Nineteenth Session

Rome, 13-16 April 2005

Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD)
and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs)

Item 4 of the Provisional Agenda

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

1. The present document has been prepared for consideration by the Committee on Agriculture (COAG). The recommendation that SARD be a standing agenda item of COAG every four years was made at the 16th Session of COAG in March 2001; this recommendation was subsequently endorsed by FAO Council in June 2001. At its 17th Session in April 2003, the Committee also requested that a review of FAO’s work on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) be presented at its forthcoming Session as an element of the SARD standing item.

2. This document summarizes the main lessons learned over the past decade about SARD and how to achieve it; highlights the centrality of FAO´s commitment to the goal of sustainable agriculture and rural development within its Strategic Framework 2000-2015 and to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); presents a framework for giving greater coherence to the FAO portfolio of SARD-related activities, with special reference to experience gained including with GAPs; summarizes the achievements of the SARD Initiative, launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and facilitated by FAO in its role as Task Manager for Chapter 14; and sets out key issues for COAG consideration.

II. The evolving context for implementing Agenda 21, Chapter 14 (SARD)

3. The first Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development - UNCED), convened in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, incorporated the idea of SARD in Chapter 14 of its comprehensive Plan for Action for the 21st Century (Agenda 21). The concept of sustainable development had been introduced in the 1987 report of the Brundtland Commission on Environment and Development as a means of shifting attention away from narrow sectoral interests and towards an approach that comprehensively embraced environmental, social and economic goals. In 1991, the SARD concept was put forward by the FAO/Netherlands Conference on Agriculture and the Environment, held at Hertogenbosch (den Bosch), as a framework for focusing greater attention on sustainability issues within agricultural and rural development processes in both developed and developing countries.

4. Early efforts by FAO, as UN Task Manager for Chapter 14, focused on trying to develop a consensus amongst concerned stakeholders on the conceptual framework for implementing SARD. By the time of the Earth Summit+5 in 1997, it seemed that there would be difficulty in implementing the twelve programme areas defined in Chapter 14 of Agenda 21 in an integrated manner and in monitoring progress. However, as the period from 1997 to 2002 progressed, a number of approaches which sought to implement parts of the SARD agenda were mainstreamed by FAO and other development practitioners, and SARD came to be seen increasingly as an overarching goal, achievement of which would also bring success with respect to the MDGs and related targets.

5. At the WSSD (Rio+10), held in Johannesburg in 2002, Chapter 14 was reaffirmed as a valid framework for action on SARD, and renewed international commitments were made to take concrete action to achieve this goal.

6. SARD, as originally conceived, had multiple dimensions: that of the sustainability of the food chains (from the producers to the consumers, with all the steps and interfaces related to input supply, processing and marketing as well as primary production); that of the sustainability of the use of land and water resources in time and space; and that of trade interacting with sustainable agricultural and rural development processes to assure adequate livelihoods and food security within and across regions. These issues remain valid, but the environment within which they are now to be addressed has changed.

7. Today, the world is committed to address the challenges confronting processes of economic and social development in a human rights context, with a focus on eradicating poverty and hunger (MDG 1), promoting human resources development (MDGs 2–6), ensuring environmental sustainability (MDG 7), and establishing a global partnership for development (MDG 8). Challenges which SARD-related work will have to take into account within this new framework include: globalization and trade regimes, the growth and concentration of private agro-industrial enterprises, commercialization of agriculture, the livestock revolution, urbanization, the information technology revolution, restructuring of the institutional architecture for rural development (withdrawal of the state, growth of civil society), climate change and volatility, increasing prevalence of health pandemics, conflicts and complex emergencies, and the burgeoning productivity of science-based innovations.

III. The place of SARD within FAO’s Strategic Framework and the UN System’s Commitment to the Millennium Development Goals

8. Within FAO, sustainability was mainstreamed into FAO’s Strategic Framework, 2000-2015, endorsed by the FAO Conference in 1999. In two of the Organization’s three global goals, SARD and sustainable utilization of natural resources are specifically mentioned:

Thus much of FAO’s work contributes to SARD in one way or another. However, most of the Organization’s direct SARD-related action is linked to the three following Corporate Strategies and Strategic Objectives:

    Corporate Strategy D also states explicitly that: “FAO will continue to assist the global community in addressing natural resources management and conservation issues through the implementation of Agenda 21, and in particular through the promotion of sustainable agricultural and rural development.”

