In light of the current global health crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant discussions on the importance of pharmaceutical patents to our daily existence, the analyses in this book (and the symposium) performs an important function in documenting the role of different sets of actors and their influences on the domestic implementation of global patent rules, access to medicines, and how these (in)actions led us to where we are today.
This commentary considers the access to food component of the draft UNIDROIT/FAO/IFAD Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts (Guide) and voices its silence on intellectual property rights (IPRs). In the past decade, foreign investors have increased the number of investments in the long-term lease of arable land, especially in Africa, and in the Global South, generally. The reasons for the choice of these locations include the availability of large portions of inexpensive agricultural land, inexpensive local labour and favourable climatic conditions for crop production. The Guide proposes more responsible investments in agriculture from public and private sector investors as a way to achieve, inter alia ‘No Poverty’ and ‘Zero Hunger’ (Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2).