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TWN Info Service on Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge (Jan14/01)
20 January 2014
Third World Network

A resolution in support of Farmers' Rights

The Fifth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) was held on 24-29 September 2013 in Muscat, Oman.

A Resolution on Farmers' Rights was adopted, which renewed the commitment of governments to implement Farmers’ Rights, including through national action plans. Among other things, the Resolution also invites UPOV and WIPO to identify the interrelations (and presumably impacts) of their respective treaties on Farmers’ Rights, and requests the Secretary to report on relevant discussions that relate to Farmers’ Rights within FAO fora including the Committee on World Food Security .

We reproduce below the text of the Resolution (Item 1) and a press release from La Via Campesina (Item 2).

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Item 1

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
Fifth Session of the Governing Body
Muscat, Oman, 24-28 September 2013


RESOLUTION 8/2013
IMPLEMENTATION OF ARTICLE 9, FARMERS' RIGHTS


THE GOVERNING BODY,

Recalling the recognition in the International Treaty of the enormous contribution that the local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world have made, and will continue to make, for the conservation, and development use of plant genetic resources as the basis of food and agriculture production throughout the world;

Welcoming the submissions of views and experiences from Contracting Parties and other stakeholders, as compiled in document IT/GB-5/13/Inf.8;

Recognizing also the submissions of views and experiences that have been compiled prior to previous sessions of the Governing Body;

Also recalling resolutions 2/2007, 6/2009 and 6/2011;

1. Requests the Secretary to review the knowledge, views, experiences and best practices that have been submitted since the entering into force of the International Treaty and to date, including those submitted by farmers’ organizations, in order to derive examples, in a systematic way, as options for national implementation of Article 9 on Farmers’ Rights, as appropriate and according to national legislation, to be presented at the next session of the Governing Body;

2. Requests the Secretary to report on relevant discussions that relate to Farmers’ Rights within FAO fora, including the Committee on Food Security;

3. Requests the Secretary to invite UPOV and WIPO to jointly identify possible areas of interrelations among their respective international instruments;

4. Invites each Contracting Party to engage farmers’ organizations and relevant stakeholders in matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and consider their contributions to awareness raising and capacity building towards this aim;

5. Invites each Contracting Party to consider developing national action plans for the implementation of Article 9, as appropriate, and subject to national legislation, in line with the implementation of Articles 5 and 6, in particular the measures in Articles 5.1 (c and d) and 6.2 (c, d, e, f, and g);

6. Invites each Contracting Party that have not already done so, to consider reviewing and, if necessary, adjusting its national measures affecting the realization of Farmers’ Rights, as set out in Article 9 in the International Treaty, to protect and promote Farmers’ Rights;

7. Invites Contracting Parties to promote access to genetic resources under the Multilateral System by local and indigenous communities and farmers;

8. Invites Contracting Parties and relevant organizations to take initiatives to convene regional workshops and other consultations including with farmers’ organizations, for the exchange of knowledge, views and experiences to promote the realization of Farmers’ Rights as set out in the Treaty, and present results at the next session of the Governing Body;

9. Requests the Secretary to facilitate support to such initiatives upon request;

10. Invites Contracting Parties and development cooperation organizations to consider providing financial and technical support for the implementation of Farmers’ Rights as set out in Article 9 of the Treaty in developing countries, and to enable farmers and representatives of farmers’ organizations to attend meetings under the International Treaty;

11. Appreciates the participation of farmers’ organizations in the work of the Governing Body, as appropriate, according to the Rules of Procedure of the Governing Body and invites them to continue to actively participate in the sessions of the Governing Body and relevant inter- sessional processes;

12. Requests the Secretary to facilitate support to Contracting Parties in building capacity for the implementation of Farmers’ Rights, as set out in the Treaty, upon their request and depending on available resources;

13. Welcomes the offer from a farmers’ organization at the Fifth Session of the Governing Body to provide a report on the implementation of Farmers’ Rights to the next session of the Governing Body;

14. Requests the Secretary to report to the Governing Body, at the Sixth Session, on the implementation of this Resolution.


Item 2

The International Seed Treaty: A resolution in support of Farmers' Rights

Published on Thursday, 03 October 2013 15:45

(Oman, September 30) La Via Campesina welcomes the adoption, on 28 September 2013, by the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, also known as the seed treaty, of a resolution calling on states to implement and support Farmers’ Rights, ie the rights of peasants and farmers over their own seeds.

The resolution was adopted through the concerted pressure of regional groups of countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa and the Middle East, along with many Asian and European countries, and in spite of opposition from a handful of industrialized nations.

In the resolution the Governing Body recalls the enormous contribution of farmers to the conservation and development of seeds, and welcomes the participation of farmers' organizations and civil society in its work. The Governing Body also notes that patents and plant variety protection (PVP) can "interact" with Farmers’Rights, implicitly acknowledging that they are currently opposed to them in many countries.

The resolution is in contrast with the growing violence of national laws and intellectual property rights which criminalize peasant seeds. In Colombia, for instance, prior to its recent freezing for two years, decree 970 led to the mass destruction of tonnes of “illegal” seeds. Similar bills are being prepared in East Africa, Chile and Europe.

The Treaty provides the industry with the legal framework to access free of charge the seeds selected by generations of peasants, but does not provide itself with the financial means to fulfil its other important tasks, notably in this crucial area of the rights of farmers and other people living in rural areas, whose application falls under the responsibility of states.

While public gene banks are being destroyed by wars or become concentrated due to lack of funding, intellectual property rights are being granted on traits and genes in stored seeds, which then become unavailable to small-scale farmers.

Family farmers and peasants, women and men across the world renew their fields with the huge biodiversity of their crops that they inherited from their parents and will pass on to their children. They are the guarantors of the right to food for our children. But they cannot accomplish this task if their right to save, use, exchange and sell their seeds, as well as their right to protect their knowledge and participate in decision-making are not respected and protected.

La Via Campesina will be vigilant that this new resolution on Farmers' Rights, men and women, will not follow the same pattern as previous ones, disappearing from sight soon after the meeting. With or without the Treaty,in line with or against national laws, La Via Campesina will continue to exercise, in a very concrete way, Farmers’ Rights over their seeds, because it is the very first step for food sovereignty.

For more information :

Eberto Diaz (spanish) :+ 57-31 03 01 75 34.

Guy Kastler (french): +33 6 03 94 57 21 and guy.kastler@wanadoo.fr

 


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