9. Adoption of the MDGs following the Millennium Summit in 2000 established a system-wide set of targets, which FAO is incorporating into its strategic and medium-term planning processes. Among the eight MDGs, Goals 1, 7 and 8 (as referred to above) are also primary objectives of FAO’s SARD-related activities. Through action programmes such as Education for Rural People, HIV/AIDS, Household Food Security and Community Nutrition and Women and the Environment, FAO also contributes simultaneously to SARD and to Goal 2 (achieve universal primary education), Goal 3 (empower women and promote gender equality), Goal 4 (reduce child mortality), Goal 5 (reduce maternal mortality) and Goal 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases).

IV. Highlights of FAO’s SARD-related Work Programme

10. In order to prepare FAO’s contribution to the WSSD, the FAO Secretariat created an Interdepartmental Task Force on SARD (SARD-ITF) in 2002. In view of the need for an internal mechanism to ensure that FAO's WSSD follow-up responsibilities related to implementation of Chapter 14 were met, the Assistant Director-General, Sustainable Development Department, who coordinates all of FAO's UN-system obligations with respect to Agenda 21, agreed to its continuation. In addition to ensuring that FAO's SARD-related obligations to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and to COAG were being met, the SARD-ITF has recognized a need to: (i) bring greater coherence and focus to FAO’s SARD-related work; (ii) facilitate FAO’s participation in the SARD Initiative (see Section V); and (iii) develop an FAO communication strategy for SARD. Tasks (i) and (ii) have received the greatest attention to date. Although individual units already support SARD through publications, meetings and advocacy actions, it is felt that a housewide communication strategy for SARD would have greater impact; developing and implementing such a strategy will be a priority for the 2006-2007 biennium. Recognizing the value of the SARD-ITF, FAO now plans to regularize it as a continuing mechanism for assuring effective delivery of FAO's rapidly evolving SARD-related work programme.

11. To accomplish the first task, the SARD-ITF has identified three programme thrusts, each associated with one of the SARD-related Strategic Objectives (SO) of FAO. These are: Thrust One: Sustainable Livelihoods (SO A.1); Thrust Two: Sustainable Intensification of Integrated Production Systems (SO C.2); and Thrust Three: Integrated Natural Resources Management (SO D.1).

12. An inventory of programme entities associated with the three SARD programme thrusts has been drawn up, based on the Medium Term Plan (MTP) for 2006-2011. It includes all entities that are linked to Strategic Objectives A.1, C.2 and D.1, except those that cover technical support services to member countries, secretariat services for the CGIAR Science Council, the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR), the UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security, and the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS). Each entity is attributed to the SO to which the largest share of budget resources is allocated in the MTP, and thus appears only once, despite usually being linked to more than one SO.

13. Within each thrust, programme entities have been further clustered according to the Chapter 14 Programme Area to which they most directly relate. Broader rural development issues to be addressed by FAO’s SARD-related programmes, as proposed by COAG and endorsed by Council in 2001, have been taken into account through their incorporation in the relevant Chapter 14 Programme Areas. Emerging issues for SARD that have been identified by the FAO Secretariat since 2001, together with linked MDGs, are also included in the broadened SARD Programme Areas. These are shown in Table 1. Broadened SARD Programme Areas and Priority Areas for Inter-disciplinary Action (PAIAs) associated with each of FAO’s SARD programme thrusts are presented in Table 2, while the content of FAO’s SARD-related work programme is shown in Table 3.

14. Figure 1 illustrates the relationships between the SARD goal, MDGs 1 and 7, and the FAO SARD Programme Thrusts and Broadened Programme Areas of Chapter 14, Agenda 21, as they are defined in the annexed tables.

Figure 1. SARD-MDG Links

AGENDA 21 GOAL Undisplayed Graphic

(central to FAO mandate)


15. Many of FAO’s most successful SARD-related activities in recent years have involved development and field application of holistic, participatory approaches. Within each Programme Thrust, priorities that reflect this finding are recommended for implementation in 2006-2007 and beyond. The approach set out here acknowledges the continued relevance of the Chapter 14 programme areas, but provides a framework for implementing them in an integrated manner by articulating and promoting SARD good practices under all three thrusts. The recommended priorities are:

Thirteen of the organization’s PAIAs are concerned with aspects of SARD (see Table 2); however, the three most implicated in these priority action areas are the PAIAs on livelihoods (LHOO), integrated production systems (PROD) and biological diversity (BIOD). Examples of FAO’s SARD-related activities that illustrate the dynamic and evolving nature of the work programme in each of these proposed priority action areas, as well as their links to the fulfilment of the MDGs, are highlighted below.


