Key Academic Support to the Negotiation of the UN Declaration
This research project has been providing academic support to the negotiation of the UN Declaration since 2008 via expert advice and participation in the negotiation, expert seminars and publications clarifying key rights and issues.
From 2008 to 2012, the Geneva Academy supported the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council Advisory Committee which led to the negotiation of the UN Declaration, via legal advice given on the right to food and the rights of peasants.
From 2013 to 2018, the Geneva Academy provided direct support to the negotiation of the UN Declaration via participation of our researchers in the negotiation as experts, legal advice to states and other stakeholders involved in the negotiation, expert seminars, and a series of publications that identified agreed language from other international instruments and clarified key rights and issues.
Clarifying the Scope and Content of the Rights to Food Sovereignty and to Free, Prior and Informed Consent
The right to food sovereignty is an overarching right, indispensable for the exercise of other rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, including their rights to land and other natural resources, a safe, clean and healthy environment, seeds, biological diversity and traditional knowledge. Similarly, the right to free, prior and informed consent is a key procedural component of all of these rights.
The Research Brief The Right to Food Sovereignty and to Free, Prior and Informed Consent presented the protection of the right to food sovereignty and the right to free, prior and informed consent at international, regional and national levels and defined the main elements of these rights that could be included in the UN Declaration.
This publication was presented in April 2018 at the fifth session of the intergovernmental working group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.
Clarifying the Scope and Content of the Right to Land and Other Natural Resources
Peasants and other people working in rural areas have always used and managed land and other natural resources (water bodies, marine ecosystems, fisheries, pastures and forests) to ensure the sustainability of their livelihood and food systems, to have a place to live in security, peace and dignity, and to develop their customs, traditions and cultural identities.
The Research Brief The Right to Land and Other Natural Resources described the core elements of the right to land and other natural resources, addressed its individual and collective dimensions and discussed its integration in the UN Declaration
It was presented in May 2017 at the fourth session of the intergovernmental working group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.
Clarifying the Scope and Content of the Right to Seeds and Linkages with Intellectual Property Rights
For over 10,000 years, peasants have saved, selected, exchanged and sold seeds, as well as used and reused them to produce food. While these customary rights have been recognized in international law since 2001, peasants are faced with significant challenges. The promotion of commercial seed systems and the adoption of national laws for the implementation of international trade agreements often prioritize the protection of private intellectual property rights over seeds at the expense of peasant communities.
The Research Brief The Right to Seeds and Intellectual Property Rights and the Legal Analysis on the same issue defined the core element of peasants’ right to seeds, which include peasants’ rights to save, exchange, donate, sell, use and reuse farm-saved seeds, and to maintain, control, protect and develop these seeds. The publications also discussed the recognition of the right to seeds and intellectual property rights in international law, related states’ obligations and implementation at the national level.
They were presented in May 2017 and May 2016, respectively, during the third and fourth sessions of the intergovernmental working group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.
Identification of Agreed Language on the Rights of Peasants from Other International Instruments
Agreed language on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas can be found in international human rights law (treaties, declarations, and other soft-law instruments) and other international instruments, including those developed by states at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the ILO.
Our In-Brief No. 5, Negotiation of a United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (also in Spanish) showed agreed language related to the definition of peasants and other people working in rural areas; state obligations; gender equality and the rights of rural women; civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; the right to a clean and healthy environment; the rights of rural workers; the rights to land, fisheries and forests; the rights to seeds and biological diversity; and the rights to other means of production.
This publication was presented during the second session of the negotiation that took place in February 2015.