The agenda item on Farmers’ Rights was introduced by the Secretary, who presented the report of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Farmers’ Rights. The group had, with the solid support from the Secretariat, successfully developed an inventory of national measures, best practices and lessons learned from the implementation of Farmers’ Rights and started collecting input for the inventory. An impressive list of examples had already been compiled and were made available to the Governing Body. The Governing Body welcomed this achievement and invited parties and all relevant stakeholders to continue submitting views, experiences, and best practices for inclusion in the inventory.

The inventory was structured in relation to a set of categories of measures, which the group also proposed using as a basis for developing the options for the realization of Farmers’ Rights in the next biennium. This structure was endorsed by the Governing Body, which also decided to reconvene the ATHEG, with a somewhat amended group composition, to fulfil its mandate.

This was the result of complicated negotiations at the Eights Session of the Governing Body, and in particular in the contact group that had been established for the purpose of finding consensus with regard to a resolution text. The contact group was co-chaired by Bell Batta Torheim from Norway and Rakesh Agrawal from India. Delegations from Africa, Asia and Latin America voiced demands for voluntary guidelines on the implementation of Farmers’ Rights, whereas delegations from North America, Australia and Europe were opposed. Representing Norway in the contact group, Regine Andersen facilitated agreement among the parties to enable the expert group to complete its work.

In the resolution on Farmers’ Rights that was adopted during the Eight Session, Resolution 6/2019, the Governing Body decided to reconvene the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers’ Rights for the 2020–2021 biennium in order to complete its tasks based on the Terms of Reference established at the Seventh Session of the Governing Body in the Resolution 7/2017. The Governing Body requested the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group to present the results of its work at the Ninth Session of the Governing Body for its consideration.

A side event on best practices and lessons learned from the implementation of Farmers’ Rights was also held and organized by the Development Fund of Norway and partners. FNI’s Regine Andersen presented the results from an evaluation for the Development Fund of Norway on community seed banks in Ethiopia. 

The Governing Body took note of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas by the United Nations General Assembly (UNDROP), a new instrument linking Farmers’ Rights with Human and Natural resource-related rights.

Except for that, the Governing Body reiterated several of the provisions from previous resolutions on Farmers’ Rights under the Plant Treaty in this Resolution on Farmers’ Rigths from the Eighth Session of the Governing Body.