Last week, the Governing Body of the International Seed Treaty (IT PGRFA) met for the fifth time (GB5) in the exclusive, chilled environment of the Al Bustan Palace Hotel, Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman. The results were promising, however, and Civil Society and Farmers’ Organisations helped stimulate commitment to essential changes in how the Treaty operates.
Attached is a brief report (GB5-CSOreflection_PatrickMulvany.pdf) including the near final text of the Farmers’ Rights resolution; also our Civil Society statements at the opening and closing sessions, presented by NGOs from Asia, Iran and by Via Campesina.
The degree of unanimity of the African, Asian and Latin American blocs, with significant support from some European countries, and with united advocacy from farmers ‘organisations and CSOs present, all contributed to better outcomes than some had predicted.
These outcomes included:
· a good resolution on Farmers’ Rights (FRs), which renewed the commitment of governments to implement Farmers’ Rights
As we said in our Final Statement:
Our Treaty should be at the heart of securing future food through establishing effective governance of PGRFA that will enable farmers to continue to conserve, develop and sustainably use a wide range of crop biodiversity on-farm, at a time of increasing social, economic, environmental and political threats. The Treaty will be judged on whether it can stop the losses and improve access to existing PGRFA which have been developed by small-scale farmers in situ and on-farm.
CSOs and farmers organisations, will continue, in the face of many challenges, to take our responsibilities: we will resist, we will organise and we will transform the seed and food system so that our Farmers’ Rights and food sovereignty are realised.
In addition to the main lobbying activities, the IPC presented a Side Event on Friday 27 September. The title of the event was Farmers’ Rights to their seeds and knowledge: a challenge for global governance of the ‘sustainable’ use of PGRFA. The presentations by CENESTA and MPA at the IPC Side Event are available. CSOs were also involved in many other Side Events including one celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), at which Patrick Mulvany presented a CSO perspective on the work of the Commission including its preparation of the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, an assessment, using the ecosystem approach, of all agricultural biodiversity. Presentation is available with the title: “Agricultural Biodiversity feeds the world when sustained in the framework of Food Sovereignty.”
If anyone wants more information or is interested in involvement in the inter-sessional process up to GB6, please get in touch.
A summary of proceedings at GB5 has been published by ENB www.iisd.ca/biodiv/itpgrgb5