Adriana Bessa

Adriana Bessa

Senior Research Fellow

Areas of expertise

International Human Rights Law  /  Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  /  Right to Food  /  Food Sustainability  /  Traditional Local Communities  /  Human Rights and the Environment  /  Indigenous Peoples’ and Minority Rights

Dr Adriana Bessa is a Senior Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.

Her research areas include the rights of traditional local communities, the draft declaration on the rights of peasants, and the right to food and sustainability. She is a member of the Project on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, organizer of the training course on Human Rights and the Environment and co-organizer of the on the Rights of Peasants training course.

Dr Bessa also teaches International Human Rights Law at Lille Catholic University and Biodiversity Law at the University of Alicante.

She holds a PhD in Public International Law from the European University Institute, Florence. Her doctoral thesis addressed the status and rights of traditional local communities in international law, with a particular focus on international environmental, human rights and cultural heritage law.

Taught Courses and Research Projects

Wheat field Project

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and the Protection of the Right to Seeds in Europe

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.

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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

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.

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Madagascar, Miarinarivo district. Women transplanting rice. Project

The Rights of Peasants

After having provided academic support to the negotiation of the UN Declaration for ten years, this research project focuses on the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

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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

Development and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

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.

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Versova Beach, Mumbai, India Training

The Protection of Human Rights and the Environment

This training course provides participants with a deep understanding of the international legal framework for the protection of human rights and the environment as well as in-depth knowledge of how to promote environmental protection through existing human rights mechanisms. The 2019 edition will dedicate special attention to plastic pollution.


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The Normative Dimension of Food Sustainability


Adriana Bessa

Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern

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Cover page of the briefing

The Right to Seeds in Europe

April 2019

Adriana Bessa, Christophe Golay

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the article

Human Rights and Food Sustainability

November 2018

Adriana Bessa

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover page of the book

Land Governance, Investment Law, Agriculture and The Rights of Local Populations


Adriana Bessa

Alabrese, M., Brunori, M., Rolandi, S., Saba, A. (Eds.), Springer

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