From Lempira Sur...

16. FAO has been implementing a series of innovative, Dutch-funded sustainable development projects in the impoverished Lempira Sur region of Honduras since 1988. Local farmers have worked with project extension staff to evolve sustainable agroforestry farming systems as alternatives to hillside slash-and-burn, and these have proved both more productive and more drought-resistant than before.

17. Thus household food security for the over 4 000 farmers using the technique is now assured. In recent years, farmers in Lempira Sur have also been helped in other ways, through a broad range of support services provided to their communities to enable them to diversify sources of livelihood, develop new enterprises and manage change. Because of its success, the project area now represents a model of sustainable agriculture and rural development for the entire Central American sub-region, and has attracted support from other donors for more widespread replication. Livelihoods Diversification and Entreprise Development

18. Lempira Sur was one of the model projects presented to the Inter-Agency Forum on Operationalizing Participatory Ways of Applying Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches held in Siena, Italy in 2000. This Forum, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), was organized by FAO in collaboration with an informal network of Rome-based UN agency staff interested in participatory approaches to promote sustainable livelihoods. One outcome of the Siena Forum has been the DFID-funded Livelihood Support Programme (LSP) within FAO. The LSP works with inter-sectoral groups of FAO professional staff, testing team approaches and working on the improvement of methods for implementing sustainable livelihoods principles in FAO interventions at the country level.

19. LSP teams are currently implementing five field outreach sub-programmes. One of these, the sub-programme on livelihoods diversification and enterprise development (LDED), builds on lessons learned from earlier projects with a strong livelihoods component, such as the Lempira Sur project described above. Start-up activities in 15 countries have included multistakeholder workshops to identify self-help strategies, action-research, guidelines for business planning, training in business and financial skills, participatory market appraisals, reports on good LDED practices emerging from the Women and Water Resource Management (WIN) activities in Nepal, Zambia and Cambodia, and strategy papers on enterprise development in emergency situations. Six local Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), three local enterprise development organizations and two research institutes have been involved in implementation, with eight technical units in FAO, the World Food Programme, GTZ and the Netherlands Development Organization providing technical and financial support.

20. LDED has been taken up by the livelihoods PAIA as a priority action area for the coming biennium; the future work programme will address needs identified during the initial round of fieldwork. This work is expected to generate observable improvements in the livelihoods of beneficiary populations, and consequent reduction in the prevalence of poverty and hunger in their districts by 2015. It represents just one of several programmes being implemented by FAO to strengthen livelihoods and reduce poverty sustainably. Others that have already begun to have significant impact and offer lessons for wider replication are the Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme and the Pro-Poor Livestock Facility, both funded by DFID.


From Farming Systems...

21. An important feature of FAO’s multisectoral GAP approach is the focus on adapting global GAP principles to local conditions. FAO’s pioneering work on farming systems provides a framework for doing this.

22. In 2000 FAO and the World Bank (WB) jointly published the Synthesis and Overview of its Global Farming Systems Study: Challenges to 20301. This study was originally undertaken to provide an agricultural perspective to the revision of the WB's Rural Development Strategy. It was based on many years of specialized work within FAO, WB and other national and international institutions, and synthesized findings from more than 20 case studies from around the world. In 2001 FAO and the WB published the results in the form of a book, Farming Systems and Poverty: Improving Farmers’ Livelihoods in a Changing World. The book asks the crucial questions: what are likely to be the most successful strategies for small farmers in farming systems that are judged to have the greatest potential for poverty and hunger reduction and economic growth, and what sort of initiatives can best help farmers to realize them? Since its publication, the book has found widespread acceptance in the community of experts working on SARD, and has become a centrepiece of the publication series on the farming systems approach that is being promoted by FAO through the PROD PAIA. Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs)2

23. Good practices to reduce land degradation are a precondition for sustainable intensification of integrated production systems. Conservation agriculture, organic agriculture and integrated soil biological management are three examples being promoted by FAO. Through the SPFS, the PROD PAIA is working to explore with local farmers in southwestern Burkina Faso ways to optimize crop/pasture/livestock systems for income generation and soil fertility improvements, using conservation agriculture and integrated pest management as the basis for sustainability, and farmer field schools to engage farmers with their own knowledge and experience. Smallholders producing bananas and mango for export market are also adopting GAP protocols required for access to expanding markets. This is a good example of how SARD-related experiences and invested efforts can be funnelled through the SPFS to national programmes.

