Realizing farmers’ rights through community biodiversity management

Farming communities attending rewards (in-kind and social recognition) handover ceremony for successful conservation of rare quinoa varieties. Huataquita, Cabanillas District, San Román Province, Puno Region, Peru. Credit: Adam G. Drucker.

Farming communities attending rewards (in-kind and social recognition) handover ceremony for successful conservation of rare quinoa varieties. Huataquita, Cabanillas District, San Román Province, Puno Region, Peru. Credit: Adam G. Drucker/Bioversity International

 A community-based approach to the management of agricultural biodiversity, including supporting community seedbanks, can empower and benefit smallholder farmers and farming communities economically, environmentally and socially. This approach makes implementing farmers’ rights at national level both practical and effective contributing to food and seed security, sustainable livelihoods and resilience. 

Two new briefs show how this approach makes implementing farmers’ rights at national level both practical and effective contributing to food and seed security, sustainable livelihoods and resilience.

•    Realizing farmers’ rights through community-based agricultural biodiversity management
•    Supporting community seedbanks to realize farmers’ rights

These briefs have been submitted to the 2016 Global Consultation on Farmers Right, held in Bali, Indonesia, 27-30 September 2016.

Read more about this work.

Ximena Cadima, from Fundación PROINPA, Bolivia presenting her work on defining and identifying farmers who are good producers of native and traditional seed varieties and putting into place incentives for these farmers to continue operating at the Farmers Rights Consultation. Credit: R. Vernooy/Bioversity Interantional.

Ximena Cadima, from Fundación PROINPA, Bolivia presenting her work on defining and identifying farmers who are good producers of native and traditional seed varieties and putting into place incentives for these farmers to continue operating at the Farmers Rights Consultation. Credit: R. Vernooy/Bioversity International.

 

Ronnie Vernooy presenting on “Community seed banks around the world – preconditions for their success” at the Farmers Rights Consultation.

Ronnie Vernooy presenting on “Community seed banks around the world – preconditions for their success” at the Farmers Rights Consultation. Credit: Pitambar Shrestha/LI-BIRD

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Access and benefit sharing of genetic resources: special issue of Farming Matters

A new special issue of Farming Matters, produced in collaboration with Bioversity International, focuses on how access and benefit sharing of plant genetic resources can work for family farmers.Cover_access and benefit sharing

Crop diversity is essential for family farmers. It provides a cost-effective way to improve productivity, manage crop pests and diseases and adapt to climatic and other shocks. It also provides diverse, healthy and nutritious diets. Farmers have safeguarded this rich biodiversity through saving, using, exchanging and selling seed and planting material.

The rights of farmers to continue to do so are at the core of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, an international agreement designed to facilitate the exchange of plant genetic resources. The Treaty also focuses on the right of farmers to participate in decision-making and in the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of plant genetic resources and the need to protect traditional knowledge relevant to these resources. The effective implementation of the Treaty and other access and benefit-sharing agreements, however, represents challenges.

This special issue of Farming Matters, produced in collaboration with Bioversity International, provides examples of formal and informal access and benefit-sharing systems from Costa Rica, Brazil, Iran, China, Rwanda, Uganda and many more countries. The issue also explores the interface between the formal and the informal systems and highlights creative access and benefit-sharing arrangements that are effective for family farmers.

You can download the special issue or one or more articles from the following sites:

http://www.agriculturesnetwork.org/magazines/global/access-and-benefit-sharing-of-genetic-resources

https://www.bioversityinternational.org/news/detail/access-and-benefit-sharing-of-genetic-resources-making-it-work-for-family-farmers/

Ronnie Vernooy

 

 

New publication: Toolkit for the indicators of resilience in socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes

Toolkit for Indicators of Resilience

Toolkit for the Indicators of Resilience

This toolkit, available on the Bioversity International website provides practical guidance for making use of the “Indicators of Resilience in Socio-ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes (SEPLS)” in the field. The indicators are a tool for engaging local communities in adaptive management of the landscapes and seascapes in which they live. By using the tested methods presented in this toolkit, communities can increase their capacity to respond to social, economic, and environmental pressures and shocks, to improve their environmental and economic conditions, thus increasing the social and ecological resilience of their landscapes and seascapes, and ultimately make progress towards realizing a society in harmony with nature.

The approach presented here is centred on holding participatory “assessment workshops”. These involve discussion and a scoring process for the set of twenty indicators designed to capture communities’ perceptions of factors affecting the resilience of their landscapes and seascapes. The participants in these workshops are members of the local community and stakeholders in the local area. Their participation allows them to evaluate current conditions across the landscape and identify and reach agreement on priority actions, contributing to enhanced communication among stakeholders and empowered local communities. Workshops may be planned and implemented by people from within or outside the community. The guidance provided in this toolkit is primarily intended for organizers and facilitators of resilience assessment workshops.

