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International Forum for the Rights of Peasants to be hosted by Ukraine in December 2023

On 12 December 2023, Ukraine will host the International Forum “SMALL PRODUCERS ON THE GUARD OF FOOD SECURITY: UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas”. The Forum will take place in the National Academy of Science of Ukraine in Kyiv and is being organised by the Ukrainian Rural Development Network (URDN) and it’s partners. It will include the participation of peasants, farmers, national and UN officials, academia, civil society and many others.

Registration to the event and language:

The Forum will benefit from simultaneous interpretation in Ukrainian and English and will allow online participation of interested parties.

Registration for the event is mandatory via this registration link.

Contact phone: +380982284819

Detailed Agenda of the Forum:

Agenda 2023_ENG
Download PDF • 945KB

Short context of the Forum:

Since the invasion of Ukraine by the russian federation, the human rights of all people in Ukraine involved in food production, distribution and consumption are being violated on an existential level. The impact of this ongoing war on food security has been catastrophic, affecting the poor at national, regional and global level, generating more hunger, instability and inequality. As we stand in the middle of a humanitarian crisis inflicted by the weaponizing of food, we are building solutions that address human rights as the core values of our society.

In 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP). Ukrainian peasants have been involved in the process of negotiation, successfully convincing the Ukrainian government to vote in favor of UNDROP in the Human Rights Council. The UNDROP’s provisions are now being implemented in many countries through public policies recommendations, trainings, awareness-raising activities, new court practices, and other actions in the daily life of communities. In Ukraine, this instrument has been used by peasants to articulate their solutions to the current crisis and to open political dialogue with decision makers.

Recently, the Human Rights Council approved the establishment of a Working Group of experts with the purpose of monitoring and promoting the implementation of the Rights of Peasants at global level. Ukraine was one of the important supportive countries of this initiative.

Ukrainian peasants have been struggling on the food frontline to protect the survival of their communities. Peasants play an essential role in food security, combating hunger and malnutrition, preventing the negative effects of climate change, preserving biodiversity and contributing to the development of rural areas. In this sense, the Declaration is a fundamental legal instrument for strengthening the sustainability of food systems in the context of the multidimensional challenges of our time, aggravated by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The International Forum “SMALL PRODUCERS ON THE GUARD OF FOOD SECURITY: UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas” seeks to raise awareness and exchange views of all stakeholders on the implementation of the UNDROP's provisions in the process of resilience during war and post-war recovery of the Ukrainian agricultural sector to enhance food security, increase peasants' welfare and sustainable rural development. This Forum is continuing the work initiated by Ukrainian peasants and civil society in 2022, which resulted in a Resolution of proposals in support of small peasants farms and farming households in wartime and post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.

Preliminary Agenda sections of the Forum:

  1. Opening session. The importance of the Peasant-farmer model for the post-war economic rebuilding of Ukraine.

  2. First session. UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants. Five years since it’s adoption by the UN General Assembly. General overview of UNDROP and the process of its implementation, including establishing a platform or mechanism for monitoring peasants rights in Ukraine. How to use the mandate of Working Group of experts on the Rights of Peasants, for Eastern Europe?

  3. Second session. Food security in the time of war: challenges and opportunities. Discussing violations of key peasants’ rights in Ukraine today and examples of resilience.

  4. Third session. Implementation of peasants’ rights in post-war agricultural and rural development. This section is aimed at discussing the responsibilities of institutions at country and international level. The session is also opened for proposals on supporting family farming to ensure food security at grassroot level (the war has shown that this is the most effective way to survive under isolation or occupation).

  5. Fourth session. Draft resolution of the participants at the Forum. Plans for the future: Conclusions and appeals of the Rights Holders, the Civil Society and academia - to the Government and International Institutions.

Preparation process and background materials

In preparation of this Forum, the organisers together with local partners have collected and analyzed data from the rural communities, conducting numerous interviews, sociological surveys and consultations with Rights Holders and with relevant experts. In addition, analytical data was prepared regarding public policies processes relevant for all aspects of live of rural people. This work has resulted in the publication of two categories of publications:

a) A Manual on the UN Declaration of the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas for Ukraine: popular presentation and recommendations for implementation in national policies. This is the first national manual on UNDROP at national level produced and published in the region. The Manual can be consulted for the moment only in Ukrainian language.

b) a series of Bulletins dedicated to monitoring key rights of peasants in Ukraine. They include an overview of public initiatives, expert analysis of relevant public policies, assessments of the impact of the war on peasants’ rights and recommendations for the implementation of UNDROP in Ukraine.

Many thanks to all Ukrainian peasants and rural people who claim and defend peasants rights every day in the fields! Many thanks to all the people, groups, organisations and institutions who got involved in the organisation of this Forum and support the Rights of Peasants in Ukraine and in Eastern Europe at this crucial times.

Pictures from field visits in Nalyvaikivka, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine. November 2022.



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