Unidroit Hosts Colloquium on Private Law and Agriculture

In a historic building just off Rome’s Piazza Venezia, a group of legal experts and government representatives gathered at the headquarters of UNIDROIT on November 8 for a colloquium to discuss private law aspects of agricultural production.   UNIDROIT, also known as the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, is involved in modernizing, harmonizing and coordinating private and commercial law between States.

Karen Johnson, the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, delivered opening remarks and welcomed experts who traveled from across the globe to discuss legal issues in the global challenge of food security and sustainable agricultural production. Chargé Johnson shared the podium with UNIDROIT’s President Alberto Mazzoni and Secretary General José Angelo Estrada Faria. They were joined by FAO’s Legal Counsel Louis Gagnon and IFAD’s General Counsel Dr. Rutsel Martha.

“The global community can and will find effective solutions to the food  challenges facing our planet,” Johnson said. “Failure is not an option!”
Last week, the earth’s population exceeded seven billion people, and the United Nations estimates a need to increase global food production by 70 percent before the year 2050. Meeting this demand is of paramount importance and the colloquium explored the potential for UNIDROIT to use its unique competencies in private and commercial law to address gaps in agricultural financing and meet global food security objectives.
Some potential areas of work focused on helping developing countries bridge the gap between customary law and formal law with regards to private contracts. In addition to the private law aspects of contracts, land tenure, property rights, social responsibility, investment and financing were all discussed.

The United States sent a delegation from Washington, D.C. to participate in the meeting, which included Dr. Gregory Myers, USAID, who serves as the Chair of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) Working Group for Voluntary Guidelines for Land Tenure.