Koen Dekeyser at the Right to Food seminar

GovInn’s researcher Koen Dekeyser participated in the Legal Resource Centre‘s Right to Food seminar in Johannesburg, 25-26 March 2019. In the seminar, pathways to implement South Africa’s constitutional Right to Food where discussed. In short, the right to food is a human right recognised under national and international law, which protects the right of human beings to access food and feed themselves. While Section 27(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa states that, ‘everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water’, implementation is lacking while malnourishment remains large.

Koen Dekeyser at the International Data Week Conference in Gaborone.

GovInn’s researcher Koen Dekeyser presented ‘Household survey on food systems change in Kenya and Mozambique’ at the International Data Week conference in Gaborone, 05-08 November 2018 ( This presentation was part of the panel on open Land Data Platforms: applications, progress and challenges. The conference was aimed at data management systems from all disciplines and its relevance to Africa’s development. In recent decades, the information revolution expanded the understanding of our world and beyond. This dynamic is accelerating with advancements in data collection, storage, and data analytics such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. To make this more inclusive, open data was in-depth discussed.


Koen Dekeyser presenting at the conference.

‘Food sovereignty: shifting debates on democratic food governance’, by Koen Dekeyser and Lorenzo Fioramonti, 26.01.2018

GovInn’s fellow Koen Dekeyser and Director Lorenzo Fioramonti published, together with Lise Korsten, the article ‘Food sovereignty: shifting debates on democratic food governance‘ in the journal Food Security.

This article develops the concept of food sovereignty while it critically reflects on its present status and future trajectories. The concept of food sovereignty provides an alternative framework for solutions to the human and ecological consequences of industrial food systems. While the concept of food sovereignty gains traction at international levels, including at the United Nations, its lack of conceptual clarity contributes to a variety of often diverging interpretations. This frequently constrains practical implementation and weakens its potential as an alternative paradigm to food governance. At the same time, food sovereignty thought is shifting beyond its initial agrarian focus to embrace whole food systems, which includes the role of consumers and urban areas.

Read the full article here:

AFGROLAND workshop at GovInn on large agricultural investment and agro-food-energy changes, 15-18.01.2018

GovInn hosts a workshop consolidating the results of the AFGROLAND project on the 15th-18th January. The AFGROLAND project is funded by the BELMONT forum, the South African NRF, the French ANR and the Swiss FNSFN and looks at ‘African Food, Agriculture, Land and Natural Resource Dynamics, in the context of global agro-food-energy system changes’. Extensive field research on large agricultural investments was conducted in Mozambique, Kenya, and Madagascar.

More information about AFGROLAND can be found here:

‘St Gallen leader of tomorrow’, Koen Dekeyser, 04.05.2017

GovInn’s Research Fellow Koen Dekeyser got included into the St Gallen Leaders of Tomorrow community at the yearly St Gallen Symposium, Switzerland. Koen was selected through the Wings of Excellence Award, one of the most prestigious student essay competitions in the world, by his essay ‘Cultivating disruption: Redefining our food system through food sovereignty’. Other participants included Timothy Garton Ash, J. Erik Fyrwald, Griffiths of Fforestfach, and Alec Ross.

Koen joined the Leader of Tomorrow community in 2016 as well.


Growth – the good, the bad and the ugly, St Gallen Symposium, 11-13 May 2016

Symposium logo

Between 11 – 13th of May, junior researcher Koen Dekeyser was invited to debate the alternatives to economic growth at the 46th St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland. The St Gallen Symposium is a yearly meeting of young academics, entrepreneurs, market and political leaders. Around 100 young academics were selected on about 900 essays, in which Koen got invited with his writing titled ‘Cooperation outcompetes competition’. During the three days, the current social and ecological impacts of growth, both the good and the bad, were debated together with the future direction of economic growth/degrowth. Speakers included Dambisa Moyo and Tim Jackson, amongst others.

International seminar on Local Urban Food Policies in the Global Food Sovereignty Debate

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On 11-12 June 2015, junior researcher Koen Dekeyser participated in an international seminar on Local Urban Food Policies in the Global Food Sovereignty debate, organised by the City of Gent in Belgium. The City of Ghent partnered with 12 European cities in the Food Smart Cities for Development project, financed by the European Union. The project aims at fostering the role of cities in changing urban food production and consumption patterns by promoting inclusive, resilient and fair local food systems.

The seminar brought together contributions and insights on local food systems from Belgium, Kenia, Italy, Sri Lanka, South-Africa, Central-America, UK, Colombia and Spain. The essays from the conference are bundled to give an overview of the participants’ various research trajectories in urban food policies and examples of already existing practices. Koen’s contribution was in the Governance of Local Urban Food Systems track titled ‘How can local food systems contribute to food sovereignty?’, written in collaboration with prof. Lise Korsten. Specifically the role of government in facilitating innovating local food participation was debated, together with discussions on local-global linkages and justice.




Koen Dekeyser

Koen Dekeyser joined GovInn as a Research Fellow in 2015. His work is focused on food governance and food systems.