The Right to Seeds in Europe

Started in January 2018

For over 10,000 years, peasants have always saved, selected, exchanged and sold seeds, and used and reused them to produce food. This is essential to peasants' right to food, as well as to global food security and biodiversity.

But the protection of intellectual property rights over seeds at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), and the promotion of commercial seed systems have posed serious challenges to the protection of these customary practices, and to the maintenance of peasant seed systems and agro-biodiversity. In Europe, the creation of seed catalogues exclude peasants’ seeds, which in many cases cannot be offered for sale, and peasant seed systems are not well protected.

To respond to these challenges, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council notably adopted a UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UN Declaration), in which the right to seeds is recognized.

Objectives

This project aims at raising awareness among European seed networks and peasant organizations on the importance of the UN Declaration. It will notably identify, via the publication of a guide and expert workshops, the main opportunities and obstacles to protect the right to seeds in Europe. It will also discuss how to promote changes in European laws, policies and trade agreements to ensure that they do not infringe, but facilitate the realization of peasants’ right to seeds.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Dr Golay at the European Parliament News

Dr Golay Addresses the European Parliament on Peasants’ Right to Seeds

8 December 2023

At a conference at the European Parliament, our Senior Research Fellow Dr Christophe Golay discussed the compatibility of the draft law proposed by the European Commission with the international legal framework protecting the right to food and the rights of peasants.

Read more >

Building of the European Commission in Brussels News

Inputting the EU Revision on Seed Marketing

31 March 2022

As the EU is revising its legislation on seed marketing, the Geneva Academy is inputting this process to ensure that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and its article 19 on the right to seeds are taken into account.

Read more >

Corn Harvest News

Peasants' Right to Seeds and the Revision of EU Rules on Seed Marketing

30 November 2021

Our new Research Brief The Right to Seeds in Europe (also available in French and Spanish) focuses on the steps that the EU and the EU Member States shall take – via the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP) – to better protect the right to seeds.

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RESEARCHERS

Picture of Christophe Golay

Christophe Golay

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Christophe Golay's expertise relates to economic, social and cultural rights, the right to food and the rights of peasants.

Portrait of Fuyla Batur

Fulya Batur

Associate Research Fellow

Dr Fulya Batur conducts research on the rights of peasants, more particularly on the rights to seeds.

Karine Peschard

Associate Research Fellow

Her expertise and publications relate to intellectual property regimes in agriculture, agrobiodiversity, legal activism and the rights of peasants, in particular the right to seeds.

Publications

Cover of the publication

Implementação do Tratado Internacional sobre Recursos Fitogenéticos para a Alimentação e a Agricultura (TIRFAA) à luz da Declaração das Nações Unidas sobre os Direitos dos Camponeses e Outras Pessoas que Trabalham em Áreas Rurais (UNDROP)

September 2022

Christophe Golay, Karine Peschard, Olivier De Schutter, Hilal Elver, José Esquinas, Michael Fakhri

APREBES and Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover page of the Briefing

Implementing the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in light of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP)

September 2022

Karine Peschard, Christophe Golay, Olivier De Schutter, Hilal Elver, José Esquinas, Michael Fakhri

APBREBES and Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover page of the Briefing

Aplicación del Tratado Internacional sobre Recursos Fitogenéticos para la Alimentación y la Agricultura (TIRFAA) a la luz de la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los derechos de los campesinos y de otras personas que trabajan en las zonas rurales

September 2022

Christophe Golay, Karine Peschard, Olivier De Schutter, Hilal Elver, José Esquinas, Michael Fakhri

APREBES and Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the publication

La mise en œuvre du Traité international sur les ressources phytogénétiques pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture à la lumière de la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des paysans et des autres personnes travaillant dans les zones rurales

September 2022

Christophe Golay, Karine Peschard, Olivier De Schutter, Hilal Elver, José Esquinas, Michael Fakhri

APREBES and Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Download >

cover of the publication

Le droit aux semences en europe

October 2021

Christophe Golay et Fulya Batur

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the publication

The Right to Seeds in Europe

October 2021

Fulya Batur, Christophe Golay

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the publication

El Derecho A Las Semillas En Europa

October 2021

Christophe Golay and Fulya Batur

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover page of the Briefing

Briefing No°19: Practical Manual on the Right to Seeds in Europe

February 2021

Fulya Batur, Christophe Golay

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law andf Human Rights

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Cover page of the briefing

Briefing No°15: The Right to Seeds in Europe

April 2019

Christophe Golay

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Past Events

UNDROP and the EU Seed Marketing Reform: Perspectives from Croatia

12 June 2023, 16:00-17:30

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UNDROP AND THE EU SEED MARKETING REFORM: PERSPECTIVES FROM BELGIUM

3 April 2023, 15:30-17:00

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UNDROP AND THE EU SEED MARKETING REFORM: PERSPECTIVES FROM GERMANY

23 March 2023, 15:30-17:00

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UNDROP in the Future EU Seed Marketing Reform: The Perspective of Denmark

29 November 2022, 15:30-17:00

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Which Seeds for Organic, Agroecology, Low-Input and Peasant Seed Systems?

22 June 2022, 13:30-17:45

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UNDROP in the Future EU Seed Marketing Reform: The Perspective of Italy

6 June 2022, 14:00-15:30

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UNDROP in the Future EU Seed Marketing Reform

3 December 2021, 10:00-12:00

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The Right to Seeds and Intellectual Property Rights

6 July 2021, 14:00-16:00

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Opportunities and Obstacles to the Implementation of the Right to Seeds in Romania

2 February 2021, 13:30-15:30

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The Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants in France: Focus on the Right to Seeds

2 December 2020, 17:30-19:30

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Peasants’ Rights in Austria

11 November 2020, 15:00-17:30

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Dr Golay at the European Parliament News

Dr Golay Addresses the European Parliament on Peasants’ Right to Seeds

8 December 2023

At a conference at the European Parliament, our Senior Research Fellow Dr Christophe Golay discussed the compatibility of the draft law proposed by the European Commission with the international legal framework protecting the right to food and the rights of peasants.

Read more

Voting at the UN Human Rights Council on the new mechanisms on the rights of peasants News

A NEW MONITORING MECHANISM FOR UPHOLDING PEASANTS’ RIGHTS

17 October 2023

In its last session, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC). created an international monitoring mechanism on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

Read more

Wheat field Project

The Right to Seeds in Europe

Started in January 2018

The project will notably identify the main opportunities and obstacles to protect the right to seeds in Europe. It will also discuss how to promote changes in European laws, policies and trade agreements to ensure that they do not infringe, but facilitate the realization of peasants’ right to seeds.

Read more

Plastic pollution on an Italian shore Project

Unpacking the Human Right to a Healthy Environment: Definition, Implementation and Impact

Started in January 2022

This research aims at mainstreaming the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and the protection it affords in the work of the UN Human Rights Council, its Special Procedures and Universal Periodic Review, as well as in the work of the UN General Assembly and UN treaty bodies.

Read more

Cover page of the research brief Publication

Le Droit aux Semences en Afrique

published on June 2023

Christophe Golay, Karine Peschard

Read more