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In the European Union (EU) and the EU Member States, seed laws and regulations have been designed to cater to the needs of the agricultural industry, and the rights of peasants have been largely neglected.
As the EU is revising its legislation on seed marketing, the Geneva Academy is inputting this process. Our research team – Dr Christophe Golay and Dr Karine Peschard – provided a series of official submissions to the European Commission (EC) – in charge of organizing the public consultation around this revision – to ensure that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants (UNDROP) and its article 19 on the right to seeds are taken into account.
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‘Our objective is that this revision will lead to the recognition of peasants’ right to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds, and their right to maintain, control, protect and develop their seeds and traditional knowledge’ explains Dr Christophe Golay, Senior Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the Geneva Academy.
‘Ensuring that this new legislation on seed marketing is fully in line with UNDROP is key as it will be automatically transposed in the 27 EU member states' national seed marketing regimes. It is also key that the EU respects its international law’s obligations to ensure that human rights have precedence over other regimes like trade or intellectual property’ recalls Dr Karine Peschard, Associate Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.
Following this EC consultation process, the EC will formally propose a regulation (with direct effect) or a directive (to be transposed in the EU Member States) that will then be negotiated by the European Council and the European Parliament for adoption in 2023.
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In the coming months, the Geneva Academy will continue to accompany this process and push for the integration of the right to seeds in this revision process via targeted expertise, key events and the organization of exchanges between seeds networks and peasants’ organizations.
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These submissions form part of our research project on the protection of peasants’ right to seeds in Europe.
Besides influencing the revision of the EU rules on seeds, it also aims at deepening collaboration between leading European peasant organizations and seed networks, empowering them in their advocacy and lobbying on the right to seeds, and facilitating the implementation of the right to seeds in the EU Member States.
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