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Why a project on Farmers' Rights?

The focus on Farmers' Rights was chosen, because these rights are vital for the conservation and sustainable use of crop genetic resources – among the core objectives of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture – and for the realization of Millennium Development Goal 1 on the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger (see Why Farmers' Rights matter).

It was also chosen because there is little attention to this important and urgent topic world-wide, and because the conditions for the implementation of these rights are difficult, not least since they are not defined in the International Treaty and the responsibility for implementing them rests with the Governments (see Farmers' Rights in the International Treaty).

Finally, the topic has been beset with controversies and conflicts since the first time it came up (see History of Farmers' Rights), which has further reduced the chances of successful implementation. Thus, an important motivation has been to move the debate ahead from the earlier controversies, and – based on the consensus formulations in the Treaty – build bridges to a joint perception of needed action, in respect of the countries' freedom to choose measures according to their needs and priorities.

Due to the particular context of this topic, it has been particularly important to develop a solid empirical basis for the activities in the project, based on research. This has allowed us to identify available options and possible processes for implementing Farmers' Rights at the national as well as international levels. The hope is that the project can contribute to paving the way for the implementation of the International Treaty with regard to Farmers' Rights.
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 In this section:
  Why a project on Farmers' Rights?
  The first phase of the Farmers' Rights Project
  The second phase of the Farmers' Rights Project
  Products from the Farmers' Rights Project
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Photo: Fulvio Eccardi