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Jennifer Clapp

Food aid has been an important feature of international development assistance since the 1950s. Since that time, both the practice and the politics of food aid have seen significant change. This chapter outlines some of the key shifts in food aid policies and politics over this period, with a special focus on those trends that have occurred in the past decade. First, there has been a shift to the provision of untied food aid by some, but not all, donors. Second, the world food crisis of 2007–08 ushered in a new economic context of hunger in which food prices have become higher and more volatile. Third, a new Food Assistance Convention was agreed in 2012 to govern food aid. Each of these trends has introduced new challenges and uncertainties for international food aid policy, which in turn have affected the political dynamics around this type of international assistance.

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Jennifer Clapp and Phoebe Stephens

This chapter focuses on the global political dynamics at the interface of food systems and environmental systems, especially at the international level. Scholars across a range of disciplines have drawn attention to the ecological impact of food production methods, the environmental consequences of an increasingly globalized food distribution system, and the sustainability implications of dietary choices. The complexity of food supply chains at the global level has at times obscured these issues from the public’s view, but a growing amount of research on these themes has made them more visible in recent years, contributing to greater societal pressure and political debate over how best to ensure that food systems are more sustainable. We conclude by pointing to what we consider to be the most promising theoretical and methodological frameworks for research in this area, including interdisciplinary approaches and methods that draw on a range of data sources.