Go to

Home / News and events / Events / 20 February – Event: New GMOs, Patents and the Peasants’ Rights to Seeds in Europe

20 February – Event: New GMOs, Patents and the Peasants’ Rights to Seeds in Europe

20 February 2020

ECVC is organising an event to explore how patents on seeds are negatively impacting small and medium seed enterprises and Peasants Rights to seeds: will the European Union take advantage of the lessons learnt?

Event:  New GMOs, Patents and the Peasants’ Rights to Seeds in Europe

How are patents on seeds negatively impacting small and medium seed enterprises and Peasants Rights to seeds: will the European Union take advantage of the lessons learnt in the past?

In December 2018, the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP) was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in New York by a very large majority of countries. This text, which includes specific provision on peasants’ rights to seeds, recalls the primacy of human rights over commercial interests protected by intellectual property rights including patents.

Despite patents on seeds bringing a numerous of ethical, human rights, social and economical concerns, the biotech-industry and certain members States are now pushing for a review of EU GM legislation in order to allow products coming from new Genetic modification techniques to escape the current regulatory framework.

If this happens it will probably mean that the EU biotech-industry will introduce a mass of new genetically modified seed varieties protected by  patents, irreversibly changing the EU seed market landscape, with the possibility of an exclusive control of “native traits” themselves. Moreover, with the progress of the digitalization of genetic resources (DSI), concentration within the seed market is further reinforced.

This conference will explore how patents on seeds is incompatible with basic farmers' rights to seeds and why this economic model of patents on seeds is also detrimental to small and medium seed enterprises.

This event, organized by the European Coordination Via Campesina in collaboration with the European Economical Social Committee, aims to bring together academics, experts from the European patent office and most importantly peasants from Europe in an exchange of views to discuss the impacts of patents on the seed markets and the management of agro-biodiversity by peasants as well as the potential impacts in Europe if the legislative framework on GMOs could be changed. The event is also an opportunity to analyze the development of human rights to seeds specifically referring to the Peasants rights declaration.

Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English, French and Spanish.

Registration is closing on the 16th of February.

Event details

20 February 2020 10:00 am

European Economic and Social Committee, Jacques Delors Building - Room JDE 63, Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat 99-101, Brussels

Latest activity