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International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Farmers’ Rights Experts Meet in Rome

18/09/2018

A historic meeting on Farmers’ Rights took place at the FAO headquarters in Rome this week, under the auspices of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

“The concept of Farmers’ Rights is based on the recognition that farmers, since the advent of agriculture, have been the custodians and innovators of crop genetic resources, which formed the basis of the modern plant breeding, which underpins our ability to produce food,” said International Treaty Secretary, Kent Nnadozie. “The FAO International Treaty is the only legally binding international instrument that formally recognizes the ‘enormous contribution’ of indigenous communities and smallholder farmers to the development and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. We are delighted to host this historic meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers’ Rights, and are looking forward to hearing their advice on how best to protect and promote Farmers’ Rights around the world.” 

This is the first time experts have gathered for a meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers’ Rights to discuss views, experiences, best practices and lessons learned on Farmers’ Rights around the world.

 
The Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers’ Rights was established by the Governing Body of the International Treaty in November 2017 at its Seventh Session. The Governing Body requested the Group to (a) produce an inventory of national measures that may be adopted, best practices and lessons learned from the realization of Farmers’ Rights; and (b) based on this inventory, to develop options for encouraging, guiding and promoting the realization of Farmers’ Rights in accordance with Article 9 of the International Treaty.

 

The week-long meeting resulted in lively discussions and the formulation of a common template to be used to create an “inventory” of national measures, best practices and lessons learned in the implementation of Farmers’ Rights. The template will be made available on the International Treaty website so that any Contracting Party and stakeholder who wishes to fill in this form may do so. The results of this will be discussed by the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group at their next meeting, expected to take place early in the second quarter of 2019.

The Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers’ Rights comprises regional representatives, farmers’ organizations, and other stakeholders, including civil society organizations, seed industry representatives, CGIAR Centers and other international organizations. The meeting was co-chaired by Svanhild Isabelle Batta Torheim of Norway and R.C. Agrawal of India.

Article 9 of the International Treaty calls for all member countries (“Contracting Parties”) to recognize and protect farmers’ traditional knowledge, equitable rights and participation in national decision-making regarding the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

The Report of the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers’ Rights will be available on the FAO International Treaty website.

First meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers' Rights

First meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers' Rights

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