24. The importance of farmer access to growing segregated markets and the relevance of GAPs for this are being more widely appreciated across FAO as a result of shared learning from internal and external workshops. There are aspects of the SPFS such as "sustainable intensification" and "sustainable water management" that need stronger technical support and long-term indicators of sustainability, especially now that governments are beginning to commit to large-scale expansion programmes. Using the GAP process, FAO can provide advice to SPFS national projects that respond to this need for major farming systems in various agroecological zones.

25. FAO has long been engaged in supporting farmers, governments and their extension services to define, use and promote sustainable agricultural practices. More recently, in response to growing consumer concerns that agricultural production practices could adversely affect sustainability of the natural resource base and/or the quality and safety of food products at their point of entry into the food chain, FAO began work on defining its approach to Good Agricultural Practices. FAO’s efforts to develop a multisectoral GAP approach fit well within the more comprehensive framework of SARD. SARD is concerned with good practices in both agriculture and non-agriculture sectors, and with the sustainability and equity of both processes and technologies; GAPs cover the subset of SARD good practices that need to be adopted at farm level, with specific attention to the resulting safety and quality of food.

26. GAP work in FAO was first presented to COAG in April 2003. While concluding that the concept and approach needed further refinement, COAG broadly supported further GAP activities by FAO. The FAO GAP approach presented in this paper builds on the results of activities carried out since 2003, and seeks to address concerns and respond to guidance received from the Committee. Its basic premise is that adoption of agricultural practices which protect the environment and ensure the quality and safety of food as well as increasing productivity should enable farmers to increase their incomes from existing markets and take advantage of new market opportunities, thus achieving sustainable improvements in their livelihoods that are in accord with MDGs 1 and 7.

Relationship between GAPs and existing regulatory standards on food and agriculture

27. An important issue raised at the 17th Session of COAG was the risk that the development of GAPs could result in the emergence of yet another regulatory system with additional costs and the creation of new non-tariff barriers to trade. FAO’s approach on GAPs is one that is non prescriptive, and would not lead to the development of new international mandatory standards or codes. Further, it should not affect the definition or scope of good agricultural practices as they appear in existing texts, for example the Codex Alimentarius which establishes GAP standards as a basis for elaborating Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for pesticides. Instead, in the GAP approach that FAO is promoting, local-level GAPs defined by concerned stakeholders would draw inspiration both from texts already existing in international regulatory frameworks such as the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Codex Alimentarius and the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), and from the broader GAP principles that promote the voluntary use of agricultural practices for achieving environmental, economic and social sustainability in different local settings.

GAPs as an interdisciplinary action area

28. In recent years, experts and government services traditionally concerned with food safety and quality have increasingly promoted a risk-prevention approach to food safety that includes GAPs as well as Good Veterinary, Manufacturing and Hygienic Practices. In their view, food safety can best be achieved by considering the whole food chain and not only inspections at the end of the chain. At the same time, extension services, research institutions and FAO units providing advice to farmers on sound agronomic and animal husbandry, fisheries or forestry practices and sustainable management of natural resources have been looking at whether the adoption of GAPs by farmers could provide them with new market opportunities, and if so how.

29. GAP work in FAO has already proved effective in helping production experts to better understand how to incorporate food safety and quality requirements into their technical recommendations, and in helping food safety experts to better understand broader sustainability considerations at farm level. Likely future benefits from defining and promoting sustainable agricultural practices that include food safety and quality considerations as well as other sustainability dimensions, include: for FAO, better integration of its technical work in response to Members’ needs; for farmers, better access to relevant technical advice; and for society, increased adoption of economically, environmentally and socially sustainable farming practices.

