Here, possible contents of a core workshop on the design of a national framework for implementation of Farmers' Rights are outlined. This is based on the workshop module prepared for that purpose, and further details can be found there. The outline below may however also serve as points of inspiration to develop an own workshop program, or program for the workshop series.
Part I: Identifying issues and challenges
Session 1: Situating Farmers' Rights
In this session, the importance of Farmers' Rights for crop genetic diversity, global food security and rural development can be highlighted to ensure a joint understanding of the relevance of the topic. It is recommended to invite one or two farmers to talk about their situation with relevance for the topic (if time allows, participants may also be invited to visit a farming community the day before the workshop starts). On this background, the participants may be invited to develop a vision of how their country would look like if Farmers' Rights were realized. The latter could provide inspiration and drive for the workshop as well as guidance for later group work. For this purpose, the participants may be divided into groups with participation from all stakeholder categories in each group if possible. The groups may present their visions in the plenary, and the workshop facilitator might sums up the joint elements as a shared vision.
Session 2: The international background of Farmers' Rights
Building on this visionary starting point, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture can be presented as an international agreement with great potentials to encourage countries to protect and promote Farmers' Rights, and an important reference for the workshop. A brief history of Farmers' Rights and an introduction to the International Treaty can be presented. Article 9 of the Treaty may be discussed to some detail. On this background, participants may be divided into groups. Each group receives a few articles of the International Treaty and is asked to identify provisions of relevance for the realization of Farmers' Rights. Such an exercise would deepen the knowledge of the International Treaty and the interrelations between the articles related to Farmers' Rights.
Session 3: The contents of Farmers' Rights
To deepen participants understanding of Farmers' Rights, different views on their contents might be presented. This will also serve to help the participants situating their own understanding of the concept. The main differences in perceptions on Farmers' Rights follow the ownership - stewardship dichotomy. It is important to show the implications of these views for farmers and plant genetic resources (see The contents of Farmers' Rights). The participants might be invited to exchange views on this topic in the plenary. Finally, they may be invited to identify elements for a working definition on Farmers' Rights as applied in their country. For this purpose meta-cards can be used. The meta-cards with the various elements can be categorized and thus provide the basis for formulating a working definition of Farmers' Rights related to agro-biodiversity for use in the workshop.
Session 4: Barriers to the realization of Farmers' Rights
To enable participants to take action, it is first necessary to identify the challenges. An overview over common barriers to the realization of Farmers' Rights may be given. This can take the form of an analytical framework for identifying barriers to Farmers' Rights in the country, as provided in the workshop module. Afterwards, participants may be asked to identify the barriers in their own country, by means of the analytical framework. This will may be done in groups and presented in the plenary. The groups can be given different tasks: (1) Barriers to legal space for farmers' customary practices regarding seeds and propagating material; (2) barriers to the protection of traditional knowledge; (3) barriers to the right to participate equitably in benefit sharing (4) barriers to the participation of farmers' in decision making regarding crop genetic diversity. The groups should be provided with excerpts of relevant laws, policies and programmes from their own country. The groups would report back, as basis for plenary discussion. The aim of the plenary discussion would be to establish a common ground of understanding of what the key barriers to the realization of Farmers' Rights are in the country. This could be illustrated in the form of a 'problem tree' highlighting causes and effects, produced of meta cards. Such an exercise is very useful to raise awareness of the gravity and urgency of the situation.
Part II: Discovering potentials
Session 5: Options for the realization of Farmers' Rights and best practices
Following the analytical framework from the presentation of barriers, now the options should be highlighted and illustrated with examples of best practices or success stories. On this background, the participants could be invited to share their experiences with similar or other examples illustrating options for the realization of Farmers' Rights. It is recommendable to ask participants with particular experiences to prepare input for this exchange. If time allows, and the exercise with the problem tree was carried out in the session on barriers, it is possible to add one more exercise here: Transforming the problem tree into an objective tree. The participants re-formulate their cards (on new cards, without removing the old ones) into positive situations in future, when that problem (and only that) is solved. The facilitator brings them onto a pin-board, in the same order as the original problem tree, and fills eventual gaps with extra meta-cards. The resulting objectives tree will probably describe the vision for the realization of Farmers' Rights developed at the outset of the workshop, in more concrete and detailed terms, including the benefits for all, and can be highly encouraging for further work.
