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Food Governance Conference

Exploring how law, policy, and regulation address food system challenges
Everybody eats; it is the key to our survival, but food also has the potential to compromise health.

The global food system is challenged by issues of drought, climate change, trade, malnutrition, and exploited workers. Population growth and the forces of marketization have further compromised the ability of the food system to deliver safe, nutritious and sustainable food to the world's population.

Food Governance Conference

Exploring how law, policy, and regulation address food system challenges

About the conference

In July, the Sydney Law School, the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre and The George Institute for Global Health hosted the second Food Governance Conference, featuring an opening public oration by Hilal Elver, UN Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

The event brought together lawyers, nutritionists, policy analysists, and health scientists to explore how law, policy, and regulation address food system challenges or contribute to them at local, national, regional, and global levels. This includes issues such as food security, food safety, food sustainability, equity and social justice in global food systems, and nutrition: under/malnutrition, obesity, and noncommunicable disease.

We aim to reduce the burden on health care systems globally, and also to contribute to planetary health by addressing all forms of malnutrition through sustainable food systems.
Dr Anne-Marie Thow, Senior Lecturer, Health Policy Menzies Centre for Health Policy, School of Public Health

With a focus on food-specific law and regulation, the conference also considered how broader legislative and policy regimes impede or facilitate access to a nutritious, equitable, and sustainable food supply, including economic, trade, and intellectual property regimes.

The 2019 event was the second Food Governance Conference, which launched in 2016. The program aims to take a broad, interdisciplinary approach, in the hope of highlighting the interrelationships between the main challenges facing the global food system in the 21st century, and to create new opportunities for collaboration between researchers, policymakers and practitioners in the related fields of food safety, security, and sustainability, and diet-related health.

Read the conference abstract booklet

Keynote speakers

Opening public oration

Hilal Elver has been the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Right to Food since June 2014. She is an international law professor and Global Distinguished Fellow at the UCLA Law School Resnick Food Law and Policy Center; as well as the Co-director of the Climate Change, Human Security and Democracy project at the Orfalea Center, UC Santa Barbara, where she was a Distinguished Visiting Professor between 2002-2012. She has a law degree and PhD from the University of Ankara, and SJD from the University of California School of Law at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Hilal started her teaching career at the University of Ankara Faculty of Law, and was then appointed by the United Nations Environment Program as the UNEP Chair on Environmental Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta. She also served the Turkish government as the founding legal advisor of the Ministry of Environment, and as General Director of the Women Status at office of the Prime Minister (1989- 1994). Until 2014 she was one of the members of the Turkish delegation at the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC).

Her first book on Peaceful Uses of International Rivers: The Euphrates and Tigris Basin published in 2002 by the Transnational Publisher. Her second book, Headscarf Controversy: Secularism and Freedom of Religion, was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. Her most recent book, co-edited with Paul Wapner, is Reimagining Climate Change published in 2016 by Routledge Press.

Keynote address

Amandine Garde is Professor of Law at the University of Liverpool in the UK. Her research interests lie in the fields of Trade, Consumer, Advertising, European Union and Public Health Law. She has developed an expertise in the legal aspects of obesity prevention and other non-communicable diseases (NCD) risk factors. She is also a qualified solicitor.

Her book EU Law and Obesity Prevention (Kluwer Law International, 2010) is the first to offer a critical analysis of the EU’s Obesity Prevention Strategy, and she is co-editor (with Alberto Alemanno) of Regulating Lifestyle Risks: the EU, Alcohol, Tobacco and Unhealthy Diets(Cambridge University Press, 2015) and (with Joshua Curtis and Olivier De Schutter) of Ending Childhood Obesity: A Challenge at the Crossroads of International Economic and Human Rights Law (Elgar, forthcoming, 2019). She is Senior Editor of the European Journal of Risk Regulation, and Editor of Elgar’s new series Health and the Law.

Amandine is the founder and director of the Law & NCD Research Unit at the University of Liverpool, which regularly advises international organisations, NGOs, public health agencies and governments worldwide. She was a member of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Science and Evidence to the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. She has written numerous policy reports and developed several training courses on law, NCDs, childhood obesity, healthy diets and food marketing. In particular, she is lead author of A Child-Rights Based Approach to Food Marketing (Unicef, 2018).

Keynote address

Dr Rivera is a Professor of Nutrition at the Mexican School of Public Health and the founding Director of the Center for Research in Nutrition and Health at INSP (2001-2016). He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society of Nutrition, the World Obesity/ Public Prevention Steering Committee and is the current President of the Latin American Society of Nutrition (SLAN). Dr. Rivera earned both his masters and doctorate degrees in International Nutrition from Cornell University.


He is the author of over 400 scientific publications (including 250 peer-reviewed articles) and his research interests include the epidemiology of malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity), the study of risk factors for malnutrition, with emphasis on infant feeding practices and dietary intake, and the generation of evidence to guide the design and evaluation of policies and programs for the prevention of malnutrition and NCDs. He has led the food and nutrition component of the Mexican National Nutrition Surveys and the evaluations of several food distribution programs in Mexico.

Dr Rivera was an Academic Member of the Mexican National Council for the Evaluation of Social Policy (CONEVAL) and led the National Academy of Medicine multidisciplinary group that developed recommendations on obesity prevention which informed the current Mexican obesity prevention strategy. He has been awarded the 2010 International Hippocrates Award of Medical Research on Human Nutrition, the 2010 Scopus Award in the Health Sciences category, the 2009 Kellogg Prize for International Nutrition Research, the XX National Research Award from the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation and the Mexican Health Foundation, and the 2003 Fred L. Soper Award, given by the Pan American Health Organization.

2016 Food Governance Conference

In 2016 we hosted the Food Governance Conference, which presented research from across Australia on the role of law, regulation and policy in creating a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food supply. The first of its kind in Australia, the conference attracted 180 attendees from government, civil society, the business sector, and academia, as well as keynote speakers from the UK, US, and Canada.

report from the 2016 conference is available, along with the conference programpresenters’ slides and abstracts.