By Charlotte Whittier

The International Law Institute (ILI) is pleased to present a new two-week seminar on Achieving Food Security Through Public Private Partnerships that will take place in live synchronous online sessions from July 11 – 22, 2022. Beyond food being essential to our survival, overall food accessibility and the agriculture industry play an outsized role in the health of a country’s economy. This two-week seminar highlights how law, policy and the private sector can be harnessed in collaboration to achieve food security. While teaching this seminar, the highly qualified ILI instructor, Ms. Jeannette Tramhel aims to guide participants toward a better understanding of how both, the private sector and the law can be utilized to effect change and serve as drivers within local and global food systems. Ms. Tramhel, a Senior Legal Officer at the Organization of American States, has extensive knowledge and expertise in the fields of law, agriculture, and environmental design that she draws upon in a multifaceted approach.

Farmers, government organizations, food distributors, lawyers and other professionals in human rights, trade, sustainability, among others, all deal with various aspects of food security and agricultural development. The lack of coordination between these respective fields has resulted in an individualistic approach through which complex food systems are considered; this timely ILI seminar is a step toward bridging that gap by encouraging collaboration rather than isolation. As Jeannette explains, “we are starting to see courses that consider food systems, we are starting to see people connecting the dots, but in the past, this has not been the case.”

One space where this conversation is moving to the forefront of agendas is at the United Nations. The United Nations Food Systems Summit, scheduled for late July, sheds light on the need to transition current food systems toward a more equitable, sustainable, and healthy structure. When looking at our current global food system, Jeanette describes it as a ball of wool and that “when you start to untie this, you see that there are many areas of the law that have an impact on how the global food system has been shaped, a lot of the time this has happened by default.” The UN Food Systems Summit has as a focus the restructuring of this system and aims to generate significant progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As it relates to food security, SDG 2 provides targets which create something of a roadmap to reach the stated goal of zero-hunger.

In this seminar, Jeannette will highlight how both law and PPPs can be used as a means to make progress toward reaching food security goals. Participants will analyze multiple case studies to understand how various situations have either contributed to or diminished food security. The lessons learned from conventional PPPs will be discussed and considered in practical application for emerging agri-PPPs across all four “pillars of food security” – availability, access, utilizations, and stability. Jeannette draws on her experience in the environmental sector and agricultural industry to examine cases “in the four main categories of agri-PPPs: in value chain development, technology transfer, market infrastructure, and business development.” By looking at these areas, students of the program will come away with strategies for designing highly effective agricultural PPPs.

Utilizing case studies, this seminar will integrate a variety of factors involved in food systems and the agricultural industry. These include challenges in food security that range from environmental impacts to health and nutrition, and credit access issues – issues that are particularly important for women and minority groups in the agricultural sector. In relation to this, Jeannette says that “we do try to weave in these issues throughout the seminar, and to take an integrated approach because in trying to rebuild food systems, what is needed is an interdisciplinary strategy.”

Professionals, government employees, and CGOs/NGOs involved in both public and private sectors whose work involves food security and agricultural development are encouraged to attend this seminar. As Jeannette expresses quite comprehensively, “the virtual platform of the seminar makes the seminar more accessible to participants, particularly for those in states that are in greatest need.” Further, Jeannette remarks that virtual participation instead of air travel to attend in person, minimizes contributions to carbon emissions, thereby promoting our planet’s health, which greatly contributes to food security.

For more information on the seminar and the ILI course advisor, Ms. Jeannette Tramhel, please visit our website here.