UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Capacity building for food and nutritional security : a case study on governance in Sao Paulo State, Brazil Bentley, Stephen Cody


This thesis is a case study of the food security movement that is active in urban areas in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. It examines the role that innovative governance structures, particularly horizontal and vertical intergovernmental cooperative agreements, and partnerships between governments and civil society play in building capacity for food security, social inclusion and sound public administration in such urban areas. For its theoretical basis, the thesis examines the literature on food security and its links to democratic governance and citizenship, as well as the discourse on Brazil’s own process of democratization and the move to decentralized, participatory approaches to governance. After providing an historical overview of how Brazil’s food security systems have evolved over time, the thesis turns to an assessment of urban food security governance in São Paulo state. Here it examines some of the key factors required for the development and implementation of effective municipal food security policy, as well as some of the challenges faced by local policy-makers. In the penultimate chapter, the thesis considers how effective practices in food security planning at the local level can be extended beyond the borders of a few resource- and knowledge-rich municipalities, through the creation of regional and state-level governance structures. The thesis concludes with a summary of the empirical findings, an overall conclusion with theoretical considerations, implications for action for those involved with food security planning in similar environments, and implications for further research.

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