Land Commercialization, Gendered Agrarian Transformation and the Right to Food (DEMETER)

Started in January 2015

A number of forces – including transnational land acquisitions, increased national investment in agriculture, migration patterns, environmental concerns and laws and policies at different levels – have come together in recent years to put commercial pressure on land in the South and encourage its commodification. This has accelerated processes of agrarian transition, affecting rural livelihoods and the right to food.

The outcomes of these processes differ for women and men. Evidence shows that food insecurity is gendered and that women and girls are more likely to suffer from undernourishment. There is further evidence that women do not gain as much as men from agricultural modernization or from large-scale industrial agriculture. Studies demonstrate, however, that household food security and child nutrition improve when women have greater control over income, land and decision-making.

The Project

DEMETER (Droits et Egalité pour une Meilleure Economie de la Terre) is a six-year project, launched in 2015 and funded by the Research for Development Programme (r4d) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. It examines the relationship between the right to food and gender equality in ensuring food security in the context of land commercialization in two case-study countries, Cambodia and Ghana.

Objectives

Its overall objective is to strengthen knowledge about the relationship between food security, the right to food and gender equality in order to empower women and men to claim their rights and encourage governments to facilitate their realization. The project also aims to strengthen awareness of the relevance of rights-based, gender-equitable approaches to food security among stakeholders at the local, national and international levels through training, policy dialogue and publications.

Coordinating the Human Rights Component

As a co-coordinator – along with the Centre on Gender and Global Change at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana and Center for Development Oriented Research in Agriculture and Livelihood Systems in Cambodia – the Geneva Academy is leading the human rights components of this research. This is in partnership with development economists, political scientists, agronomists and anthropologists in Cambodia, Ghana and Switzerland.

In September 2015, the Geneva Academy organized a workshop on right to food indicators, which brought together DEMETER researchers and researchers from the Towards Food Sustainability project, also co-coordinated by the Geneva Academy and funded by the Swiss r4d programme. The workshop examined ways of measuring the realization of the right to food in the four countries studied by the projects (Bolivia, Cambodia, Ghana, and Kenya). It was significant not only for its substantive findings, but also for the fact that it was the first time in the history of the food security r4d funding scheme that two projects have held a joint event. Collaboration and exchanges will continue throughout the lifetime of both projects.

Expected Outputs

Outputs of the project include: policy and legal briefings, training for community members and policy-makers, academic publications and presentations at conferences and other national and international events related to gender equality and food security.

RESEARCHERS

Picture of Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Senior Research Fellow

Joanna Bourke Martignoni's research areas include the right to food, land commercialization, climate change, the right to education and gender equality.

Picture of Christophe Golay

Christophe Golay

Senior Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Christophe Golay's expertise relates to economic, social and cultural rights, the right to food and the rights of peasants.

Publications

Cover page of the Transnational Legal Theory Journal

Engendering the Right to Food? International Human Rights Law, Food Security and the Rural Woman

January 2019

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Transnational Legal Theory Journal

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Cover of the Resarch Brief: Gender Equality and the Right to Food

Gender Equality and the Right to Food

January 2017

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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NEWS AND EVENTS

Portrait of Joanna Bourke Martignoni News

Meet our Researchers: Joanna Bourke Martignoni

February 2020

Dr Joanna Bourke Martignoni is one of our Senior Research Fellows. She is involved in several research projects dealing with gender, the right to food and land commercialization, as well as with gender equality in the context of business activities, and on economic, social and cultural rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Workers drying freshly plucked chilies for further processing at Gabbur, Raichur district, Karnataka, India. News

Article Examines How UN Human Rights Mechanisms Address Gendered Inequalities in Access to and Rights over Food and Land

January 2019

The article Engendering the Right to Food? International Human Rights Law, Food Security and the Rural Woman, written by our Senior Research Fellow Dr Joanna Bourke Martignoni, examines how United Nations human rights mechanisms address the role and status of rural women in the context of food security and the rights to food and land.

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Participants in the DEMETER research project workshop in Ethiopia News

Agricultural Commercialization, the Right to Food and Gender Equality Discussed in Addis Ababa

June 2018

Our two research fellows, Dr Joanna Bourke Martignoni and Dr Christophe Golay, spent a week in Ethiopia to discuss the mid-term findings of the six year research project on the relationship between agricultural and land commercialization, the right to food and gender equality (DEMETER).

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Coordinators of the conference at the Geneva Academy News

Online Meeting on Gender-Responsive Cities Closes a Conference Series on Inclusive Cities

June 2020

A two-day online expert meeting on gender-responsive cities closed last week a series of three online conferences on inclusive cities aimed at informing UN-Habitat Strategic Plan for 2020-2023.

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Portrait of Adriana Bessa News

Meet our Researchers: Adriana Bessa

March 2020

Dr Adriana Bessa is a Senior Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy. She is involved in research projects dealing with the right to food and the sustainability of food systems, and the rights of peasants. She also coordinates a training course on the protection of human rights and the environment.

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Small irrigation system with polluted water in N’Zerekore, Guinea Training

The Protection of Human Rights and the Environment

23- November 2020

This training course provides participants with a deep understanding of the international legal framework for the protection of human rights and the environment as well as in-depth knowledge of how to promote environmental protection through existing human rights mechanisms. The 2020 edition will have a specific focus on water pollution and scarcity.

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A farmer in her field, DRC Training

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

7- December 2020

From its adoption to its content and implementation, this training course provides a comprehensive overview of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants, as well as tools to protect and promote the rights of peasants, rural women, fisher, pastoralist and nomadic communities, as well as agricultural workers.

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Senegal, Ziguinchor area, Bignona Department, Kataba 1 municipality, Kouram village. A woman works in a vegetable garden as part of an economic security programme. Project

Towards Food Sustainability: Reshaping the Coexistence of Different Food Systems in South America and Africa

Started in February 2015

This six-year project aims to provide evidence-based knowledge for the formulation and promotion of innovative strategies and policy options that improve food sustainability.

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Madagascar, Miarinarivo district. Women transplanting rice. Project

The Rights of Peasants

Started in May 2008

After having provided academic support to the negotiation of the UN Declaration for ten years, this research project focuses on the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

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Cover page of the manual Publication

#ESCR AND #SDGs: Practical Manual on the Role of UN Human Rights Mechanisms in Monitoring the SDGs that Seek to Realize Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

published on July 2020

Christophe Golay

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Cover of the publication Publication

The Role Of Human Rights Mechanisms In Monitoring The United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Peasants

published on February 2020

Christophe Golay

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