Working Paper: Farmers’ Right to Participate in Decision-making
29 September 2016
The right of farmers to participate in making decisions, at the national level, on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) is recognized in Article 9.2(c) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. It is a prerequisite for the full and effective implementation of Farmers’ Rights.
A new working paper “Farmers’ Right to Participate in Decision-making – implementing Article 9.2 (c) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture” is published today by the Association for Plant Breeding for the Benefit of Society (APBREBES) and its member organisations: Public Eye, SEARICE, Third World Network and the Development Fund. It shows that the operationalization of Article 9.2(c) of the International Treaty at the national, regional and international levels is severely lacking. Farmers face considerable challenges in exercising their right to participate at all these levels, with the consequence that decisions including on policies and laws not only ignore farmers’ needs, but also adversely affect farmers’ freedom to operate. This is evidenced for example by the formulation of seed laws, in particular plant variety protection, seed certification and marketing laws that restrict and in some cases criminalize farmers’ right to freely use, save, exchange and sell farm saved seed/propagating material.
The publication presents detailed case studies from national and regional experiences of developing countries. Learning from the challenges, this paper discusses some of the key elements that are essential for the effective operationalization of farmers’ right to participate in decision-making. It contributes to filling a serious gap by presenting recommendations for Governments, at the FAO Treaty level, and for regional and international organisations and processes in order to operationalize Article 9.2(c), and by providing the necessary background information on norms, principles, good practices and mechanisms that exist within the UN system, especially within the human rights framework.
Authors: Chee Yoke Ling (Third World Network), Barbara Adams (Global Policy Forum), with contributions from Sangeeta Shashikant (Third World Network) and Laurent Gaberell (Public Eye)