Resources for:

Food & Sustainability

June 2016

Farmers' Rights Consultation - Summary Report

This outcome document summarizes a consultation QUNO hosted, in conjunction with the secretariat of the International Treaty (ITPGRFA), examining progress and challenges in domestic implementation of Article 9 - the section on Farmers' Rights. This summary report was submitted to the Global Consultation on Farmers' Rights being held in September in Bali, Indonesia.

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April 2016

Access to seeds: lessons from the access to medicines debate

The history and dynamics of the access to medicines debate provide a number of reflections for those concerned with protecting farmers’ access to seeds. Taking the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health as its point of departure, this paper explores implications for interested parties at the international and national levels, as well as for multilateral institutions themselves.

Three lessons stand out in particular.

  1. The process that led to the Declaration highlights the significance of global public opinion in shaping negotiations, as well as the value of combining this with pragmatic coalition-building amongst states, NGOs and the media.
  2. Domestically, national governments should make creative use of TRIPS flexibilities. This has been done to bring down the cost of medicines in numerous countries and should be emulated by governments wishing to protect farmers’ seed systems, which rely on experimentation, storage, exchange and re-use of seeds. ‘Access’ in this paper is taken to encompass these activities, rather than simply referring to the availability of new varieties developed by commercial breeders.
  3. There is an urgent need for sustained, productive collaboration between relevant multilateral institutions. Collaboration between the WHO, WTO and WIPO on access to medicines has facilitated a broader consideration of innovation. Similar engagement is necessary between the FAO, WTO, WIPO and others to clarify the complicated governance structure for plant genetic resources and ensure farmers’ continued access to seed.

Freely available for download below under Creative Commons license.

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December 2015

Policy Brief: The relationship between food security policy measures and WTO trade rules

This report first provides a historical overview of both the concept of food security and the incorporation of agriculture into international trade negotiations. It then turns to the relationship between food security policy options and the WTO’s trade rules, and highlights opportunities for governments to implement policies that support food security while meeting their international obligations. It concludes by laying out a range of policy measures to enhance food security, assessing the compatibility of each with WTO regulations. 

Prepared by David Elliott, based on a full-length report by Kim Burnett, available below. 

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December 2015

Geneva Reporter

In this issue:

  • ​Nelson Mandela Rules ​
  • Conflict Sensitivity in Business 
  • ​Highlights from QUNO New York 
  • ​Recent publications
  • QUNO Q&A with Rachel Evans 
  • News in Brief 
  • Project Brief: An interactive trade policy tool 

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December 2015

Project Brief: An Interactive Trade Policy Tool

QUNO has been developing an online tool to help explain the complex relationship between food security measures and the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) trade rules. Susan Bragdon, our Food & Sustainability Representative, talks through her vision of the tool and how she believes it could benefit small-scale farmers, trade negotiators and food security.

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December 2015

Policy Brief: Small-scale farmer innovation

This policy brief consolidates lessons learned from an in-depth literature review on small-scale farmer (SSF) innovation systems and a two-day expert consultation on the same topic that QUNO hosted in May 2015. 

The key message here is that small-scale farmer innovation systems are unique relative to more ‘formal’ agricultural innovation systems. For this reason, the types of policies that are put in place to encourage innovation in agriculture require a fundamental reconsideration.

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November 2015

Small-scale farmer innovation systems: a review of the literature

Small-scale farmer innovation systems have remained an abstract and elusive concept - this document seeks clarification by presenting a review of the academic literature on the subject.

In it, we call for further evidence-based research documenting small-scale farmers' contributions to food security, livelihood improvement and agroecosystem resilience. Through this, we hope small-scale farmers may become more visible in policymaking and more supported within national innovation strategies.

Read the full report below:

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November 2015

The relationship between key food security measures and trade rules

The rules governing international trade in agriculture are often vague and ambiguous, requiring significant legal and administrative capacity to uncover opportunities to support food security and rural livelihoods without breaking WTO rules. This report identifies some of the measures that may be used to help advance developing countries’ food security in ways that comply with international obligations to reduce trade-distorting domestic supports and market protections.

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October 2015

Small-scale Farmer Innovation Systems: Report on the First Expert Consultation 26-27 May 2015 Chateau de Bossey, Switzerland

In May 2015, QUNO convened a small expert consultation in Geneva to discuss the emerging concept of small-scale farmer innovation systems. The event brought together 19 participants from across 12 countries, providing a platform for discussing first-hand experiences of innovation at this level. The experience of one of the attendees - Joe Ouko, a farmer from Kenya, features in the 93rd edition of Quaker News ('Starting small', p.11): http://issuu.com/quakers-in-britain/docs/quaker_news_93_4f36b9a9828ae7/1 

Over the course of the two days, detailed information was shared, gaps highlighted, working relationships established and future directions explored. The report, which can be accessed by clicking the link below, represents a synthesis of what was discussed; something that will be valuable in informing QUNO’s work moving forward.

