25 January 2023, Istanbul, Türkiye – 

Small-scale family farmers can be instrumental in elevating human rights in the food and agriculture sector and in ensuring sustainable agrifood systems. To help create a supportive environment for peasants in which their inherent dignity and worth is recognized, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, (FAO) has organized a training workshop on the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) and to promote agroecology.

The three-day workshop, concluding today in Istanbul, Türkiye, was conducted in partnership with the Eco Ruralis association from Romania in the framework of the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019–2028 (UNDFF).

Participants were government focal points of countries in Europe and Central Asia, rights-holders (peasants and small-scale family farming organizations), academics, and other actors with the capacity to contribute to policy and societal change, elevate human rights in food and farming systems, and mainstream agroecology.

“Human rights are essential in food systems to respond to the current crisis,” commented Morten Hartvigsen, FAO Regional Initiative Coordinator and Land Tenure Officer. “The training of relevant public authorities and the right-holders in the principles and application of the UN Declaration, as well as agroecological approaches can therefore contribute to better and more sustainable food security.”

Morten Hartvigsen

Peasants and small-scale family farmers working within local food systems have proven to be resilient in the context of the ongoing crisis. Agroecology is based on smallholders’ practices and realities. When it is further integrated into farming practices, the methodology has the potential to strengthen the resilience and sustainability of food production.

“Human rights for peasants and people involved in food production is essential in this time of crisis for our region,” said Ramona Duminicioiu, Eco Ruralis. “Peasants can continue to feed the people and could contribute to building democracies and peace, if their rights to natural resources and means of production are recognized and respected. This training is an incredible opportunity to educate our governments, academia, and civil society organizations on the human rights approach in food and agriculture. We hope it is the beginning of a long-lasting process and we are committed to make it a success.”

Ramona Duminicioiu

To ensure an enduring impact, the training workshop took a practical approach and put an emphasis on the implementation of these approaches by letting participants explore the tools, as well as the obstacles and opportunities in national and local legislative processes. Additional topics for discussion included the right to seeds and the right to land, considering the limited access of smallholders and young farmers to natural resources necessary for agricultural production.

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