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Seeds and Variety as Commons in Polycentric Dynamics

IASC Workshop in Oldenburg, Germany

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Many of us will be aware of the growing privatization of rights to seeds and knowledge over varieties by large companies in order to capitalize on the sales of seeds, through interrupting their reproductive capacities. An outstanding project “Rightseeds” is holding a small conference on a commons’ based response to cater for freely available seeds and varieties and not least provide outlets for re-initiated breeding by farmers themselves. As we speak, worldwide networks of commons based seeds and varieties production by farmers emerge – an important distinguishing factor are property rights associated with the seeds produced. What are the characteristics of the apparently polycentric governance arrangement for producing varieties (i.e. knowledge commons), what are the relations between initiatives, what dynamics unfold and how do they impact corporations (and potentially state-facilitated/ or -accepted) emergence of monocentric or oligopolistic governance of seeds and varieties worldwide. Can polycentric governance live up to providing global public goods and that way also rid states and the international community of their responsibilities in these regards? Many questions and indeed a very exciting research field from the perspective of polycentric governance. For more, visit: https://www.rightseeds.de/en/ and watch out for the project’s proceedings!