Land Commercialization, Gendered Agrarian Transformation and the Right to Food (DEMETER)

Started in January 2015

A number of forces – including transnational land acquisitions, increased national investment in agriculture, migration patterns, environmental concerns and laws and policies at different levels – have come together in recent years to put commercial pressure on land in the South and encourage its commodification. This has accelerated processes of agrarian transition, affecting rural livelihoods and the right to food.

The outcomes of these processes differ for women and men. Evidence shows that food insecurity is gendered and that women and girls are more likely to suffer from undernourishment. There is further evidence that women do not gain as much as men from agricultural modernization or from large-scale industrial agriculture. Studies demonstrate, however, that household food security and child nutrition improve when women have greater control over income, land and decision-making.

The Project

DEMETER (Droits et Egalité pour une Meilleure Economie de la Terre) is a six-year project, launched in 2015 and funded by the Research for Development Programme (r4d) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. It examines the relationship between the right to food and gender equality in ensuring food security in the context of land commercialization in two case-study countries, Cambodia and Ghana.

Objectives

Its overall objective is to strengthen knowledge about the relationship between food security, the right to food and gender equality in order to empower women and men to claim their rights and encourage governments to facilitate their realization. The project also aims to strengthen awareness of the relevance of rights-based, gender-equitable approaches to food security among stakeholders at the local, national and international levels through training, policy dialogue and publications.

Coordinating the Human Rights Component

As a co-coordinator – along with the Centre on Gender and Global Change at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana and Center for Development Oriented Research in Agriculture and Livelihood Systems in Cambodia – the Geneva Academy is leading the human rights components of this research. This is in partnership with development economists, political scientists, agronomists and anthropologists in Cambodia, Ghana and Switzerland.

In September 2015, the Geneva Academy organized a workshop on right to food indicators, which brought together DEMETER researchers and researchers from the Towards Food Sustainability project, also co-coordinated by the Geneva Academy and funded by the Swiss r4d programme. The workshop examined ways of measuring the realization of the right to food in the four countries studied by the projects (Bolivia, Cambodia, Ghana, and Kenya). It was significant not only for its substantive findings, but also for the fact that it was the first time in the history of the food security r4d funding scheme that two projects have held a joint event. Collaboration and exchanges will continue throughout the lifetime of both projects.

Expected Outputs

Outputs of the project include: policy and legal briefings, training for community members and policy-makers, academic publications and presentations at conferences and other national and international events related to gender equality and food security.

TEAM

Picture of Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Research Fellow

Joanna Bourke Martignoni's research areas include the right to food, land commercialization, climate change, the right to education and gender equality.

Picture of Christophe Golay

Christophe Golay

Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Christophe Golay's expertise notably relates to economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) and the rights of peasants.

Publications

Cover of the Research Brief: The Right to Land and Other Natural Resources

Research Brief: The Right to Land and Other Natural Resources

May 2017

Christophe Golay and Adriana Bessa

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the Resarch Brief: Gender Equality and the Right to Food

Research Brief: Gender Equality and the Right to Food

January 2017

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the book Large-Scale Land Acquisitions. Focus on South-East Asia

Large-Scale Land Acquisitions - Focus on South-East Asia

October 2015

Christophe Golay, Christophe Gironde, Peter Messerli

Brill Nijhoff, 300p

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