Proposal for an International Convention on Agricultural and Food Diversity and Sustainability ENFR | ES :



What is the International Convention proposal?

It is a proposal for a comprehensive, binding and universal international treaty on food security. It aims to boost and enhance the protection and enhancement of agricultural and food diversity as essential solutions to the challenges we face by ensuring food security for present and future generations.

Food security is fragmented within public international law and is characterized by a lack of coherence between the different spheres of law relating to this issue. This results in favoring commercial considerations and globalized food supply chains rather than other considerations and local contexts which are crucial to food security.

With regards to these shortcomings, the DDSA Chair drafted the Proposal for an International Convention on Agricultural and Food Diversity and Sustainability, in view of establishing an international legal framework on which States could base their policies and measures aimed at ensuring food security for their populations. This proposed framework, which comprises various aspects of food security, aims to balance commercial and non-commercial considerations relating to food security and whilst considering the diversity of specific national contexts.

Set against the international backdrop of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, the proposed Convention aims to drive concrete change towards sustainable, resilient, equitable and economically efficient food systems, and to guarantee sufficient, safe, nutritious, diversified and culturally appropriate food for all.

The proposal is structured along the lines of international treaties with a preamble and a body of 50 articles. They address various aspects of food security, such as biodiversity for food and agriculture, climate change, the protection of land, soil and agricultural activities, women, traditional, local and indigenous knowledge, and agricultural and food markets.

The proposed Convention constitutes a significant contribution to the field of food law and food security, based on an analysis of more than 700 international agreements and legal texts closely or remotely related to food security.

What does agricultural and food diversity mean?

A definition of agricultural and food diversity is proposed in Article 4.1 of the Convention proposal.

« Agricultural and food diversity refers to the ecosystems and diversity of activities, knowledge, expressions and products of groups, communities and societies in connection with agriculture and food. Agricultural and food diversity relates to sociocultural diversity, and it is shaped by a variety of factors, including factors that are natural, climatic, political, historical, geographical, social, cultural, economic and technological in nature. In particular, agricultural and food diversity includes:

a. food and agricultural biodiversity;

b. natural resources used for agriculture and food purposes;

c. the diversity of agricultural forms and rural landscapes;

d. the diversity of agricultural and food practices, methods, techniques and technologies, including modes of food production, storage, processing, transport, marketing, distribution, preparation and preservation;

e. the diversity of food cultures and heritages, including food values, habits and practices;

f. the diversity of knowledge relating to agriculture and food, including traditional, local and indigenous knowledge;

g. the diversity of agricultural products and foods. ».

Presentation sheet of the international Convention proposal

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You can watch the replay of the presentation of the proposal for the International Convention on Agricultural and Food Diversity and Sustainability, which was made during the public launch day held on November 16, 2023, in Quebec City.