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The history of Farmers' Rights in the FAO

To understand the provisions on Farmers' Rights in the International Treaty, it is useful to review the history of negotiations regarding these rights. Since Farmers' Rights were first taken up in international negotiations in 1986, important clarifications have been made.

How to reward farmers for their past, present and future contributions to conserving, improving and making available crop genetic resources for food and agriculture has been a central topic in the negotiations. An international fund for supporting and assisting farmers in this has long been on the agenda. Discussions have also focused on how Farmers' Rights can be balanced with breeders' rights, so as to ensure an equitable system that can facilitate continued access to – and free use of – crop genetic resources for farmers. The documents from these negotiations represent the fruits of a long and complex process, and provide an important context for work on the realization of Farmers' Rights.

Here you can read about the history up to the adoption of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in 2001 (the more recent history is covered under 'Farmers' Rights in the International Treaty'). This presentation is based on an FNI report on the history of Farmers' Rights by Regine Andersen.


Read more:
   The history of Farmers' Rights in overview
   First use of Farmers' Rights
   Origin of the concept in FAO
   FR in the Keystone Dialogues
   Conference Resolutions on FR
   CBD and Agenda 21 on FR
   Global Plan of Action
   Breakthrough of the negotiations


Relevant links and documents:
 FAO, 1983: International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources
 FAO, 1985: Report of the Conference of FAO, Twenty-second Session, Rome, 9-28 November 1985, C 1985/REP.
 FAO, 1989: Report of the Conference of FAO, Twenty-fifth Session, Rome, 11-29 November 1989, C 1989/REP.
 FAO, 1991: Report of the Conference of FAO, Twenty-sixth Session, Rome, 9-27 November 1991, C 1991/REP.
 UNEP, 1992: Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
 Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992
 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 3-14 June 1992: Agenda 21.
 FAO, 1993: Report of the Conference of FAO, Twenty-seventh Session, Rome, 6-24 November 1993, C 1993/REP.
 FAO, 1996: The Leipzig Declaration adopted by the International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources in Leipzig, Germany, 17-23 June 1996
 FAO, 1996: Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
 FAO Report, 1998: State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
 Svanhild-Isabelle Batta Bjørnstad (2004): Breakthrough for 'the South'? An Analysis of the Recognition of Farmers' Rights in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FNI Report 13/2004 (Lysaker, Norway: The Fridtjof Nansen Institute)
 Regine Andersen (2005): The History of Farmers' Rights. A Guide to Central Documents and Literature. The Farmers' Rights Project, FNI Report 8/2005 (Lysaker, Norway: Fridtjof Nansen Institute)
Top top
 In this section:
  ABOUT FARMERS' RIGHTS
  Farmers' Rights in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
  Why Farmers' Rights matter
  The contents of Farmers' Rights
  History of Farmers' Rights in the FAO
  Farmers' Rights in the literature
  Civil Society Organizations' approaches to Farmers' Rights

Photo: G. Ulutuncok