Resumed Fourth meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers’ Rights
By Mariapaola Boselli – Crocevia
The second part of the fourth meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group was held from 23 to 27 August 2021.
Again, the online preparation of the experts and observers was not easy: in several regions of the world, the pandemic continues to hit hard and, in addition, the summer period for many farmers is a very busy time for work in the fields.
The preparation was laborious but lasted throughout July and August.
At this meeting, the experts had to pick up where they left off in the May 2021 meeting. Due to the complex and inefficiently organised documentation, experts and observers had doubts until the last day about the actual documentation being discussed.
In this last meeting the document containing the options for the implementation of farmers’ rights at the national level was discussed by the experts but the final result will be the work of the co-chairs.
In this meeting the IPC group has created the best conditions to expand its work and collaborate closely not only with other organisations supporting the experts of farmers’ organisations, but also with experts from the African region and of the CSOs.
This opportunity was of great value to the Working Group, and the synergies created will certainly have an outlet in future meetings, first and foremost the FAO Governing Body.
This second session was very important for the IPC group: David Otieno, one of the AHTEG experts, had already presented to the co-chairs in May the issue of the legal interpretation of the Treaty and especially of Article 9; for this reason a letter (attached) was sent requesting the Treaty Secretary to put this item on the agenda of the August meeting. In spite of the fact that this request was not accepted, Otieno raised the issue again at the meeting and was supported by several experts.
The request for a legal interpretation on the binding nature of the Treaty and Art. 9 then entered the final report of the meeting, which will be considered by the Governing Body at its next meeting.
The group had an intensive preparation during the week before the meeting, and a preparatory meeting with the meeting co-chairs was also held during that week.
During the official meeting week the experts had two internal meeting sessions per day, a preparatory one in the morning lasting 90 minutes and an evaluation one in the evening lasting 60 minutes.
– Experts from farmers’ organisations, together with experts from the African region and CSOs, participated in the meeting with very good results; most of the positions expressed were considered in the final report;
– The experts succeeded in defending several key positions especially on the issue of intellectual property on seeds;
– The experts were able to obtain in the report recommendations to the Governing Body that the latter commits to translate the inventory of measures for the implementation of farmers’ rights into all the languages of the Expert Group;
– The experts managed to obtain in the final report that there is a request addressed to the Governing Body, although not granted by the entire AHTEG, for a legal interpretation on the binding nature of the Treaty and Article 9.