Realising farmers' rights under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: Summary of findings from the Farmers' Rights Project, Phase 1
The Farmers’ Rights Project is an international project set up at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Norway with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German GTZ, with affiliated experts in Peru, India and Ethiopia. It aims to facilitate a common understanding on how Farmers' Rights can be realised under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and develop a basis for proposals to the Governing Body of the ITPGRFA on specific measures to be taken. This summary of the findings from Phase 1 of the project is designed as a guide to delegations and stakeholders concerned with Farmers' Rights. It presents the components of the Farmers' Rights Project and identifies two approaches to the understanding of Farmers' Rights in the current debate: the ownership approach and the stewardship approach. There is a latent conflict between these two, and the report argues that the stewardship approach must prevail if Farmers' Rights are to be realised within the framework of the ITPGRFA. A working definition is presented and reasons why these rights are so important are highlighted. Most importantly, the realisation of Farmers' Rights are a precondition for the maintenance of agrobiodiversity and a central means in the fight against poverty in the world. The report summarises the state of realisation of Farmers' Rights and shows that achievements are already being made with regard to all measures addressed in the ITPGRFA. It pinpoints the central barriers to further progress in this area and indicates what steps are required to overcome these barriers and to implement the ITPGRFA with regard to Farmers' Rights. Finally, the report recommends measures to be taken by the Governing Body of the ITPGRFA, and highlights issues of importance for further discussion.