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Development Law

The Legal Office provides legal advisory services to governments on land, water, fisheries, plants, animals, food, forestry, wildlife and national parks and environment and biodiversity, as well as general agricultural issues (institutions, trade, economic reform). Current legal advisory projects include 70 countries from every region of the world.

Working with the technical services of FAO, it helps governments prepare laws, regulations, agreements and other legal texts, advises on institutional structures and compliance with international law. An element of most advisory projects is capacity building through participatory training of national officials and consultants.


General agricultural issues

An increasing number of requests for legal advice relate to questions that cut across the traditional subject matters in which the Development Law Service has worked. These have included such diverse issues as wholesale agricultural marketing (Georgia, Armenia and Croatia); rural radio (Burkina Faso); trade (Jamaica, Turkey); institutional structure of agriculture ministries (Mali), etc.

In these projects, the legal component often consists of carrying out a detailed study of the legal framework concerning a particular subject area, such as agricultural trade or policy. For example, the project in Slovakia has produced a lengthy study describing the Ministries and other organisations involved in the agricultural sector and compiling the laws relating to agricultural management, land restitution, privatisation, forestry, food industry management, seed certification, plant variety and animal breed protection, agricultural product marketing, and others.

On the basis of this information, the Development Law Service will recommend either amendments to legal instruments or the enactment of new legislation to assist Slovakia in revamping the agricultural sector during its transition from a centralised economy to a free market one. In a far-reaching project in Venezuela, eight consultants with expertise in various aspects of agricultural development provided input to the legal expert, who drafted a basic law on agricultural development and food security.

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