30. FAO's multisectoral approach to GAP involves: (i) developing a minimal set of voluntary principles for good agricultural practices, based on guidance provided by COAG with respect to the Good Agricultural Practices for Selected Agricultural Components, presented as an Annex to the COAG document on GAPs in 2003; (ii) based on these principles, promoting multistakeholder dialogue and capacity building to facilitate identification of location-specific practices and development of programmes for local implementation of GAPs; and (iii) providing information and advice to governments, regional institutions, concerned experts, the private sector and local stakeholders on policy options, challenges and costs of GAPs.

31. Important elements taken into consideration include: how to establish an appropriate incentive framework and services to support the adoption of GAPs; how to ensure that the implementation of GAP principles will not negatively impact on small producers; and who benefits from private versus public standards.

Progress in implementation of GAP activities

32. Since the 17th Session of COAG, FAO has carried out the following GAP-related activities and consultations:

Delivery mechanism for GAPs

33. FAO proposes to continue its work on a GAP approach within existing programmes. This work has become the main focus of the PROD PAIA, within which a GAP Working Group has been established to define and oversee implementation of FAO's work programme on GAPs. It is expected that the PROD PAIA will continue to play a lead role in facilitating the emergence of a multisectoral approach to GAPs within FAO.


From the International Treaty on Plant and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture...

34. Work on the negotiation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IT-PGRFA) began in 1992, immediately after Rio, and concluded with its adoption by the Thirty-first Session of the FAO Conference in November 2001 and entry into force in June 2004. The main aims of the Treaty are the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their use. FAO has also developed a Global Strategy for the Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources comprised of an intergovernmental mechanism, a country-based global infrastructure, a technical programme, and a reporting and evaluation system. These instruments provide a framework for action in the priority SARD area of protecting and preserving biodiversity. Advocacy Work on Environmental Service Payments for Poverty Alleviation

35. An innovative programme that is being developed within the framework of the BIOD PAIA is the incorporation of poverty alleviation concerns into the design and implementation of programmes that provide funds or payments for the provision of environmental services. Using markets and incentives to promote improvements in environmental management and to meet obligations under international and national environmental agreements is an increasingly popular policy mechanism. Such mechanisms are being set up or considered under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention to Combat Drought and Desertification and the IT-PGRFA among others. FAO’s work aims to draw the attention of policy makers and environmental service programme developers to the potential of such programmes to alleviate poverty, and to provide guidance on where and how such potential can best be realized.

36. An example of a SARD-related work programme based on this principle is the work on climate change and carbon sequestration implemented in several divisions of the Organization (AGA, AGL, ESA and FOR). This work promotes practices that will both enhance land productivity and mitigate climate change through reduction of Co2 emissions and carbon sequestration. Integrated management of land, water and trees that incorporates carbon sequestration services could be eligible for environmental service payments within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol.

V. The SARD Initiative and FAO’s Continuing Role as Task Manager for Agenda 21, Chapter 14

37. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation that was adopted at the conclusion of the WSSD in September 2002 provides a framework for action to implement the original UNCED commitments, with special focus on Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity (WEHAB). A key feature of the preparatory process for the WSSD was the decision of the CSD to give much greater emphasis to implementation processes involving stakeholder partnerships, with active participation of civil society. This led to a call for partnership initiatives to be developed as a primary instrument for implementing Agenda 21. In response to this call, preparation of the SARD Initiative was facilitated by FAO, and launched in Johannesburg at a series of side events during the WSSD. Representatives from 65 governments, 5 UN Agencies, and 80 civil society organizations from nine Major Groups, including Farmers, NGOs, Indigenous Peoples, Workers and Trade Unions, Business and Industry, Local Authorities, the Research and Technological Community, Women and Youth –along with representatives from Media and Consumer interest groups– participated and expressed their interest in continued involvement in the Initiative.

38. The SARD Initiative is a voluntary process of action-oriented commitments, focusing on three thematic areas deemed essential to accelerate SARD and make more rapid progress towards MDG 1 and MDG 7: 1) improving people’s access to genetic, technological, land, water, market and information resources; 2) fostering fair conditions of employment in agriculture and rural development; and 3) promoting good practices for SARD.

39. The SARD Initiative emerged from the Dialogue on Land and Agriculture at CSD-8 in 2000 and the subsequent SARD Forum that was organized as a side event at COAG in 2001. It reflects the commitments made at the 1996 World Food Summit and the 2000 Millennium Summit, and incorporates subsequent inputs and priorities for action from the 2002 WFS:five years later, an electronic conference on SARD (Good Practices for SARD, Fair Employment for Agricultural Workers, and Access to Resources (funded by the US, June 2002) and the International Conference on SARD in Mountain Regions (funded by Switzerland, June 2002).

