The concept of Farmers’ Rights recognized the role of farmers as custodians of biodiversity and helped to draw attention to the need to preserve practices that are essential for sustainable agriculture. This paper examines one particular aspect of such rights, perhaps the most controversial. It deals with the component of farmers’ rights referring to the use, exchange and sale of farm-saved seeds. Although that concept was initially introduced in 1989 with the aim of balancing the rights of farmers as breeders and of commercial plant breeders, a specific reference to the rights relating to seeds was only introduced upon the conclusion of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2001.
Food Security and Access and Benefit-Sharing for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
About the book: A study prepared for the UN FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) on whether, and how, national and regional laws, guidelines and other arrangements on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS) may impact upon agriculture and food security.
Authors: Gurdial Singh Nijar, Gan Pei Fern, Lee Yin Harn and Chan Hui Yun
Towards a More Coherent International Legal System on Farmers’ Rights: The Relationship of the FAO ITPGRFA, UPOV and WIPO
This Policy Brief outlines some key areas of interrelation among the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). (more…)
Subsidies and food security in WTO: a permanent solution is still pending
The current WTO rules applicable to public stockholding for food security purposes illustrate the imbalances present in the WTO rules on agriculture. The calculation of the level of subsidies on the basis of outdated fixed reference prices is a flaw that needs to be corrected. Moreover, the rigid limits imposed in the calculation of the AMS ironically penalize developing countries that did not subsidize agricultural production at the time the Uruguay Round was concluded, rather than those with a history of heavy subsidization. (more…)
Improving the Bali Peace Clause on Public Stockholding for Food Security
Since Bali and particularly in the last few months, there has been much attention on the Decision Ministers had taken at the WTO’s Bali Ministerial Conference (2013) on Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes.
At Bali, Ministers had agreed to a Peace Clause for existing Public Stockholding programmes provided by developing countries for food security purposes. I.e. if they have these programmes, countries should not be brought to the WTO’s dispute settlement if they are going beyond their domestic support commitments under the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture rules. (more…)
Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals: Perspectives of the South Centre
Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development
The United Nations’ Post-2015 Development Agenda should not simply extend MDGs, or reformulate the goals, but focus instead on global systemic reforms to remove main impediments to development and secure an accommodating international environment for sustainable development. (more…)
10 documents were distributed to WTO Members on 26 November 2013 at the last General Council meeting before the Bali Ministerial Conference (MC9). These documents are being transmitted to Bali. (more…)
WTO’s MC9: Analysis of the Food Security ‘Peace Clause’ Text
The Peace Clause is time-limited (4 years) and partial in coverage (no inclusion of the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures- ASCM). Countries can still be taken to dispute. It also has onerous and intrusive transparency and information requirements and conditions. (more…)
The WTO’s Bali Ministerial and Food Security for Developing Countries: Need for equity and justice in the rules on agricultural subsidies
Food security in developing countries is a major issue in the WTO’s negotiations towards the Bali Ministerial Conference in December. A report drawn from meetings of trade expert group meetings organised by the South Centre has pointed to the importance of public stockholding for food security in developing countries, and some of the imbalances in the present rules on agricultural subsidies in the WTO. (more…)
Risks and Uses of the Green Economy Concept in the Context of Sustainable Development, Poverty and Equity.
There are many challenges and obstacles facing developing countries in moving their economies to more environmentally friendly paths. On one hand this should not prevent the attempt to urgently incorporate environmental elements into economic development. (more…)
EU’s Increasing Use Of Decoupled Domestic Supports In Agriculture: Implications For Developing Countries.
The EU has been undertaking reform in its Common Agricultural Policy. Nevertheless, subsidies to EU agricultural producers are continuing. The major change is that 93% of these supports are now provided in the form of direct aid payments to producers. (more…)