Major project on rapid urbanization and food security in Global South receives collaborative award from CIGI

News Release

December 5, 2012

In just under twenty years, the urban population of Africa is projected to increase by over 300 million and its rural population by 141 million. Will the world’s systems — from migration to food security governance — be prepared to adapt to and manage such a dramatic urban transition in the Global South?

Researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) and the University of Waterloo (UW) have been awarded major funding through The Centre for International Governance Innovation’s (CIGI) Strategic Research Initiative to explore these challenges. Five professors will conduct collaborative, policy-oriented research on rapid urbanization, urban food security and governance in the Global South.

As part of CIGI’s 2011-2012 Collaborative Research Awards, Laurier’s Andrea Brown, Alison Blay-Palmer and UW’s Jennifer Clapp and Bruce Frayne will contribute to the “Hungry Cities Initiative” project. Led by Jonathan Crush, CIGI Chair in Global Migration and Development at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, the multi-year project was the only selected for the largest category of CIGI’s Collaborative Research Awards, with funding of up to $450,000 available over three years. The awards, which are currently open for the 2012-2013 round, were first announced last year as an opportunity to support boundary-spanning research activities on international governance led by tenure-track faculty at either Laurier or UW.

Aligning with CIGI’s global development program stream, the Hungry Cities Initiative will focus on the global management of sustainable cities, in light of an anticipated, major increase in the urban population of developing countries. “Feeding these urban populations adequately and in ways that will protect and enhance ecosystems is at the heart of reducing levels of urban poverty, increasing social inclusion and ensuring healthy and innovative citizens,” says Jonathan Crush. By examining issues of food production, urban food security and migration, project members expect to formulate and promote a new agenda for the Global South’s governance of these issues.

For more information on the CIGI Collaborative Research Awards — current opportunities and 2011-2012 projects — please visit:

Hungry Cities Initiative Project Members:

  • Jonathan Crush, CIGI Chair in Global Migration and Development; and Professor at the Balsillie School and Laurier
  • Jennifer Clapp, Associate Dean of Research in UW’s Faculty of Environment; Chair in Global Environmental Governance; and Professor in the Department of Environment and Resource Studies
  • Bruce Frayne, Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Development Practice at UW
  • Andrea Brown, Associate Professor of Political Science at Laurier
  • Alison Blay-Palmer, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts at Laurier


Kevin Dias, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 7238, Email: [email protected]

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion, and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit


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