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FARMERS' RIGHTS IN ITPGRFA:

New resolution on Farmers' Rights under the Plant Treaty: Task 5

Task 5: Involvement of farmers' organizations

Through the Resolution, the Governing Body "appreciates the involvement of farmers' organizations in its further work, as appropriate, according to the Rules of Procedure established by the Governing Body."

This formulation is based on Resolution 2/2007, where the Governing Body likewise appreciated the involvement of farmers' organizations at the Second Session and affirmed its commitment to continue to involve farmers' organizations in its further work, as appropriate, according to the rules of procedure established by the Governing Body. The provisions on participation from the two Farmers' Rights resolutions are derived from Article 9.2.c of the Plant Treaty on farmers' right to participate in making decisions at the national level on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

Generally, and according the general rules of procedure, farmers' organizations can participate in Governing Body sessions in two ways: (1) as participants in their countries delegations; or (2) as observers:

1. As participants of country delegations, the organizations will through their representatives be in a position to seek influence on the positions taken and interventions made by their country delegation. Whether they will be allowed to speak to the Governing Body depends on their delegation leaders. Normally a delegation speaks with one voice and through the delegation leader, alternate delegation leader or other members of the delegation (on special issues). In theory, the delegation leader could allow a representative of a farmers' organization to speak - particularly if the statement is in line with the country position. So far, however, this has not happened.

2. Most farmers' organizations are therefore participating in Governing Body sessions as observers. This status allows them to speak to the Governing Body when the Chair opens the floor for Non-Governmental Organizations. However, there are many organizations, and not all will have the opportunity to speak at a Governing Body Session. Normally the Non-Governmental Organization agrees among themselves on who to speak, and they also often develop joint statements for presentation to the Governing Body. If, however, an NGO, or a network of NGOs, make a concrete resolution, it must be supported by at least one country delegation to be taken up for consideration at the Governing Body meeting. Thus, if an NGO, or a network of NGOs, plan to make such a proposal, it is wise to secure support from at least one country delegation in advance.

Also combinations of these two options are possible. For example, a country delegate may ask the Chair of the Governing Body to allow Farmers' Organizations (observers) to speak at particular issues of interest. This happened at the Third Session, where Norway suggested that two Farmers Organizations should be given the floor under the agenda item on Farmers' Rights. The basis for this demand was the provision from Resolution 2/2007, as quoted above. Also, farmers' organizations that are participating as observers may take up contact with the delegations from their countries to propose statements, resolutions or other suggestions or requests that may be made from these country delegations to the Governing Body.

Normally, the Secretariat is not in a financial position to support the participation of Farmers' Organizations. Thus, if they are dependent on financial support for participation, they will need to get this through their country delegations, non-governmental organizations or other donors.

For those farmers' organizations that are not able to attend Governing Body sessions, there is also the possibility of seeking influence on their country positions before their delegations leave for these sessions, or on the positions of the NGOs through networks of participating Non-Governmental Organizations.




Pages in this sub-section:
   FARMERS' RIGHTS IN ITPGRFA
   New resolution on Farmers' Rights under the Plant Treaty
   New resolution on Farmers' Rights under the Plant Treaty: Task 1
   New resolution on Farmers' Rights under the Plant Treaty: Task 2
   New resolution on Farmers' Rights under the Plant Treaty: Task 3
   New resolution on Farmers' Rights under the Plant Treaty: Task 4
   New resolution on Farmers' Rights under the Plant Treaty: Task 5
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 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

Page last updated 29 June 2009