Session I - II - III

Session I

Knowledge and food rights: innovation, information, participation

The first session will deal with the legal revolution engendered by information and access to knowledge in the agro-food sector. This is the case of the invention of 'rights to know' as instruments enabling individual choices in the marketplace, either based on scientific, ethical or religious preferences; for participatory rights in food policy making, or in food cooperation and governance; and, for certifications of material or symbolic components of food. All these new legal constructs involve both a reinterpretation of most existing and novel consumers' rights as citizens' rights, and highlight different global and local visions of both consumers and citizens' identities.

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Session II

Food safety and innovative legal instruments

The second session will focus on safety and the scientific and social uncertainties surrounding old and new agro-food technologies. In the U.S. and the EU, ideas, procedures, and standards of safety and precaution have been conceptually framed and implemented differently. In China, and in other developed and emerging countries, existing and recently-introduced cultures and practices of safety have been put in place. Also, issues of safety are becoming widely and increasingly connected to issues of scientific openness and transparency and to consumers and citizens' confidence towards scientific and political institutions while emerging visions of accountability, responsibility, and liability are proposed.

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Session III

Innovating legal protection of new and traditional knowledge and technology

The third session will assess the regulatory perspectives in promoting and rewarding innovation. The need to ensure and encourage ideas and inventions in agriculture and food production has to face and overcome the contested issues surrounding patents, with their impacts on research and the market. This situation has provided incentives to thinking of novel, more open models of protection of claims, both traditional and new, related to agriculture and food.

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