Dettaglio della copertina

In libreria

The United Nations' Declaration on Peasants' Rights

edited By Mariagrazia Alabrese, Adriana Bessa, Margherita Brunori, Pier Filippo Giuggioli

23 giugno 2022
Versione stampabile

This is the first book to address and review the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018.

Food security and sustainable agri-food systems, responsible governance of natural resources, and human rights are among the key themes of the new millennium. The Declaration is the first internationally negotiated instrument bridging these issues, calling for a radical paradigm change in the agricultural sector while giving voice to peasants and rural workers, recognised as the drivers of more equitable and resilient food systems. The book unfolds the impact of the Declaration in the wider realm of law and policy making, especially concerning the new human rights standards related to access and control of natural resources and the governance of food systems. The chapters in the book touch on a broad array of topics, including women’s rights, the role of and impact on indigenous peoples, food sovereignty, climate change, land tenure, and agrobiodiversity. Voices from outstanding scholars and practitioners are gathered together to inform and trigger a further debate on the negotiation process, the innovative and potentially disruptive contents, the relations with other fields of law, and the practical scope of the Declaration. The volume concludes with a collection of case studies that provide concrete examples to help us understand the potential impacts of the Declaration at regional, national, and local levels.

This book is the first comprehensive tool to navigate the Declaration and is designed for students, researchers, and practitioners in the fields of food and agriculture law, peasant, agrarian and rural studies, human rights and environmental law, and international development and cooperation.

Mariagrazia Alabrese is Professor at the Institute of Law, Politics and Development at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies.
Adriana Bessa is a Brazilian lawyer, independent researcher, and guest lecturer at the Université Catholique de Lille and the Universidad de Alicante.
Margherita Brunori is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Science at the University of Trento.
Pier Filippo Giuggioli is Professor in the Department of Italian and Supranational Public Law at the University of Milan

From the Conclusion (pag. 259-261)

The adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) opens up a new chapter of the international law and policy making concerning food and agriculture under a human rights perspective and triggers several reactions, reflections, and questions. This book aimed to unfold some of these issues through the analysis of a selection of themes, making up the four parts of the book. Accordingly, this volume first gave an account of the subjective scope of the Declaration, by clarifying how the diversity of actors working in rural areas is recognised and addressed, and considered intersectionality while configurating a collective subject, recipient of specific rights. Second, the book offered a closer look at the rights, of a simultaneously individual and collective nature, that compose the distinctiveness and innovative cipher of the UNDROP and collocate natural resources in a sphere of a common interest that conditions their governance, ownership, and use towards the achievement of overarching societal goals: social justice and sustainability. Third, it turned its attention to the broader domain of the governance of global food and agricultural systems, where the UNDROP represents the first articulated international human rights-based document. It explores the crosscutting themes revolving around the need to promote equity and specific knowledges as well as to ensure the long-term ecosystems’ ability to regenerate. Finally, it puts the Declaration ‘into context,’ by exploring several surfacing and potential impacts of the instrument both in global, regional, and national legal systems and in legitimising grassroots claims.

Through a cross-cutting analysis of several phenomena characterising international law and global governance of natural resources, the volume offers a contribution to the interpretation of the UNDROP. The first transversal theme emerging from the contributors’ analyses is the need for adequate identification of minority social categories and the recognition of specific rights. As it is argued here, this necessarily involves curbing the fragmentation of international law. By acknowledging the interconnectedness of social, cultural, economic, and natural phenomena, the UNDROP emerges as an instrument able to remediate the fragmentation of international law regarding the governance of natural resources and food systems. It crosses quite diverse branches of international regulation, while at the same time offering a comprehensive and principled framework to guide states with respect to their human rights obligations.

