abstract

This article compares two transnational public–private partnerships against hunger and malnutrition, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and the International Alliance Against Hunger with regard to their degree of business involvement and their input and output legimacy. We examine the participation of stakeholders, the accountability and transparency of the decision-making process, and the perceived provision of a public good. We identify a link between business involvement and output legitimacy, and we discuss the implications for public and private food governance.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. A fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger had already been recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which was adopted in 1966 and entered into force in 1976.

  2. The target to “[r]educe by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger” is part of MDG Number 1.

  3. MDG 8 calls upon member states and the UN “[t]o develop strong partnerships with the private sector and with civil society organizations in pursuit of development” (UN General Assembly 2000: 5); see also the World Food Summit Plan for Action (1996), which suggests that governments form partnerships with civil society.

  4. Buse and Harmer (2007) have a narrower definition of PPP and therefore look at a smaller sample of only 23 GHPs.

  5. Although GAIN does not publicize the list of members in the Business Alliance, companies are free to mention the membership themselves.

  6. Bioversity International is acting in the IAAH on behalf of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

  7. We omit another aspect of legitimacy, the deliberative quality of the process of rule-making (cf. Dingwerth 2007).

  8. For example, Scharpf (1999) claims that a measure can only be output-legitimate if it is pareto-optimal, i.e. serves the interests of all participants best.

  9. “In terms of micronutrients, there are four strategies, which are not mutually exclusive, and they are: diversification, food fortification, supplementation, and public health measures […]. We recognize that the other three [strategies] play an important role, depending on the location, the country, or the time period, the season. All these four strategies may have different roles to play. And we should not have an emphasis on any of those four, which would be to the detriment of the other three. This is my concern about fortification when it is pushed unnaturally” (Interview FAO #2).

  10. Since June 2009, GAIN has published its statutes on its website.

  11. Like GAIN, both are transnational PPPs in which the BGMF is strongly involved.

  12. An FAO official argued that this problem of a distinct identity and clear vision provides problems for the IAAH, especially when trying to attract potential partners for funding: “If you ask a donor to provide money, to whom is the donor giving the money? This is not clear if you look at the IAAH.” (Interview FAO #4). A NGO interviewee also mentioned the broad mission of the IAAH evolving from the WFS-fyl and the lack of clear goals (NGO #2).

  13. One FAO consultant in the field argued that this kind of level playing field support is highly appreciated by farmers, who prefer it to support by IOs or NGOs. One reasons is expertise, another is trust: the farmer trusts the expert because both need to create their income from farming (Interview FAO #5).

References

  • Alliance to End Hunger. 2009. Membership. http://www.alliancetoendhunger.org/members/. Accessed 28 May 2009.

  • Bäckstrand, Karin. 2006. Democratizing global environmental governance? Stakeholder democracy after the world summit on sustainable development. European Journal of International Relations 12 (4): 467–498.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beisheim, Marianne, and Dingwerth, Klaus. 2008. Procedural legitimacy and private transnational governance. Are the good ones doing better? SFB governance working paper 14. http://www.sfb-governance.de/publikationen/sfbgov_wp/wp14_en/sfbgov_wp14_en.pdf. Accessed 25 May 2009.

  • Beisheim, Marianne, Andrea Liese, Thomas Risse, and Cornelia Ulbert. 2005. Erfolgsbedingungen transnationaler Public Private Partnerships in den Bereichen Umwelt, Gesundheit und Soziales. Antrag zum Projekt D1 im Sonderforschungsbereich 700 ‘‘Governance in Räumen begrenzter Staatlichkeit’’ [Conditions for Success of Transnational Public Private Partnerships in the Areas of Environment, Health and Social Rights]. Berlin: Freie Universität Berlin.

  • Beisheim, Marianne, Andrea Liese, and Cornelia Ulbert. 2007. Transnationale öffentlich-private Partnerschaften—Bestimmungsfaktoren für die Effektivität ihrer Governance-Leistungen. In Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 41, ed. Gunnar Folke Schuppert, and Michael Zürn, 452–474. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bekefi, Tamara. 2006. Business as a partner in tackling micronutrient deficiency: Lessons in multisector partnership. John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/m-rcbg/CSRI/publications/report_7_bekefi_micronutrient_2006FNL.pdf. Accessed 25 May 2009.

