Oxfam Novib in global governance

PhD researcher: Luli Pesqueira MSc

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In recent years, new political spaces for global governance have emerged engaging private actors in the regulation of public affairs and transforming the social structure into a complex multicentered, multilayered structure where public and private rule-systems coexist. This research studies particular forms of public-private arrangements known as multi-stakeholder initiatives or roundtables, which bring together actors from the market, government, and civil society to set standards for the sustainable production of agri-food products. This research project analyzes and compares existing roundtables in the aquaculture, cocoa, palm oil, and soy sectors to shed light on the roles played by NGOs within these arrangements and the approaches used to regulate the social conditions and impacts of production and trade at the global level. In particular, this research aims to find the extent to which rights-based approaches (RBA) to development can be articulated in multi-stakeholder rule-making arrangements, along with the usefulness of drawing on this approach and the implications that it poses for the design and implementation of such rules. The project is carried out in close collaboration with Oxfam Novib, the Dutch affiliate of Oxfam International, and uses an Action Research approach to create a grounded framework for action. The project captures the tacit knowledge and expertise of Oxfam Novib in order to combine scientific and practical knowledge to systematically advance our understanding of the potentials and pitfalls of public-private collaborative arrangements in the context of governance for sustainable development.