Agricultural Commercialization, the Right to Food and Gender Equality Discussed in Addis Ababa

Participants in the DEMETER research project workshop in Ethiopia Participants in the DEMETER research project workshop in Ethiopia

18 June 2018

Our two research fellows, Dr Joanna Bourke Martignoni and Dr Christophe Golay, spent a week in Ethiopia to discuss the mid-term findings of the six year research project on the relationship between agricultural and land commercialization, the right to food and gender equality (DEMETER).

‘As we have researchers working on this project in Cambodia, Ghana and Geneva, it was important for all of us to meet as a team and discuss research findings so far, as well as the way forward in the three remaining years of the project’ underlines Christophe Golay.

‘This was also the occasion to share and discuss our results with policy-makers, academics and civil society in Africa, in particular those concerned with land, agriculture, food security and gender equality’ adds Joanna Bourke Martignoni.

Towards Publication of Research Findings

This intense week allowed the research team to make progress on different publications that will be developed over the next six months. An edited volume containing interdisciplinary studies on the findings from Cambodia and Ghana in connection with gendered changes in livelihoods, the role of policies and politics and issues related to laws, human rights and conflict resolution is being produced. In addition, the team is contributing four papers for a thematic forum to be submitted to the Journal of Peasant Studies.

Our research fellows are involved as editors in these publications and will contribute as co-authors to the papers on gender equality, decentralization and the right to food in Cambodia, gender and access to justice in land claims in Cambodia, and to a comparative study that examines the translation of international human rights norms on gender equality and the right to food into national laws and policies in Ghana and Cambodia.

In this context, Joanna Bourke Martignoni and Christophe Golay presented research on gender equality norms in international law and their relationship with the right to food in settings of land and agricultural commercialization.

Wider Dissemination

A public event held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa created a space for dialogue and debate on issues of gendered inequalities in access to food as a result of processes of land and agricultural commercialization. Scholars and civil society from Ethiopia, the African Union, and other international and national stakeholders attended the event. Some of the research findings on gender equality, agricultural and land commercialization and the right to food in Ghana and Cambodia were presented along with an additional case study from Lesotho.

‘It is important for us to share and discuss our research findings with other academics and institutions working on the same issues’ underlines Christophe Golay. ‘Participants insisted upon the need for high quality research to back up policy interventions’ stresses Joanna Bourke Martignoni. ‘This is precisely what we strive to achieve with this research project’ she adds.

About the DEMETER Research Project

This research project examines the relationship between the right to food and gender equality in ensuring food security in the context of land commercialization in two case-study countries, Cambodia and Ghana.

The Geneva Academy coordinates the human rights component of this research funded by the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme), a joint initiative of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.


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