  • Benz, Arthur. 2000. Politische Steuerung in lose gekoppelten Mehrebenensystemen. In Gesellschaftliche Komplexität und kollektive Handlungsfähigkeit, ed. Uwe Schimank, and Raymund Werle, 97–123. New York: Campus.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bexell, Magdalena, Jonas Tallberg, and Anders Uhlin. 2008. Democracy in global governance: The promises and pitfalls of transnational actors. Paper presented at the annual conference of millennium journal of international studies, London.

  • Broadwater, Ian, and Kaul, Inge. 2005. Global public-private partnerships. The current landscape. Study outline. UNDP/ODS, Background paper. New York, NY.

  • Buse, Kent, and Andrew M. Harmer. 2007. Seven habits of highly effective global public-private health partnerships: Practice and potential. Social Science and Medicine 64: 259–271.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cannon, Geoffrey. 2003. Out of the box. Public Health Nutrition 6 (3): 229–231.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carlson, Cindy. 2004. Mapping global health partnerships: What they are, what they do and where they operate. DFID Health Resource Center. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/development/docs/WHO_1.pdf. Accessed 25 May 2009.

  • Clayton, Eva. 2003. Interview with Eva Clayton, FAO assistant director-general and special advisor on the world food summit follow-up, on the international alliance against hunger. http://www.rdfs.net/news/interviews/0306in/0306in_clayton_en.htm. Accessed 14 December 2008.

  • Copenhagen Consensus. 2008. Outcome paper. http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/Admin/Public/DWSDownload.aspx?File=%2fFiles%2fFiler%2fCC08%2fPresse++result%2fCC08_results_FINAL%5b1%5d.pdf. Accessed 14 December 2008.

  • de Haen, Hartwig, Kostas Stamoulis, Prakash Shetty, and Prabhu Pingali. 2003. The world food economy in the twenty-first century: Challenges for international co-operation. Development Policy Review 21 (5–6): 683–696.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dingwerth, Klaus. 2007. The new transnationalism: Transnational governance and democratic legitimacy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 1996. Rome declaration on world food security. World Food Summit, 13–17 November 1996, Rome.

  • FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and ILSI (International Life Sciences Institute). 1997. Preventing micronutrient malnutrition: A guide to food-based approaches—why policy makers should give priority to food-based strategies. Washington, DC: ILSI Press. http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0245e/x0245e00.HTM. Accessed 30 October 2009.

  • FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 2003. Working together for an international alliance against hunger. Rome: FAO.

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 2006. Evaluation of partnerships and alliances PC 95/4 b. Rome: FAO.

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 2007. The challenge of renewal. Report of the independent external evaluation of the food and agriculture organization of the United Nations. Rome: FAO.

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 2009. Declaration of the world summit on food security. Rome: FAO.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fuchs, Doris, and Kalfgianni, Agni. 2008. The democratic legitimacy of private food governance: Retail standards, GMO certification schemes and the marine stewardship council. Paper prepared for the symposium on private governance in the global agro-food system, Münster, Germany.

  • Fuchs, Doris, Agni Kalfagianni, and Jennifer Clapp. 2010. Private governance in the global agro-food system: A framework for analysis. Agriculture and Human Values.

  • GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). 2002. Framework document. Geneva: GAIN.

    Google Scholar 

  • GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). 2003. Fortifying the fight against poverty. Strategic plan 2004–2007. Geneva: GAIN.

  • GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). 2006. Annual report 2004–2005. http://www.gainhealth.org/gain/ch/en-en/file.cfm/gain%20ar%2006%20lowest%20resolution.pdf?contentID=1575. Accessed 29 July 2008.

  • GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). 2008a. GAIN global forum 2008: Growing GAIN. http://www.gainhealth.org/system/files/Global-Forum-Report1.pdf. Accessed 29 July 2008.

  • GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). 2008b. Report of the GAIN global forum 2008. http://gainhealth.org/sites/default/files/global_forum_report_pdf_55244.pdf.

  • GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). 2008c. Fighting malnutrition is good for business. http://www.gainhealth.org/fighting-malnutrition-is-good-for-business. Accessed 23 July 2008.

  • GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). 2009a. GAIN board. http://gainhealth.org/about-gain/organization/board. Accessed 26 June 2008.

  • GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). 2009b. GAIN statutes. http://www.gainhealth.org/sites/default/files/GAIN%20Amended%20Statutes_English.pdf. Accessed 04 November 2009.

  • GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition). 2009c. Annual reports of GAIN. http://gainhealth.org/media/reports.

  • Grant, Ruth W., and Robert O. Keohane. 2005. Accountability and abuses of power in world politics. American Political Science Review 99 (1): 29–43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Heady, Derek, and Fan, Shenggen. 2008. Anatomy of a crisis: The causes and consequences of surging food prices. IFPRI Discussion Paper 00831.

  • IAAH (International Alliance against Hunger). 2004. The international alliance against hunger. Joining forces to end world hunger. Strategy paper. Rome: FAO. http://www.fao.org/monitoringprogress/docs/IAA_Towards_Int_Com.pdf. Accessed 11 June 2009.

  • IAAH (International Alliance against Hunger). 2006a. Allied against hunger no. 6. March. http://www.iaahp.net/docs/Newsletter_March_06_en.pdf. Accessed 14 February 2008.

  • IAAH (International Alliance against Hunger). 2006b. Allied against hunger no. 7. October. http://www.iaahp.net/docs/Newsletter_March_07_en.pdf. Accessed 14 February 2008.

  • IAAH (International Alliance against Hunger). 2006c. 32nd session of the FAO committee on world food security. 30 October 2006. Report of the international alliance against hunger side event, Rome. http://www.iaahp.net/fileadmin/templates/iaah/docs/Special_Event_06_report_en.pdf. Accessed 12 June 2009.

  • IAAH (International Alliance against Hunger). 2007. Resource mobilization strategy. http://www.iaahp.net/fileadmin/templates/iaah/pdf/Resource_Mobi_Strat_EN_final.pdf. Accessed 25 May 2009.

  • IAAH (International Alliance against Hunger). 2008. List of websites of national alliances against hunger. http://www.iaahp.net/national-alliances/links/en/. Accessed 28 May 2009.

  • IAAH (International Alliance against Hunger). 2009a. History and vision. http://www.iaahp.net/about-iaah/history-and-vision/en/?no_cache=1. Accessed 03 November 2009.

  • IAAH (International Alliance against Hunger). 2009b. Members. http://www.iaahp.net/iaah-members/en/. Accessed 23 October 2009.

  • McCoy, David, Gayatri Kembhavi, Jinesh Patel, and Akish Luintel. 2009a. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's grant-making programme for global health. The Lancet 373 (9675): 1645–1653.

  • McCoy, David, Sudeep Chand, and Devi Sridhar. 2009b. Global health funding: How much, where it comes from and where it goes. Health Policy and Planning 24: 407–417.

    Google Scholar 

  • McMichael, Philip. 2006. Peasant prospects in the neoliberal age. New Political Economy 11 (3): 407–418.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McMichael, Philip. 2004. Global development and the corporate food regime. Trade observatory. http://www.tradeobservatory.org/library.cfm?RefID=37655. Accessed 29 May 2009.

  • Ollila, Eeva. 2005. Global health priorities—priorities of the wealthy? Globalization and Health 1: 1–5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Omelicheva, Mariya Y. 2009. Global civil society and democratization of world politics: A bona fide relationship or illusory liaison? International Studies Review 11 (1): 109–132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Richter, Judith. 2003. We the people’ or ‘We the corporations’? Critical reflections on UN-business ‘partnerships’. Geneva: IBFAN/GIFA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Risse, Thomas. 2006. Transnational governance and legitimacy. In Governance and democracy: Comparing national, European and international experience, ed. Arthur Benz, and Yannis Papadopoulos, 179–199. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schäferhoff, Marco, Sabine Campe, and Christopher Kaan. 2009. Transnational public-private partnerships in international relations: Making sense of concepts, research frameworks, and results. International Studies Review 11 (3): 451–474.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scharpf, Fritz W. 1999. Governing in Europe. Effective and democratic?. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shaw, D.John. 2007. World food security. A history since 1945. Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shaw, D.John. 2009. Global food and agriculture institutions. Abingdon: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • United Nations. 1995. Report of the world food conference. Rome 5–16 November 1974, UN Doc. E/CONF. 65/20.

