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Hope Johnson

This chapter explores the regulation of genetic resources for agriculture, which are generally contained in seeds. It outlines how food security depends on farmers and researchers having access to a large, evolving pool of plant genetic resources. Hence, a rights-based approach to agricultural regulation would grant priority to the maintenance and expansion of non-exclusive, common pools of plant genetics. This chapter then critically analyses the main international instruments that establish exclusive or non-exclusive rights in seeds, and attempts to preserve common pools of plant genetic materials.

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Hope Johnson

This chapter considers what a rights-based approach would require in the context of land rights, and analyses the various human rights instruments and international investment laws that influence access to and use of arable land. This discussion shows how, despite the global dynamics that significantly influence land rights and land uses, international institutions have failed to develop regulatory instruments that effectively shape land rights consistent with the human rights-based approach (RBA) outlined in the previous chapter. This chapter examines how this regulatory failure has come to the forefront with the trends in large-scale land acquisitions involving foreign actors; it considers the recent creation of several non-binding instruments relevant to agricultural land rights in terms of whether the instruments are consistent with a RBA and are likely to address the issue of large-scale land acquisitions by foreign actors.

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Hope Johnson

This chapter focuses on land use, and more precisely the relationship between agriculture and soils, as well as the influence and role of international regulation in these land uses. It finds that the international regulation of soils has significant gaps and implementation issues, and lacks an integrated framework capable of exploiting the synergies between climate adaptation and mitigation, soils restoration, and food security. Because of these factors, the international regulation of soils is broadly inadequate to be considered as aligned with a human rights-based approach to agricultural regulation for food security. This chapter explores potential directions to improve the international regulation of soils consistent with a human rights-based approach to agricultural regulation for food security.

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Hope Johnson

This chapter examines the international instruments that intersect with agricultural water uses. It begins by outlining the relationships between food security, water scarcity, and agriculture, as well as the opportunities on and off farms to improve the contributions of agriculture to rights to food and water. Following this, key gaps in the international regime for fresh water, and as they relate to agriculture, are identified and critiqued. These include inadequate regulatory responses to wastewater management, groundwater sources, and domestic water sources more generally. Future directions to address these gaps are considered. The chapter then considers the common principles and provisions of international water law, and evaluates these aspects against a rights-based approach to agricultural regulation.

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International Agricultural Law and Policy

A Rights-Based Approach to Food Security

Hope Johnson

Globalised agriculture and food systems are at the crux of significant issues facing humanity from the rise in diet-related diseases to water pollution and biodiversity loss. Yet, legal scholarship on the regulation of agriculture and food is only now emerging. This timely book provides the first systematic analysis of the public international rules influencing agriculture. Each chapter considers the regulatory instruments that intersect with different components of agricultural systems from land tenure and soils through to agricultural in-puts and trade.
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Hope Johnson

This chapter provides an overview of the book in terms of its scope, content, and design. It provides a summary of the institutional context in which the rules examined throughout the book operate, and clarifies some of the key terms used throughout the book.

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Hope Johnson

This chapter maps the two contested framings of how best to regulate agriculture to address food system issues that underlie debates in the area of global food system governance. These frames are necessarily broad and only provide a general guide to differing perspectives on how best to regulate food systems. This chapter then moves beyond the contestations that underpin the formulation of food and agricultural regulation to examine the meta-norms put forward as goals and guiding principles of food systems, namely food security and the right to food. It explores how these two seemingly similar norms were divergently established, and increasingly overlap conceptually and through laws and policies. To operationalise these overlaps, and draw on the useful attributes of the two key norms, this chapter posits a human rights-based approach to regulating food systems for food security. The chapter concludes by establishing components that should be reflected in the international regulatory framework for agriculture, if this first and fundamental food system activity is being regulated in ways that contribute to food security and the human right to food.

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Hope Johnson

This chapter continues with the focus on external inputs used on farms by providing an analysis of the regulatory framework for pesticides. It outlines the issues related to pesticide use and determines what a RBA in the context of pesticide regulation entails. Following this, the chapter critically analyses the main international regulatory instruments for pesticide use. These instruments span various regimes including world trade law, international labour standards, and the international chemical law regime. Commonly, these instruments are restricted in the contributions they make to food security by the difficulties of breaking social and institutional lock-in to pesticide use and development and the difficulties of regulating on-farm uses of pesticides. Furthermore, the vast majority of the regulatory instruments do not facilitate the uptake of integrated pest management, which is a widely recognised, viable alternative to pesticides.

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Hope Johnson

A book regarding the international regulation of agriculture would not be complete without considering agricultural trade law. Trade agreements affect how and where agriculture is carried out, the methods and inputs used, the income of farmers, the food choices of consumers, and the types of regulatory measures states can take. For these reasons, this chapter focuses on agricultural trade law. In doing so, it blurs the artificial distinction made in this book between agriculture and other food system activities such as distribution. The first two sections of the chapter draw out the complex relationship between trade and food security to explore the components agricultural trade agreements require to be consistent with a rights-based approach to agricultural regulation for food security. Following this is an analysis of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Agriculture in terms of its practical implications and substantive provisions. Drawing the discussions together, this chapter concludes with comprehensive, ambitious reform recommendations.

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Hope Johnson

This book began with recognition that food (in)security is a highly complex and contested concept that reforms to laws and other regulatory instruments will certainly not greatly alleviate alone. In Section 9.1, this chapter summarises the key findings as they relate to the criteria identified in Chapter 2 for a rights-based approach to agricultural regulation for food security. This section draws together overarching or common gaps, overlaps, and issues within the international regulatory framework for agriculture, which sets the basis for creative exploration of the possible directions and solutions, consistent with a human rights-based approach to agricultural regulation for food security. Accordingly, Section 9.2 explores more novel and transformative directions for the public international regulation of agriculture that could better contribute to the achievement of world food security.