Evaluating resilience in the governing process of the food strategy for StockholmCounty : Resilience from theory to practice in a qualitativestudy

University essay from KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik

Abstract: To meet global challenges in food provision and to counteract environmental issues derivingfrom the food system, improved governance is necessary. Resilience is presented as a tool formanaging ecosystem services and for understanding what is required to achieve food security.In Sweden there is a national food strategy describing the continued development needed formeeting challenges in the food system. Several regional food strategies have been producedand an additional food strategy for Stockholm County is in the process of being developed byStockholm County Administrative Board. This food strategy could be of especial interest toevaluate due to Stockholm County being highly populated while having a low degree ofprimary food production. Assessing the governance system for the food strategy was ofinterests due to the large groups of stakeholders to consider in the process. The aim of thestudy was to add further knowledge on how resilience can be applied in practice by exploringthe extent of which the governance system for developing the food strategy promotesresilience. The research questions were formulated to investigate the governance system bymapping what stakeholders were involved in the process, what their responsibilities were andwhat relations existed between them. An additional research question was to test how thegovernance system promoted resilience by applying a set of principles for doing so. For collecting data, several stakeholders involved in developing the food strategy at the timeof the data collection were interviewed. Complementary data was also collected from journalarticles, books, documents provided by Stockholm County Administrative Board, websites,governmental publications and different kinds of reports. Quotes were selected to explain thefindings from the interviews, and a social network analysis was constructed to illustrate thestructure of the governance system. Another tool in the data analysis, which was also thepoint of the departure for constructing the research questions, was the resilience frameworkconsisting of a set of principles. Among these principles, five where applied for evaluating thegovernance system of the food strategy. The results were divided in two parts. The first section presents the results from performinginterviews by describing the governance system; identified stakeholders, their functions aswell as their relations. Two other themes identified from the interviews that were concludedto be important for the resulting governance system and also for the resilience evaluation were“collaboration” and “context”. Several stakeholders were identified, a few were concluded tobe more key than others as they belong to either the management group or the draftingcommittee. The stakeholders had national, regional and local responsibilities and were bothgovernmental and non-governmental organizations. The functions of the stakeholders werefor example to represent a certain part of the food system or contributing with national,regional or local knowledge about the food system. The relations among stakeholders in thegovernance system occurred between stakeholders working within the same geographicalscales and also between national, regional and local scales. In the center of the governancestructure were the management group that are to jointly decide on goals for the final strategydocument. The second part of the results constitutes the resilience evaluation, which was accomplishedby testing the results regarding the governance system (from part I) against the framework forresilience using the selected principles. These principles included maintain diversity andredundancy, manage connectivity, encourage learning, broaden participation and promotepolycentric governance. It was concluded that the governance system did follow all of theseprinciples in several aspects, but critical points were also identified. Among the positive  aspect were the positive attitude for learning among stakeholders in the governance system,the involvement of heterogenous groups interacting with one another and also themanagement group as a strong centre for decision-making. One of the main critical pointsidentified from performing the resilience evaluation suggests a few stakeholders to be lackingin the present governance system. The governance system for the food strategy had a large group of stakeholders, representingdifferent parts of the food system, including national/regional/local and governmental/nongovernmentalorganizations, interacting both within and across geographical scales. Theseaspects are important for promoting resilience according to the principles selected in thisstudy. By adding the suggested stakeholders, for example a few representatives from differentparts of the food system that was not involved in the process at the time of data collection, thegovernance system could promote resilience even more.

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