  • United Nations. 2002. S-27/2. A world fit for children. Resolution adopted by the general assembly (UN Doc. A/RES/S-27/2). New York: United Nations.

  • United Nations. 2008. Millennium development goals report 2008. New York: United Nations.

    Google Scholar 

  • United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Hunger. 2005. Halving hunger: It can be done. http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/Hunger-lowres-complete.pdf. Accessed 11 December 2008.

  • United Nations Department for Public Information. 2002. Press conference by global alliance for improved nutrition. 09 May 2002. http://www.unicef.org/specialsession/press/02bngain.htm. Accessed 25 May 2009.

  • United Nations General Assembly. 2000. Millennium declaration, (A/Res/55/2). http://www.un.org/millennium/declaration/ares552e.pdf. Accessed 11 December 2008.

  • United Nations System Network on Rural Development and Food Security. 2004. Report of the evaluation of the UN system network on rural development and food security. Rome: FAO.

    Google Scholar 

  • UNSNC (United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition). 2006. Double burden of malnutrition—a common agenda, participants’ statement. Geneva: 33rd annual session. 13–17 March 2006.

  • Utting, Peter, and Ann Zammit. 2006. Beyond pragmatism. Appraising UN-business partnerships. Geneva: UNRISD.

    Google Scholar 

  • World Bank. 1994. Enriching lives. Overcoming vitamin and mineral malnutrition in developing countries. Washington, DC: World Bank.

  • World Bank. 2004. Project implementation document\final GAIN PID 11 -04.doc. http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2006/01/26/00011274220060126183609/Original/350600MOR0Final0GAIN0PID011104.doc. Accessed 29 July 2008.

  • World Bank. 2005. Morocco receives US$2.92 million grant for flour fortification project. http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/MENAEXT/MOROCCOEXTN/0,,contentMDK:20439536~menuPK:294559~pagePK:2865066~piPK:2865079~theSitePK:294540,00.html. Accessed 11 June 2008.

  • WFP (World Food Programme). 2009. List of current private sector donors of the WFP. http://www.wfp.org/how-to-help/companies/donors; http://www.wfp.org/how-to-help/companies/donors, which lists companies the WFP collaborates with. Accessed 08 June 2009.

  • WHO (World Health Organization). 2009. An assessment of interactions between global health initiatives and country health systems. The Lancet 373: 2137–2169.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zimmerman, Rachel. 2002. Gates fights malnutrition with cheese, ketchup and other fortified items. Wall Street Journal 9: B.1.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This article refers to results of the SFB700-project “Transnational Public Private Partnerships for Environment, Health, and Social Rights: Determinants of Success”, part of the Berlin Collaborative Research Center “Governance in Areas with Limited Statehood” (www.sfb-governance.de/ppp), which is funded by the German Research Council (DFG). For the general framework see Beisheim et al. (2005) and Beisheim et al. (2007: 247–271), for an earlier comparison of IAAH and GAIN see Beisheim et al. (2007). For a general discussion of the PPP literature in IR see Schäferhoff et al. (2009). We thank Sabine Campe, Nicole Helmerich, Marco Schäferhoff, the participants of the symposium on private governance in the global agro-food system in Münster (Germany), the guest editors of this issue and the two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on previous versions of this article. For their assistance with research and editing we thank Jan Dobbernack, Julia Schilling and Malte Tepe.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andrea Liese.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kaan, C., Liese, A. Public private partnerships in global food governance: business engagement and legitimacy in the global fight against hunger and malnutrition. Agric Hum Values 28, 385–399 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-009-9255-0

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-009-9255-0

Keywords

  • Public-private partnerships
  • Transnational governance
  • Legitimacy
  • Business participation
  • Hunger
  • Malnutrition