The Right to Seeds in Europe

Started in January 2018

For over 10,000 years, peasants have always saved, selected, exchanged and sold seeds, and used and reused them to produce food. This is essential to peasants' right to food, as well as to global food security and biodiversity.

But the protection of intellectual property rights over seeds at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), and the promotion of commercial seed systems have posed serious challenges to the protection of these customary practices, and to the maintenance of peasant seed systems and agro-biodiversity. In Europe, the creation of seed catalogues exclude peasants’ seeds, which in many cases cannot be offered for sale, and peasant seed systems are not well protected.

To respond to these challenges, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council notably adopted a UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UN Declaration), in which the right to seeds is recognized.

Objectives

This project aims at raising awareness among European seed networks and peasant organizations on the importance of the UN Declaration. It will notably identify, via the publication of a guide and expert workshops, 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.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Building of the European Commission in Brussels News

Inputting the EU Revision on Seed Marketing

31 March 2022

As the EU is revising its legislation on seed marketing, the Geneva Academy is inputting this process to ensure that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and its article 19 on the right to seeds are taken into account.

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Corn Harvest News

Peasants' Right to Seeds and the Revision of EU Rules on Seed Marketing

30 November 2021

Our new Research Brief The Right to Seeds in Europe (also available in French and Spanish) focuses on the steps that the EU and the EU Member States shall take – via the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP) – to better protect the right to seeds.

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EU Commission Flags News

Practical Manual on the Right to Seeds in Europe

15 March 2021

This practical manual focuses on the steps that the European Union (EU) and the EU Member States shall take to better protect the right to seeds in Europe.

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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.

Portrait of Fuyla Batur

Fulya Batur

Associate Research Fellow

Dr Fulya Batur conducts research on the rights of peasants, more particularly on the rights to seeds.

Karine Peschard

Associate Research Fellow

Her expertise and publications relate to intellectual property regimes in agriculture, agrobiodiversity, legal activism and the rights of peasants, in particular the right to seeds.

Publications

cover of the publication

Le droit aux semences en europe

October 2021

Christophe Golay et Fulya Batur

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the publication

The Right to Seeds in Europe

October 2021

Fulya Batur, Christophe Golay

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the publication

El Derecho A Las Semillas En Europa

October 2021

Christophe Golay and Fulya Batur

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover page of the Briefing

Briefing No°19: Practical Manual on the Right to Seeds in Europe

February 2021

Fulya Batur, Christophe Golay

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law andf Human Rights

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Cover page of the briefing

Briefing No°15: The Right to Seeds in Europe

April 2019

Christophe Golay

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Past Events

Which Seeds for Organic, Agroecology, Low-Input and Peasant Seed Systems?

22 June 2022, 13:30-17:45

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UNDROP in the Future EU Seed Marketing Reform: The Perspective of Italy

6 June 2022, 14:00-15:30

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UNDROP in the Future EU Seed Marketing Reform

3 December 2021, 10:00-12:00

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The Right to Seeds and Intellectual Property Rights

6 July 2021, 14:00-16:00

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Opportunities and Obstacles to the Implementation of the Right to Seeds in Romania

2 February 2021, 13:30-15:30

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The Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants in France: Focus on the Right to Seeds

2 December 2020, 17:30-19:30

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Peasants’ Rights in Austria

11 November 2020, 15:00-17:30

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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

Portrait of Steven L. B. Jensen News

Our New Visiting Fellow: Steven L.B. Jensen

5 September 2022

A Senior Researcher at The Danish Institute for Human Rights and the author of the multiple prize-winning book The Making of International Human Rights, Steven L. B. Jensen just started as Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy.

Read more

Rwanda, on the outskirts of Kigali, Wa-Jali. Jeanne Françoise, a young girl reunited two years ago with her grandmother by the ICRC, stands in a banana orchard near her house. Project

Sustainable Development and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Started in January 2008

This project aims to raise awareness about the complementarity of human rights and development by analyzing the relationship between economic, social and cultural rights and global development goals, namely the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000 and the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015.

Read more

Senegal, Ziguinchor area, Bignona Department, Kataba 1 municipality, Kouram village. A woman works in a vegetable garden as part of an economic security programme. Project

Towards Food Sustainability: Reshaping the Coexistence of Different Food Systems in South America and Africa

Started in February 2015

This six-year project aims to provide evidence-based knowledge for the formulation and promotion of innovative strategies and policy options that improve food sustainability.

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

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Cover page of the Briefing Publication

Implementing the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in light of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP)

published on September 2022

Christophe Golay, Karine Peschard, Olivier De Schutter, Hilal Elver, José Esquinas, Michael Fakhri

Read more