Read our previous post on the co-management of pastoral lands in Mongolia.  Mongolia was one of the case study countries in which the toolkit was tested and refined. This work was coordinated by Dr H. Ykhanbai and Ronnie Vernooy..

Opportunity: International PhD Programme in Agrobiodiversity, Italy

The Institute of Life Sciences at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa, Italy (SSSA) announces its International PhD Programme in Agrobiodiversity, in collaboration with the Italian National Academy of Sciences and funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MiUR).
The Course aims to contribute to the enhancement of human resource capacity in the utilisation and management of biodiversity in agricultural and natural systems, to improve the sustainability of agriculture and the conservation of genetic resources and agroecosystem (bio)diversity for the well-being of present and future generations.
Six scholarships are available to motivated students from any country. Applications from developing countries are particularly welcome. The application must include description of a research project that the candidate would like to carry out during the three-year period of the PhD. Examples of research themes are indicated in the Call for Applications. English will be the one and only language for all activities envisaged in the PhD Programme.

Further information on the Programme, the Call and the Online Application Form can be found at http://www.sssup.it/agrobiodiversity. The deadline for receipt of applications is 5 September 2014. The Programme starts on 3 November 2014.

The Course has two curricula:
(A) Plant Genetic Resources (for further inquiries about possible research themes  contact Prof. Enrico Pè, m.pe@sssup.it).
(B) Functional Biodiversity in Agroecosystems (for further inquiries about possible research themes contact Prof. Paolo Bàrberi, barberi@sssup.it for topics related to Agroecology or Dr Francesco Licausi, f.licausi@sssup.it for topics related to Crop Physiology).

For general information,  contact info-phdlifesciences@sssup.it

New book – Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons

Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons

Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons

We are very pleased to announce the publication of Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons: Challenges in International Law and Governance.

The book investigates how the collective pooling and management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture can be supported through access and benefit sharing laws. Since the most important recent development in the field has been the creation of the multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, many of the chapters in this book focus on that system.

The book analyzes a range of relevant background factors, including the impact of climate change on countries’ interdependence on plant genetic resources, germplasm flows in and out of international genebanks, crops specfic research programs, and countries as a whole. It considers the historical development and mechanics of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing.  It provides space for leaders in the field to reflect on what has worked well, and where challenges remain in terms of the multilateral system’s performance as a central feature in a global system of collective action to conserve, and sustainably use plant genetic diversity, and equitably share benefits derived from that use. Finally, it identifies options for policy initiatives to further strengthen the support which the multilateral system provides the global crop commons.

Here is what some reviewers have said about the book so far.

“A rigorous, in-depth analysis of successful commons governance on a global scale has long been an under-researched, often overlooked and poorly understood area of study. Yet the critical importance collaborative management of global resources requires urgent attention. In this groundbreaking volume, Halewood, Noriega, and Louafi have assembled an international group of leading scholars and practitioners to systematically guide us through the complex terrain of crop genetic resources and agricultural biodiversity as global commons. The thoroughness of the analysis along with the lessons learned from practical applications will serve as indispensable tools for students of all types of global-commons resources.” – Charlotte Hess, co-editor with Elinor Ostrom of ‘Understanding Knowledge as a Commons’ and Associate Dean for Research, Collections, and Scholarly Communication for Syracuse University Library

“The preservation and enhancement of agrobiodiversity is of huge importance in a world that shall witness more disruptive climate shocks in the future, and in which food-deficit regions shall be increasingly dependent on food-surplus regions. This volume makes a strong case for governing plant genetic resources in ways that promote the evolution and conservation of agrobiodiversity, and to ensure that they are available to be used by all regions to adapt better to a changing environment. Yet, it is more than just another book about the governance of natural resources by the best experts in the field: it is also an indispensable tool to understand the future of agriculture in a world of dwindling resources and biodiversity loss.” – Olivier de Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food 

“These meticulous studies of the FAO Treaty are of major theoretical and empirical importance to scholars and practitioners seeking a workable, transnational regime to govern all genetic resources for research and benefit sharing under the evolving international legal framework.” – Jerome H. Reichman, Bunyan S. Womble Professor of Law, Duke Law School, USA

Over forty academics and practioners working in the field of agricultural biodiversity have contributed to 19 chapters.

More details about the book are available from Routledge.

This title is the fourth in the ‘Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity’ series co-published by Routledge and Bioversity International.

We have some copies available, for free, for libraries, research and farmers’ organziations in developing countries. Please contact bio-policy[at]cgiar.org to request a copy. Remember to provide a full mailing address.