Dr Golay Addresses the European Parliament on Peasants’ Right to Seeds

8 December 2023

At a conference at the European Parliament – organized by SEED Luxemburg, the Greens/EFA and the Seeds4All project in the context of the reform of the European legislative framework on seed marketing – our Senior Research Fellow Dr Christophe Golay discussed the compatibility of the draft law proposed by the European Commission with the international legal framework protecting the right to food and the rights of peasants.

In his intervention, Dr Golay highlighted that while the proposal presents possibilities for diversifying the seed market, its current form falls short of acknowledging, safeguarding and fulfilling the right to seeds as protected in article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP).

This intervention builds on a commentary, produced by the Geneva Academy that analyses the extent to which the obligations of the EU and its Member States under UNDROP’s article 19 are included in the European Commission's proposal to reform seed marketing laws.

‘Unless amended, this new European regulation on seeds will not be in line with EU member states’ human rights obligations that take precedence over other international law obligations in the fields of trade, investment, agriculture or intellectual property’ explains Dr Golay.

‘There is still time to address these shortcomings and we will continue to push for amendments and accompany this process with dedicated research to avoid this backlash’ he adds.

Part of our Research on the Rights of Peasants and the Right to Seeds in Europe

Dr Golay’s participation in this conference builds on prior research and interventions on this legislative process, as well as on our research on the rights of peasants.

‘While the adoption of UNDROP represented a milestone to protect the rights of peasants, we now work to ensure that legislations at regional and national levels are in line with it’ underlines Dr Golay.

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