The rights included in the UNDROP reaffirm and elaborate upon many existing international legal and interpretative instruments. In doing so, the UNDROP cuts across different areas of law: human rights, trade and investment, intellectual property, environmental protection and climate change, food and agriculture, and cultural heritage. The contributing authors of this edited book have unfolded the interconnections of the UNDROP with the multiple legal regimes it intersects and explored how the text incorporates well-established or emerging principles and standards in international law. The rights to food and food sovereignty, for instance, have been identified as key in the UNDROP. Golay argues that they need to be implemented for overcoming structural discrimination against peasants. The book’s contributions also stress where UNDROP lacks sound engagement. This more critical aspect is evidenced mainly by Martignoni and Clayes’ chapter, which argues that women’s rights were partially ‘sacrificed’ in order to obtain consensus and ensure the adoption of the Declaration. Similarly, Francioni evidences a lack of definition of the jurisdictional scope of states’ obligations, which would have brought the Declaration more in line with emerging recognition of the importance of the extraterritorial dimension of state responsibility for the realisation of economic, social, and cultural rights. The limitations of this instrument considered, several chapters allow for the appreciation of the usefulness of the combined reading of the UNDROP with other binding instruments as well as international guidance documents. Indeed, Martignoni and Claeys posit that a reading of the text alongside the General Comment n. 34 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women could ensure an adequate contextualisation of women peasants’ rights in light of the most recent authentic interpretation of the contents of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Bessa and Gilbert engage with a comparison of the UNDROP and the UNDRIP, thereby evidencing the different, yet complementary function of the two instruments in recognising collective rights of indigenous peoples and traditional local communities. Morgera and Nakamura explain how the complementary reading of the UNDROP, the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries, and international environmental law creates a complete regulatory framework for safeguarding small-scale fishers, but they also stress that this could also favour a reconceptualisation of existing standards in light of building a ‘more constructive engagement of duty-bearers with the rightsholders.’ Le Teno, Frison, and Cogolati offer a combined reading of the farmers’ rights as enshrined in the ITPGRFA and the UNDROP and conclude that the Declaration ‘can create positive synergies between farmers’ rights, . . . and standard [intellectual property rights] legislation, while maintaining predictability for breeders and life science companies, and fill a gap in international law,’ provided that peasants organisations are effectively included in a multilateral forum as active subjects instead of as mere recipients of policies. In this sense, the contributing authors highlight how the possible tensions between rightsholders’ protection can be overcome or avoided both by looking at the ratio as well as the combined interpretation of di erent international law instruments.

The contributing authors have also concluded that the fragmentation of international law is among the root causes of inadequate governance of natural resources, and the consequent regulatory gaps have led to relevant negative impacts on local populations and the environment. They position the UNDROP in a broader trend whereby the interaction of international law branches as well as jurisprudential interpretation of treaties allow those existing gaps to be filled. In this context, Cotula affirms that ‘building on this tapestry of human rights configurations, the UNDROP’s affirmation of peasants’ right to land represents a turning point in longstanding efforts to connect land to human rights.’ By putting the UNDROP in the context of climate change law, Alabrese and Savaresi affirm that ‘the UNDROP falls within the context of a growing body of international human rights practice requesting states to enable traditional knowledge holders’ participation in decision-making and science creation.’ Similarly, Tignino, Restifo, and Kebebew argue that the UNDROP contributes to broadening the notion and the contents of the right to water and States’ obligations in that regard. Notwithstanding the limitations of the UNDROP in addressing the rights of fi sherfolk, Bessa and Martín López explore the ways in which the UNDROP should guide a better translation of the rights of women fishers as well as equitable conditions for small-scale fisheries in the context of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The second theme that crosses the entire book relates to challenging the politics of law and power. Every legal and policy document is embedded in implicit political visions. The Declaration is rooted in open criticism of the underlying politics of the current international economic and legal systems. Viewed in light of the political economy of food systems, Narula argues that the UNDROP rearms the centrality of the States in the agricultural governance in contrast to the neoliberal reforms operated in the last decades in the sector. She also claims that the ‘effective implementation of the UNDROP has the potential to significantly alter human rights and environmental struggles, shift the narrative and vision for food systems, and decentralize power therein.’

Courtesy by Routledge