A Summer Dedicated to the Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

Dr Christophe Golay during the training course in Cambodia Dr Christophe Golay during the training course in Cambodia

9 September 2019

Our Strategic Adviser on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Senior Research Fellow Dr Christophe Golay participated this summer in a series of conferences and training courses on the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP).

Dr Golay notably traveled to Paris, Rome, Bucharest, Budapest, Bangkok and Phnom Penh to discuss the role of states, UN agencies, civil society organizations and social movements in the implementation of the declaration.

Our Research Brief The Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas and its main recommendations informed the discussions.

Implementation of the UN Declaration in Europe

The need to implement the UNDROP in Europe was discussed in conferences and workshops in Paris and Bucharest. In Budapest, Dr Golay gave a training with La Via Campesina to 14 participants from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) regional office in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, on their role in supporting the implementation of the UNDROP.

‘In Europe, where states promoted industrial agriculture and commercial seed systems for decades, it is key to convince national authorities and regional institutions to better protect peasants’ right to seeds’, explains Dr Golay. ‘Our Briefing The Right to Seeds in Europe was very useful in these discussions’ he adds.

The Role of UN Special Procedures and UN agencies

At an expert seminar held in June at the Geneva Academy, several UN Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts, members of UN working groups and UN treaty bodies, civil society representatives and staff of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) discussed the role of UN human rights mechanisms in the implementation of the UNDROP.

‘Existing UN human rights mechanisms can play an important role in monitoring the implementation of the UNDROP. However, one of the main recommendations of our publication calls for the creation of a new monitoring mechanism, such as a new UN Special Procedure on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas’ stresses Dr Golay.

Dr Golay also traveled to Rome, where he participated in a conference co-organized with the Permanent Representation of Switzerland to the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Permanent Representation of Costa-Rica to the UN Agencies in Rome, and the Department of Political Sciences of University of Roma Tre. Participants discussed the role of FAO, IFAD and WFP in the implementation of the UNDROP, and the contributions of the UN Declaration to the implementation of the UN Decade of Family Farming.

Implementation of the UN Declaration in Asia

At the end of July, Dr Golay travelled to Bangkok for the annual meeting of the DEMETER research project. On 25 July, he gave a presentation on the importance of the UNDROP for Asian countries during an FAO policy dialogue with external stakeholders at FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

He then travelled to Phnom Penh where he participated in several meetings, conferences and workshops on the implementation of the UNDROP in Cambodia, and the roles of UN agencies, civil society organizations, social movements and academia.

‘It is particularly important to push for the implementation of the UNDROP in Asia, as the majority of peasants and other people working in rural areas, as well as the majority of those who are hungry in the world, live in this region’ explains Dr Golay.

Upcoming Conferences

Dr Golay will continue to promote the implementation of the UN Declaration and will notably attend a series of conferences throughout Europe on this issue, starting in Brussels on 30 September, followed by Luxembourg on 15 November, and Paris in December.

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