Food & Sustainability
| photo credit: Martin Kunz
QUNO’s concern in relation to Food & Sustainability is to promote informed and balanced discussion about what agricultural systems are best suited to different circumstances and needs, and what policy space all countries – particularly developing countries – should maintain to be able to ensure their agriculture-related policies are best suited to their overall development, food policy, agriculture and environmental objectives.
One strand of this work seeks to promote informed and balanced discussion about what – if any – kind of intellectual property protection on seeds would best ensure that food production is sustainable and equitable. This is in context of the need to foster food production systems and innovation policies that ensure long-term food security, protect fragile livelihoods and provide incentives to maintaining biological and genetic diversity. Another strand is considering whether the current agriculture trade framework is adequate for addressing countries’ evolving needs and objectives for national agriculture policy.
To this end, QUNO is implementing a range of activities. These include:
convening discussions about intellectual property and food. In 2010 and 2011 these focus particularly on the role of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).
commissioning research about different approaches to intellectual property protection of seeds, and impacts of these.
convening discussions about agriculture trade policy.
bringing grassroots farming and seed development experience to the attention of international policy-makers.
The QUNO-IIED (Quaker UN Office - International Institute for Environment and Development) panel at the
World Trade Organisation Public Forum in Geneva, September 2012 explored the complex international landscape on intellectual property (IP) relating
to agriculture. The panel considered the main features of the international IP framework
through the following questions:
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Does the IP system stimulate innovation?
- How does it meet the needs of farmers and consumers?
- In what directions is it likely to evolve?
- Are new rules or new processes needed to ensure it responds to changing farming
Food, Biological Diversity and Intellectual Property – The Role of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), (English)
by Graham Dutfield, February 2011(445 kb)
29 January 2011, Geneva:Agricultural Trade - What Consequences for Food? Panel Discussion organized by QUNO during Carrefour souveraineté alimentaire. Read more
Agricultural trade and Investment rules for the 21st century: Report of a session held during the WTO Public Forum, 15th September 2010 (pdf 143 kb)
Publications and Statements
QUNO's Global Economic Issues programme issues a range of publications relating to Food & Sustainability. Read More