40. The Initiative is facilitated by FAO but led by civil society; thus representatives from the Major Groups present at the launch have played an important role since its inception, and its stakeholders can claim a number of concrete achievements in the two years since it was officially launched. Highlights include:

41. Perhaps the most important accomplishment has been to put agriculture-environment linkages back on the international development agenda. In many developing countries, sustainable development of agriculture and the rural economy are preconditions for success in the fight against poverty and hunger. Yet, for various reasons, this reality risked being overshadowed by other preoccupations in the run-up to Johannesburg. Civil society stakeholders participating in the SARD Initiative were among the first to recognize the fundamental importance of sustainable agriculture for poverty reduction and environmental protection; their active support in promoting this idea in numerous international fora has been crucial in getting it widely accepted.

42. Today the SARD Initiative continues to provide a participatory platform for raising public awareness of the importance of SARD for achievement of the MDGs, as well as for promoting local applications of bottom-up participatory approaches for achieving sustainable livelihoods, based on sustainable and equitable management of natural resources. Priorities for the future are focused on identifying SARD good practices, including, but not limited to, those that are emerging from FAO’s work on GAPs; facilitating access to information about them; and supporting capacity-building activities at local level.

43. Activities promoted by the SARD Initiative are meant to be financed by extra-budgetary funds, and may be implemented by any of the partners, including but not limited to FAO. The Director General has designated the SARD Initiative as one of the High Visibility Packages that FAO is implementing as follow-up to various recent world summits and conferences within the areas of its mandate. FAO will continue to facilitate the work of the Initiative, in a caretaker capacity until such time as sufficient extra-budgetary resources are secured.

44. A further crucial element to implementing Chapter 14 and to fulfilling the commitments of the 1996 World Food Summit, WFS:fyl, the Millennium Summit and the WSSD relates to improved access of the poor to land resources and to the services needed for sustainable rural development and poverty reduction. FAO, as the main UN agency responsible for rural land issues, would be willing to contribute to accomplishing this goal by helping to organize a World Conference on Agrarian Reform in 2006.

VI. For the Consideration of the Committee on Agriculture

45. This document has reviewed the evolving context for implementing SARD, with special reference to the new priorities, undertakings and initiatives that emerged at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+10) in Johannesburg in 2002, and the relationship of these to the MDGs. It has summarized key FAO experiences in implementing Agenda 21, Chapter 14, with respect to both its role as a specialised agency whose work programme contributes directly to the achievement of SARD and its role as Task Manager for Chapter 14, and highlighted emerging issues and priorities for FAO’s future SARD-related work programme. Based on this review, the approval of the Committee is sought on the following:

  1. Continued support by FAO to the SARD Initiative, as an important instrument for fulfilling its responsibilities as UN System Task Manager for WSSD follow-up on implementation of Chapter 14, Agenda 21.
  2. The approach set out in Table 1 for broadening the original SARD Programme Areas of Chapter 14, Agenda 21 to incorporate additional rural development issues, other emerging issues and MDGs.
  3. The use of three SARD Programme Thrusts associated with FAO’s Strategic Objectives A.1., C.2 and D.1 as a basis for further refining and focusing FAO’s overall SARD-related work programme.
  4. The FAO GAP approach and proposals for implementing it within the framework of the PROD PAIA, as described in Section IV on GAPs.
  5. The further strengthening and continued field application of participatory, bottom-up approaches for reducing poverty, protecting the environment and responding to other emerging issues within a SARD framework, focusing on the following priorities in 2006-07 and beyond:
  6. The organization of a World Conference on Agrarian Reform in 2006 to mobilize global support for increasing access by the poor to land resources and support services for sustainable rural development and poverty reduction.


Table 1. SARD Programme Areas from Chapter 14, Agenda 21, incorporating Broader Rural Development Issues

Chapter 14 Programme Areas

Broader Rural Development Issues identified by COAG and Council

MDGs and Other Emerging Issues

1. Agricultural policy review, planning and integrated programming - particularly with regard to food security and sustainable development


MDG 1 – eradication of extreme poverty and hunger

MDG 7 – ensuring environmental sustainability

MDG 8 – developing a global partnership for development

2. Ensuring people’s participation and promoting human resource development for sustainable agriculture

Building capacity of rural institutions; developing better extension-research linkages; mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDs

All MDGs

Improving participation of marginalized rural groups (e.g. indigenous peoples, landless workers, fisherfolk, etc.)

