32 | IAASTD Synthesis Report

crucial role they play in democratization, decentralization and the integration of farmer concerns in the design of farmer services and agricultural industries. For example,
•   AKST can assess IPR in terms of multifunctionality, con­sider issues of collective IPR and other non-IPR mecha­nisms such as prizes, cross-licensing and other means able to facilitate research and improve equity among regions. Legal frameworks can promote recognition of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources and the equitable distribution of benefits derived there from among the custodians of these resources [Global Chapter 3]. Policies, including legal frameworks that regulate access to genetic resources and the equitable distribution of benefits generated by their use, can be implemented in ways that guarantee local communities access and the right to regulate the access of others. To date it is recognized that many poor regions bear the costs of protecting biodiversity and agricultural genetic diversity yet it is the global community who benefits from these practices. Thus, new national and interna­tional legal frameworks, in tandem with the develop­ment of institutions for benefit sharing, can ensure that local communities and individual countries control ac­cess to and benefit from local genetic resources as pro­moted in the Convention on Biological Diversity and as agreed in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture through its multi­lateral system of Access and Benefit Sharing.
•   Large inequities in the tenure and access to land and water have exacerbated economic inequalities that still characterized many world regions in the world (e.g., LAC, SSA). Land reform, including improved tenure systems and equitable access to water are suggestive means to support sustainable management and simul­taneously respond to social inequalities that inhibit eco­nomic development. Such initiatives are likely to reduce the displacement of small-scale farmers, campesinos and indigenous people to urban centers or to marginal lands in the agricultural frontier. Better understanding of the communal ownership, communal exchange and innovation mechanisms is needed. Overlapping formal and informal land rights that characterize some agri­cultural systems are central to strategies to reform land holdings and relations.
•   In order to enhance a proper environment in which AKST contribute positively to development and sustain-ability goals, global equity can be enhanced by protect­ing small-scale farmers from unfair competition includ­ing from often subsidized commodities produced under conditions of economies of scale. Reasonable farm gate prices through equitable and fair access to markets and trade also are crucial for ensuring rural employ­ment as well as improving livelihoods and food security. Such prices for small-scale holders can be achieved by eliminating commodity OECD agricultural subsidies to large industrialized farmers and dumping, and by not overexposing small-scale farmers to competition from industrial   farmers   before   appropriate   institutional frameworks and infrastructure are in place. They are also a condition for effective utilization of AKST. At


the national and international level, governance mecha­nisms to respond to unfair competition and agribusi­ness accountability need to be implemented through, for example, anti-trust laws applied to financial institu­tions and the agrifood sector. One option might include creating or strengthening conditions that can guarantee farmers' rights to choose, select, and exchange seeds that are culturally and locally appropriate as well as to remove the monopoly from the privileges granted to breeders through Plant Breeders Rights through, for ex­ample, a compensatory liability regime.
•   Global equity can be enhanced by improving small-scale farmers' access to international markets. The cur­rent trade environment in which agricultural subsidies and a history of public support to farming distort inter­national prices for many key commodities can benefit from initiatives such as fair trade, organic certification, and sustainable timber certification. However, many schemes require additional skills that poorer farmers may have yet to access. In such circumstances, AKST can provide the training and support necessary to assist small-scale farmers in entering such markets.
•   A direct connection between farmers and urban con­sumers  (e.g.,  direct  marketing  and  community-sup­ported agriculture initiatives) can decrease the gap be­tween the rural and urban sector and be of benefit to poor urban consumers. This can be accomplished by strengthening services, access to urban markets, central­ized quality control, packaging and marketing to supply urban markets in the rural sector and particularly for small-scale producers. This approach is more likely to succeed if national farmers associations and their fed­erations increase their role in national politics. AKST may also contribute to the development of urban and peri-urban agriculture focusing on the poorest urban sectors [LAC] as a means to enhance equity strengthen community organizations,  support improved health, and promote food security as well as food sovereignty.
•   When addressing issues of equity with respect to access to food, nutrition, health and a healthy environment, stakeholders can make use of established international treaties, agreements and covenants. For example the is­sue of hunger eradication can be supported by engaging the right to food as enshrined in Article 11 of the Inter­national Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations. This legal instrument, together with the International Covenants of Civil and Political Rights, is essential for putting into practice the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Hu­man Rights. In a culture of rights, states are obligated to take deliberate, concrete and non-discriminatory meas­ures to eradicate hunger. To date, 146 countries are cur­rently party to this covenant and 187 have signed the FAO Council's "voluntary guidelines for the progres­sive realization of the right to adequate food" [LAC].
•   Despite their major and increasing contribution to ag­ricultural production in several regions, particularly CWANA, LAC and SSA, women are marginalized with respect to access to education, extension services, and property rights, and are under-represented in agricultur-