Read the report, as well as a literature review of small-scale farmer innovation systems, below:

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August 2015

Realizing the right to food in an era of climate change

Agriculture is a major contributor to anthropogenic climate change, and in turn climate change threatens the viability of food production around the world. The spread of capital- and technology-intensive 'industrial' agriculture in the modern era has been accompanied by an erosion of on-farm genetic diversity, a loss of local knowledge, and the abandonment of traditional farming practices. This undermines our capacity to adapt to already-changing climatic conditions.

This report highlights the role of small-scale farmers as innovators and custodians of food system diversity, a critical resource in ensuring the realization of the right to food in an era of climate change. Taking an innovation systems perspective, it proposes a new framework for the design of collaborative agricultural research projects and agendas, and notes the need for pro-active policy measures in creating an enabling environment for such partnerships.

The report is available for download free by clicking on the link below.

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March 2015

Oral Statement on the role of Small Scale Farmers and the Right to Food at the 28th session of the HRC

QUNO delivered an oral statement in the 28th session of the Human Rights Council at the Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing. Susan BragdonRepresentive for our Food & Sustainability programme delivered the statement in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Hilal Elver.

Text and video (beginning at 00:32:57) of the statement is available below.

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December 2014

Trade Liberalization and Food Security: Examining the Linkages

The paper is released as part of our project working towards a New Framework for Trade & Investment in Agriculture, in which we are exploring some of the questions at the heart of defining the purpose, structure and direction of governance of trade and investment in agriculture, in order to place livelihoods, dignity, sustainability, resilience and food security at the heart of the rules governing these areas.

The analysis presented in the paper highlights three points:

  • First, it shows that the dominant neoclassical economic arguments for agricultural trade have many caveats that need to be put out in the open and examined in light of food security concerns.
  • Second, it shows that current trade theory tends to utilize an outdated notion of food security, and could benefit from a more nuanced understanding of the concept.
  • Third, it shows that trade theory and policy tends to prioritize efficiency (in a narrow sense) over other social goals, including ensuring the right to food, the need to preserve livelihoods and to protect the environment.

Given the political importance of these social goals, the paper suggests that we are only likely to see advancement of the dialogue on trade policy and food security once these broader goals are put on equal footing with trade and efficiency concerns.

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December 2014

Informal Report and Understandings Emerging from the Second Expert Consultation on QUNO's New Framework for Trade and Investment in Agriculture (NFTIA), 22-23 May 2014

The current multilateral framework governing international agricultural trade was designed a quarter of a century ago, as part of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since 2007, however, the situation on world markets for agricultural goods has changed dramatically. The general consensus is that the new features of the global agricultural situation are not adequately reflected in the proposals for the reform of international rules relating to trade and investment in agriculture

QUNO therefore established this programme, working collaboratively towards a New Framework for Trade and Investment in Agriculture (NFTIA) so that trade policies and rules do not trump food security measures and trade is seen as a tool that can support food security in appropriate situations. Following a successful small expert consultation in January 2014, QUNO convened a second such consultation in Geneva on 22-23 May 2014 to advance the work on NFTIA. Present were representatives of State trade delegations, farmers organizations from different parts of the world, and trade and food security experts, academics and researchers.

The following informal report summarizes the discussion and understandings emerging from this consultation, which will inform our NFTIA work going forward.

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December 2014

Geneva Reporter, October - December 2014

In this issue:

  • What is an NDC? Elements for a New Climate Agreement 
  • Drones: Transparency and Protection 
  • I Belong: Eradicating Statelessness 
  • Biological Diversity, Food Security and Small-scale Farmers’ Innovation 
  • Highlights from QUNO New York
  • News in Brief

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October 2014

Geneva Reporter

In this issue:

  • A New Framework for Trade and Investment in Agriculture
  • Update from the UN Human Rights Council
  • QUNO and the UN Climate Summit
  • Highlights from QUNO New York
  • Peace and Disarmament
  • News in Brief
  • Briefing Paper: The Aarhus Convention

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August 2014

QUNO and Minute 36

Minute 36 (the Canterbury Commitment) challenges Quakers to seek a sustainable, equitable and peaceful life on Earth. Britain Yearly Meeting is responding to this challenge by focusing on how to become a low-carbon sustainable community. The Quaker United Nations Office responds to the same challenge at the international level in our work on climate change, natural resource management, food and sustainability, and human rights.

This briefing paper connects the work of QUNO to the concerns and the spirit of Minute 36, describing the linkages between local, national and international levels of engagement.

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March 2014

'Stateless State' and self-organization as a policy resource

Presentation shared during an off the record expert consultation convened by QUNO on a New Framework on Trade and Investment in Agriculture. Participants were invited to review of changes in food systems since the conclusion of the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture and other trade agreements, to better understand the current climate, need and potential for change so that trade and investment rules support all people's food security. 
 

 

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