Consultative process as dialogue – the foundation
From history we know how discussions on Farmers' Rights have caused heated debates and conflicts rather than progress in the implementation of these rights. After decades of conflicts and mounting barriers against the realization of Farmers' Rights, it is now vital to move beyond the earlier controversies, build bridges and join forces across sectors to make Farmers' Rights a reality.
It is thus crucial that a broad-based national consultative process does not revert to these old modes of discussion, but rather that it provides an arena for dialogue across political divides and thus a basis for new alliances for the realization of Farmers' Rights.
Creating a fruitful dialogue is perhaps the greatest challenge in developing a national consultative process. Participants should be encouraged to listen to each other. Rather than arguing against each other, they should be encouraged to present their own needs and priorities, as appropriate, and provide the other participants with the necessary information to understand these priorities. The participants should be encouraged to pose clarification questions, in order to deepen their understanding. On this basis the areas of consensus can be identified and sought broadened. The approach presented here offers methods to ensure such a dialogue, as a basis for designing concrete measures for implementation.