Municipal motion for the creation and implementation of an agricultural exception

The municipal council,

  • Considers that agriculture is essential to ensure food autonomy and the right to food;
  • Considers that the current situation is marked by prices that are too low for the producers and the context of a demand shortage, also due to political and geopolitical factors at international levels;
  • Considers that the agricultural sector is characterised by the high price volatility of its products and that it falls within a specific economic model that cannot be governed solely by market forces;
  • Considers that agriculture plays a major role in cultural identity, land and regional management, the preservation of the environment and ecosystems and the preservation of food heritage;
  • Considers the importance of food security for the rights of mankind and its fundamental freedoms to be realised in full as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and other universally recognized instruments;
  • Considers that agricultural products are not goods like any other and that they should be protected, in the same way that cultural products are protected, by providing an appropriate legal regime with regulations allowing at least a partial dispensation from the principles that govern free trade;
  • Considers that both agriculture and food take many different forms because they result from local geographical and climatic conditions and that they are closely linked to the culture, the identity and the history of our societies;
  • Considers that it is necessary to take measures to adequately protect and promote agricultural pluralism;
  • Considers that the United Nations report on “the right to food, factor for change” considers the right to food as “the right of any person, alone or in a community with others, to have physical and economic access at all times to sufficient, adequate and culturally acceptable food that is produced and consumed in a sustainable manner, in order to preserve the access to food of future generations”;
  • Considers that culture benefits from strong protection at international levels notably through the adoption by UNESCO in 2005 of the Convention to protect and promote cultural diversity;
  • Considers that in the conclusions of their 2008 report, the Mission to the World Trade Organisation, the Special Reporter on the right to food, noted that the mechanisms of global governance have so far failed to ensure adequate coordination between human rights’ obligations and commercial commitments; considering also that this report calls on States to assess the impacts of trade agreements on the right to food and to ensure that no WTO commitments are undertaken that may be incompatible with their obligations concerning the right to food;
  • Considers that the Convention on biological diversity signed in Rio in 1992 and the international treaty on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture signed under the auspices of the FAO and which came into force in the summer of 2004, protect one particular aspect of the diversity of practices and agricultural products, namely, biological agricultural diversity;
  • Considers that, according to the FAO, approximately three-quarters of agricultural genetic diversity was lost during the last century due to the development of an industrial and commercial agricultural model;
  • Considers the importance of encouraging the development of sustainable agricultural practices which respect both mankind and its environment;

Consequently, the municipal council:

  • Undertakes to support local producers, located within the municipality or close to it and shall whenever possible favour local products for purchases made by the municipality or the institutions linked to it;
  • Undertakes to encourage short supply chains between local producers and local consumers, in particular by organising the distribution and the use of local agricultural products in municipal and school restaurants, retirement homes and other appropriate collective accommodation and raise the awareness of the professionals involved in meal preparation concerning the use of such products;
  • Undertakes to support the consumption of local products in the context of school meals, notably by supporting the European School Milk Programme.
  • Undertakes to encourage the consumption of local and seasonal products; and to promote the training of cooks in the use of such products within the municipal administration, schools, crèches, nursing and retirement homes located within the municipality;
  • Requests that the college shall submit an annual report to the municipal council covering the actions taken to support local agricultural products;
  • Requests that the regional Government shall support local farmers and the consumption of local agricultural products, in particular by supporting short supply chains; to support the consumption of local and seasonal products in all institutions related to the regional authority; to support the training of cooks in the use of local products;
  • Requests that the regional Government shall combat price speculation on agricultural land and facilitate access to land for the development of agricultural activities, in particular for the young generations;
  • Requests that the regional Government and the federal Government shall defend the principle of “agricultural exception” before the European Council in all international treaties concluded by the European Union and provide for the possibility of restrictions on the international trade of agricultural products, by promoting the right of States and State communities to define their own food and agricultural policies, to ensure the food security of their population, preserve their agricultural model and achieve their goals in terms of human development;
  • Requests that the regional Government and the federal Government shall defend the principle of a strong commitment to agriculture aiming at the creation of a new agricultural model focused on responsibility, well-being and sustainability, before the European Council;
  • Calls on the regional Government, the federal Government, and the European Commission, Council and Parliament to consider the right to food as a fundamental right for every human being and agriculture as one of the foundations of our society. It is not an industry like any other it is the source of food that is essential for life and people’s health and forms part of the cultural foundation of human societies. In this sense, it must be protected to ensure the food security of present and future generations.
  • Calls on the regional Government, the federal Government, and the European Commission, Council and Parliament to recognize the plurality of agricultural practices and food traditions. This diversity must be protected to enable the different agricultural methods to coexist and contribute to food security and the enhancement of natural heritage and human know-how, that are the result of the work of many generations. Free access to seed must be promoted in order to increase genetic diversity;
  • Calls on the regional Government, the federal Government, and the European Commission, Council and Parliament to implement the specific measures that must be taken to support local, healthy agricultural and food production, with respect for the environment and under conditions which guarantee the respect for the working conditions and the payment of fair compensation to those who work the land:
  • Calls on the regional Government, the federal Government, the European Commission, Council and Parliament to ensure the implementation of specific regulatory mechanisms to protect domestic markets from international price volatility. Which also requires the adoption of criteria favourable to local production as concerns public procurement. In particular, in the criteria which concern the awarding of a public contract, criteria related to geographical proximity must be taken into account. Several elements can be used in this context: environmental impact, product freshness, the impact on the local economy, etc.
  • Calls on the regional Government, the federal Government, and the European Commission, Council and Parliament to promote the respect of human rights, and also to harmonise within the same market the conditions of agricultural production on health, environmental and social levels, as well as ensuring that similar controls are applied. When such harmonisation is not possible the application of modulated customs duties, to create the competitive advantage required, should be provided for.
  • Requests that the regional Government, the federal Government, and the European Commission, Council and Parliament adopt a Convention on the promotion and the protection of agricultural practices and products based on the principle of “agricultural exception”, in order to enable food and agriculture to benefit from a framework agreement separate from those of the World Trade Organisation and greater protection similar to that provided for cultural goods and services under the aegis of UNESCO.