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Accepted Contribution:

The politics of postulates: unpacking the normative choices in modelling of food system futures  
Abhigya A (Global Change Research Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences) Julia Leventon (Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, CzechGlobe) Stephen Whitfield (University of Leeds)

Short abstract:

This paper looks into how the use of crop modelling shapes knowledge production and stakeholder participation, and vice versa in food systems transformations research in the Global South.

Long abstract:

In the policy discourse around the future of food systems in the Global South, crop modelling has come to be one of the key modes of knowledge production. In this paper we look at one such Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) that provides evidence to shape policies towards climate-smart nutrition security by modelling emissions, climate extremes, and trade and nutrition analysis. The given modelling framework promises to fill the lacunae in food systems assessments that rely overtly on mathematical models and are divorced from regional particularities. It combines models with in-country knowledge and ‘expert’ academic judgement from four countries in Southern Africa. Engagements with diverse stakeholders bring along distinctive inputs as well as competing knowledge claims that open up a space for questions such as: Which stakeholders are involved, who is considered an expert, what vantage points gain precedence in the decision-making process and what dictates these choices?

In this paper, we contribute to this conversation by looking into how the engagements between the modellers and stakeholders shape the normative choices, such as the definition of key drivers of food systems transformations and future scenarios of systems change. We consider how the use of the model shapes the participatory process, and vice versa. Further, we explore how policy agendas such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals influence these normative choices. Through this discussion, we unpack the knowledge claims made through the modelling framework and how these modes of knowledge production steer the conversation around food systems transformations and nutrition security.

Combined Format Open Panel P180
Knowledge, networks, power: climate infrastructures in the Global South
  Session 2 Tuesday 16 July, 2024, -