The European Union's (EU) foreign trade policy has many implications for the sustainability of food systems in developing countries, heavily impacting farmers, breeders, and citizens. The unhidden promotion by the EU of strong intellectual property rights on plants affects food systems from its very basis, i.e., the seeds that are available for farmers to grow. Amongst these intellectual property rights, the main instrument that is advocated by European authorities is the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention, which provides exclusive rights to breeders over the propagating material of new plant varieties, while diminishing the rights of others to use the material for further breeding and hampering with the rights of farmers to freely save, use, exchange and sell their seeds.
Agroecology is a diverse set of agricultural practices, a field of science and a social movement. It aims to transform food systems towards greater ecological sustainability, social justice, and resilience. Both ENDS and CSO-partners around the world support farmers and pastoralists practising agroecology, both on the ground and in gathering political and financial support.
In May 2022, Minister Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs and Minister Schreinemacher for International Trade and Development Cooperation announced that also The Netherlands will work towards implementing a Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP). This means that within its Foreign Policy, the Netherlands will pay more attention to inclusivity in general and specifically to women's rights and gender equality, including LGBTIQ+. This feminist lens will be central to all aspects of foreign policy; security, trade, diplomacy and international cooperation.
To foster an inclusive process and acquire insights in what a Dutch FFP should look like, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened an internet consultation. Both ENDS welcomes the FFP and therefore gladly shares its input and suggestions.
Both ENDS will join the protest against trade treaties TTIP, CETA and TiSA on Saturday October 22nd in Amsterdam. These treaties will have negative impacts, not only in the Netherlands and Europe, but also - and maybe even more so - in developing countries.