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Accepted Paper:

Broadening the space for South-South solidarity and learning: agri-food networks during the Covid-19 pandemic  
Lidia Cabral (Institute of Development Studies) Les Levidow (Open University) Claudia Job Schmitt (UFRRJ)

Paper short abstract:

During the pandemic, alternative agri-food networks faced constraints on engagement but initiated new approaches to South-South learning and policy dialogue.

Paper long abstract:

South-South cooperation has generally promoted business or geopolitical interests rather than develop alternative policy frameworks, especially in the agri-food sector. Alternative policies have lacked adequate government support and do not readily travel across places, especially given that inter-state cooperation presumes a linear policy transfer. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, however, civil society networks have initiated new spaces for policy debate and learning; these knowledge-exchanges emphasise empathy, sharing and reciprocity. This novel process has arisen especially among agri-food networks connecting actors in Brazil to other countries. They have used online platforms to reach out across diverse social groups and identities, thus stimulating links among struggles around land use and food security. These spaces warrant research attention for four reasons: (i) they empower actors that had been largely excluded from formal spaces of South-South relations, (ii) they reframe methodologies for dialoguing and learning, (iii) they likewise reframe multi-actor objectives through counter-hegemonic concepts such as Bem Viver, solidarity economy and territorial struggles, and (iv) they establish engagement channels cutting across geographical and epistemological boundaries. This paper will illustrate those dynamics through a selection of case studies, including: Agroecologia em Rede, a network focused on agroecology and connecting actors in Brazil with other Latin American countries, and AgroEcos, an action-research project that aimed to replicate good practices across space and time and that acquired new meanings when the pandemic stimulated numerous webinars attracting participants from around the country and beyond.

Panel P31b
The global politics and local practices of policy transfer in an unsettled world II
  Session 1 Friday 2 July, 2021, -