Land Commercialization, Gendered Agrarian Transformation and the Right to Food (DEMETER)

Started in January 2015

A number of forces – including transnational land acquisitions, increased national investment in agriculture, migration patterns, environmental concerns and laws and policies at different levels – have come together in recent years to put commercial pressure on land in the South and encourage its commodification. This has accelerated processes of agrarian transition, affecting rural livelihoods and the right to food.

The outcomes of these processes differ for women and men. Evidence shows that food insecurity is gendered and that women and girls are more likely to suffer from undernourishment. There is further evidence that women do not gain as much as men from agricultural modernization or from large-scale industrial agriculture. Studies demonstrate, however, that household food security and child nutrition improve when women have greater control over income, land and decision-making.

The Project

DEMETER (Droits et Egalité pour une Meilleure Economie de la Terre) is a six-year project, launched in 2015 and funded by the Research for Development Programme (r4d) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. It 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.

Objectives

Its overall objective is to strengthen knowledge about the relationship between food security, the right to food and gender equality in order to empower women and men to claim their rights and encourage governments to facilitate their realization. The project also aims to strengthen awareness of the relevance of rights-based, gender-equitable approaches to food security among stakeholders at the local, national and international levels through training, policy dialogue and publications.

Coordinating the Human Rights Component

As a co-coordinator – along with the Centre on Gender and Global Change at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana and Center for Development Oriented Research in Agriculture and Livelihood Systems in Cambodia – the Geneva Academy is leading the human rights components of this research. This is in partnership with development economists, political scientists, agronomists and anthropologists in Cambodia, Ghana and Switzerland.

In September 2015, the Geneva Academy organized a workshop on right to food indicators, which brought together DEMETER researchers and researchers from the Towards Food Sustainability project, also co-coordinated by the Geneva Academy and funded by the Swiss r4d programme. The workshop examined ways of measuring the realization of the right to food in the four countries studied by the projects (Bolivia, Cambodia, Ghana, and Kenya). It was significant not only for its substantive findings, but also for the fact that it was the first time in the history of the food security r4d funding scheme that two projects have held a joint event. Collaboration and exchanges will continue throughout the lifetime of both projects.

Expected Outputs

Outputs of the project include: policy and legal briefings, training for community members and policy-makers, academic publications and presentations at conferences and other national and international events related to gender equality and food security.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Guinea - Rural Women's Cooperative News

Towards a Feminist Methodology for Implementing the Right to Food in Agrarian Communities

10 September 2021

In an article published in The Journal of Peasant Studies, our Senior Research Fellow Dr Joanna Bourke Martignoni discusses – on the basis of research carried out at the Geneva Academy – the extent to which a feminist approach makes a difference to the realization of the rights to food, land, decent work, and social security.

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Woman in a market in Africa News

New Publication Details the Impact of Agricultural and Land Commercialization on Gender Equality and the Right to Food

3 November 2020

A new Research Brief summarizes a number of findings from a research partnership of practitioners and scholars from Cambodia, Ghana, and Switzerland.

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Portrait of Joanna Bourke Martignoni News

Meet our Researchers: Joanna Bourke Martignoni

27 February 2020

Dr Joanna Bourke Martignoni is one of our Senior Research Fellows. She is involved in several research projects dealing with gender, the right to food and land commercialization, as well as with gender equality in the context of business activities, and on economic, social and cultural rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.

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RESEARCHERS

Picture of Christophe Golay

Christophe Golay

Senior Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Dr Christophe Golay's expertise relates to economic, social and cultural rights, the right to food and the rights of peasants.

Publications

Cover page of the book

Agricultural Commercialization, Gender Equality and the Right to Food

September 2022

Christophe Golay, Joanna Bourke Martignoni, Christophe Gironde, Elisabeth Prügl, Dzodzi Tsikata

Taylor & Francis

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Cover page of the policy brief

Women Are Peasants Too: Gender Equality and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

December 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Coventry University Policy Brief

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Cover page of the policy brief

Les femmes aussi sont des paysannes: l’égalité des sexes et la déclaration des nations unies sur les droits des paysans

December 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Coventry University Policy Brief

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Cover page of the policy brief

المتعلّق بحقوق الفلّحين الجندرية وإعلان الأمم المتحّدة النساء فلّحاتٌ أيضًا: المساواة

December 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Coventry University Policy Brief

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Cover page of the policy brief

Las mujeres también son campesinas: La igualdad de género y la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Campesinos

December 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Coventry University Policy Brief

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Cover page of the journal

A Feminist Methodology for Implementing the Right to Food in Agrarian Communities: Reflections from Cambodia and Ghana

August 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

The Journal of Peasant Studies

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Cover page of the Research Brief

Agricultural and Land Commercialization: Do they Foster Gender Equality and the Right to Food?

November 2020

DEMETER

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Cover page of the Transnational Legal Theory Journal

Engendering the Right to Food? International Human Rights Law, Food Security and the Rural Woman

January 2019

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Transnational Legal Theory Journal

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Cover of the Resarch Brief: Gender Equality and the Right to Food

Gender Equality and the Right to Food

January 2017

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

News

Our New Visiting Fellow: Dominique Giselle Luchsinger Faret

2 May 2022

Dominique Luchsinger Faret, a lawyer in Chile and doctoral student at the University of Valencia just started as Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until July 2022.

Read more

Coffee plants News

Inputting Negotiations on Farmer’s Rights at the ITPGRFA Governing Body

22 September 2022

In parallel to the 9th session of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Governing Body, the Geneva Academy is contributing to the upcoming negotiations on farmers’ rights with a timely briefing paper.

Read more

NYU Stern BHR Knitwear Factory in Mymensingh Project

Business and Human Rights: Towards a Decade of Global Implementation

Started in July 2020

This project aims at supporting the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights' project for the 10th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Read more

Wheat field Project

The Right to Seeds in Europe

Started in January 2018

The project will notably identify the main opportunities and obstacles to protect the right to seeds in Europe. It will also discuss how to promote changes in European laws, policies and trade agreements to ensure that they do not infringe, but facilitate the realization of peasants’ right to seeds.

Read more

Cover page of the book Publication

Agricultural Commercialization, Gender Equality and the Right to Food

published on September 2022

Christophe Golay, Joanna Bourke Martignoni, Christophe Gironde, Elisabeth Prügl, Dzodzi Tsikata

Read more

Cover page of the policy brief Publication

Women Are Peasants Too: Gender Equality and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

published on December 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Read more