At its 88th session held in 2009, the Governing Council examined a memorandum prepared by the Secretariat containing a certain number of considerations as regards the possibility of UNIDROIT embarking on a new field of activity centring around the interaction between private law and economic and social development (UNIDROIT 2009 - C.D. (88) 7 Add.6). The Council agreed that UNIDROIT´s broad mandate in the field of private law gave the Institute a wide range of opportunities which would permit it to contribute to the Development Goals established by the international community, in particular in the field of agricultural investments and production. This would also permit any synergies with other inter-governmental organisations to be explored further and enable joint projects to be developed with some of them.
At its 89th session held in 2010, the Governing Council considered a document submitted by the Secretariat on "Private Law Aspects of Agricultural Finance" (UNIDROIT 2010 - C.D. (89) 7 Add. 4), which stressed in particular that little attention had been devoted to the question of "the extent to which the various fields of private law that affect investment decisions, financing and marketing mechanisms for agricultural commodities in most countries promote sustainable agricultural investment, facilitate the mobilisation of capital for rural enterprises or favour rational and efficient choices for marketing of agricultural commodities." The Governing Council agreed that the Secretariat should pursue the preliminary research with a view to identifying the areas in which UNIDROIT could make a meaningful contribution, in particular with a view to supplementing the work conducted by other organisations. The Council decided to recommend the inclusion of aspects of the private law of agricultural finance in the Work Programme of the Institute and this recommendation was endorsed by the UNIDROIT General Assembly at its 67th session on 1 December 2010 (UNIDROIT 2010 - A.G. (67)9 rev.).
The Secretariat continued its informal consultations with the two Rome-based organisations specialised in development and/or agricultural finance - namely, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - and participated in two meetings organised by these organisations, respectively in March and April 2011. In addition, the Secretariat organised a Colloquium on "Promoting Investment in Agricultural Production: Private Law Aspects" in Rome from 8 to 10 November 2011, with a view to exploring the nature of the contribution that UNIDROIT might make to global efforts intended to face the objectives of food security, taking into account the specific mandate of the organisation and its expertise in formulating uniform private law rules, in synergy with the multilateral organisations working for agricultural development.
- Colloquium on “Promoting Investment in Agricultural Production: Private Law Aspects” in Rome from 8 to 10 November 2011 – Summary report prepared by the UNIDROIT Secretariat
- Acts of the Colloquium are being published in the Uniform Law Review 2012-1/2 – Table of contents
Building upon the contributions made at the November 2011 Colloquium as well as on consultations with potential partner multilateral organisations, the Governing Council of UNIDROIT, at its 91st session held in Rome in May 2012, decided the following course of action as regards future subjects that may be developed in the area of private law and agricultural development:
(a) to authorise the Secretariat to proceed to the establishment of a Study Group for the preparation of an international guidance document to contract farming arrangements and to invite FAO, IFAD and other interested international Organisations to participate in its work; (b) to authorise the Secretariat to pursue – resources permitting – its consultations and preliminary work with a view to the possible preparation, in the future, of an international guidance document on land investment contracts, taking account, in particular, of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts; (c) to authorise the Secretariat to monitor – resources permitting developments at the international and national level in respect of reform and modernisation of land tenure regimes; and to take note of possible future projects in respect of the legal structure of agricultural enterprises and of an international guidance document to agricultural financing, with a decision to be taken at a later date, in light of the work which will by then have been carried out by Unidroit in the field of agriculture; (d) to mandate the Secretariat to promote – resources permitting – those Unidroit instruments in the area of finance that are of particular relevance to agricultural financing, in particular the UNIDROIT Conventions on International Financial Leasing and on International Factoring, as well as the UNIDROIT Model Law on Leasing.