Session 6: Realizing Farmers' Rights in a fictive country
At this point in the workshop it would be logical to proceed with the laws and policies of the participants' country. However, that might not enable the required creativity in finding solutions to difficult challenges. Also participants may have had controversies on these questions before. Thus a case exercise may be introduced to take the attention away from the own country and from old positions. Such an exercise is presented in the workshop module, where all participants are invited to the fictive country of Mohadua. In this exercise the participants are 'consultants' assigned to assist Mohadua in implementing Farmers' Rights. Laws and policies are assessed and improved, programmes developed leading to the full realization of Farmers' Rights. With methods of group work (on the different contents of Farmers' Rights) and role play in plenary, the exercise can be great fun while at the same time bringing participants closer and developing a deeper understanding of what is required to make Farmers Rights a reality. The case exercise ends in a travel in time: the 'consultants' are invited to 'evaluate' the achievements made after ten years, given that their recommendations were successfully implemented. The exercise is partly aimed at assessing the implications of different options and thus deepening the understanding of their values; and partly it is aimed at deepening participants' vision for the realization of Farmers' Rights as set out the first day.
Session 7: Learning from the case exercise
This session consists of a plenary discussion on what participants can learn from case exercise. This discussion should be open, without any particular directions from the facilitator, as more targeted discussions will follow. Meta cards may be used. The intention is to provide the participants with an open space to derive lessons on their own, before the discussion gets more structured. The lessons will ideally be deepened in the following sessions. If some lessons should escape the more structured discussions following from this session, it is important that the facilitator bring them back in during the last summarising discussion.
Part III: Crafting policies and programmes
Session 8: Drafting policies and programmes
This session may consist of group work and presentation in the plenary. The participants would be asked to assess legislation and policies in their own country with a view to required changes in order to realize Farmers' Rights, and to make specific proposals. The analytical framework used in the case of Mohadua (and the same groups) would be applied again here, and the material the participants received on the country situation in the session on barriers (legislation, policies and programmes) will serve as points of departure. Back in the plenary, the suggestions will be presented, and the facilitator may open up for questions of clarification, and an initial open and unstructured discussion after each presentation.
Session 9: Assessing the draft policies and programmes
This is a plenary session, where the various suggestions can be made subject to thorough discussions, based on a methodological framework consisting of two steps. Step 1 includes the questions of relevance (in relation to Farmers' Rights and the situation in the own country) and level priority. If the suggestions pass this first step, the Step 2 is aimed at determining the feasibility of the suggestions with the highest priorities (or all, if time allows). Here a simplified SWAT assessment will be applied, including questions of strengths, weaknesses, advantages & threats. Based on this analysis, the suggestions might be improved in order to ensure their feasibility. The discussion could ideally end with a joint recommendation on steps to be taken to realize Farmers' Rights in the country.
Session 10: Linking up with the international level
This can be a short session, to strengthen the awareness of how domestic processes are linked to international processes. The intention would be to provide background for the participants to set priorities with regard to whether they should engage in the processes at the international level, and - if so - in which processes. After a brief introduction, plenary discussion would focus on the following questions: (1) What are the most relevant international processes in which we should engage in order to promote the realization of Farmers' Rights? (2) What should be our goals when engaging in these processes? (3) Who are involved in or wish to get involved in these processes? (4) When and how should the next steps be taken in this regard?
Session 11: Joining forces and pooling resources for Farmers' Rights
The participant group will ideally consist of most of the major decision makers and stakeholders in the country. Thus, it is a unique possibility to find out how these resources could best be utilized across stakeholders groups, particularly by developing alliances, building on the recommendations made in the previous session. Each of the institutions represented will be asked to briefly explain how they consider their role with regard to the implementation of Farmers' Rights as set out in the workshop, what resources they possess with regard to realizing Farmers' Rights, and what other institutions they would wish to link up with in this effort. On this background, group work will be initiated, where the participants are asked to make proposals as to how co-operation can best be mobilised in the country, with a view to realizing the recommendations provided in the previous session. Back in the plenary, the groups present their suggestions, followed by a discussion. In this discussion, it would be good if commitments were made as to steps to be taken to develop such co-operation. However, if the participants are not ready to make such commitments, it should not be forced in any way. Even if no commitment is made there and then, the discussion might prove valuable in that participants will seek contact after the workshop. An arena should be provided for participants to find together in this session, but it is up to them. For more information on this topic see Joining forces and pooling resources.
Session 12: Key lessons and next steps
In this session, the findings from the various sessions throughout the workshop are briefly summed up, as basis for a plenary discussion on key lessons and next steps. Potential questions could be: What are the main lessons of this workshop for you? What do you see as the potentials for joint action? What could be the next steps?