Increasing prevalence of health pandemics

Withdrawal of the state and growth of civil society

[Whereas in 1992 participation was seen as a specific activity domain, participatory approaches have now been mainstreamed into most aspects of SARD work.]

3. Improving farm production and farming systems through diversification of farm and non-farm employment and infrastructure development

Improving rural livelihood systems with special attention to the role of women; providing agricultural services, market access, agribusiness and entrepreneurship; identifying and supporting application of good agricultural practices for producing, processing, marketing and preparing safe and nutritious foods all along the value chain, in ways that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable

MDGs 1, 7 and 8

MDG 3 - promoting gender equality and empowering women

Urbanization processes and need to develop better rural-urban linkages, with special attention to food, labour markets, financial transfers

Employment and income-generation in rural areas

Growth and concentration of private agro-industrial corporations

Impact of globalization and trade regimes

Information technology revolution and burgeoning productivity of science-based innovations

Sustainable management of agricultural waste

4. Land-resource planning information and education for agriculture

Access to land and other natural resources

MDGs 1, 7 and 8

5. Land conservation and rehabilitation

Sustainable management of natural resources

MDGs 1, 7 and 8

Conflicts and complex emergencies

Incorporating sustainability in emergency preparedness and response programmes

6. Water for sustainable food production and sustainable rural development


MDGs 1, 7 and 8

Climate change and volatility

7. Conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources for food and sustainable agriculture


MDGs 1, 7 and 8

8. Conservation and sustainable utilization of animal genetic resources for sustainable agriculture


MDGs 1, 7 and 8

9. Integrated pest management and control in agriculture


MDGs 1, 7 and 8

10. Sustainable plant nutrition to increase food production


MDGs 1, 7 and 8

11. Rural energy transition to enhance productivity


MDGs 1, 7 and 8

12. Evaluation of the effects of ultraviolet radiation on plants and animals caused by the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer


MDGs 1, 7 and 8

Table 2. FAO’s SARD-related Programme Thrusts and Related PAIAs

FAO Strategic Objectives and SARD Programme Thrusts, with MDG Links

Broadened SARD Programme Areas from Agenda 21

Related PAIAs

A 1. Sustainable Livelihoods

[MDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]


Agricultural policy, planning and integrated programming

Livelihoods (LHOO)

Emergency Response (REHA)


People’s participation and human resource development


Improving farming and rural livelihood systems


Improving access to natural resources

C 2. Sustainable Intensification of Integrated Production Systems

[MDG 1]


Agricultural policy, planning and integrated programming

Integrated Production Systems (PROD)

Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture (BTEC)

Food for the Cities (FCIT)

Organic Agriculture (ORGA)


Improving farming and rural livelihood systems


Integrated pest management and sustainable plant nutrition

D 1. Integrated Natural Resources Management

[MDG 7]


Agricultural policy, planning and integrated planning

Biological Diversity (BIOD)

Desertification (DSRT)

Sustainable Mountain Development (MTNS)


Sustainable management of land and water resources


Plant genetic resources


Sustainable plant nutrition



Implications of HIV/AIDS in Food and Agriculture (AIDS)

Gender and Food Security (GEND)

Ethics in Food and Agriculture (ETHI)

Trade Negotiations on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (AWTO)

[Although this PAIA is not linked to Strategic Objectives A.1, C.2 or D.1, it is included because of its relevance for SARD.]

Table 3. Content Coverage of FAO’s SARD-related Work Programme, by FAO Strategic Objective and Broadened SARD Programme Area3

Broadened SARD Programme Area

FAO Strategic Objective A.1

SARD Programme Thrust One: Sustainable Livelihoods

FAO Strategic Objective C.2

SARD Programme Thrust Two: Sustainable Intensification of Integrated Production Systems

FAO Strategic Objective D.1

SARD Programme Thrust Three: Integrated Natural Resources Management

1. Agricultural policy, planning and integrated programming

· Agricultural services provision (214B1)

· Changing structure of food economy (220A6)

· Agriculture and the rural economy (224P1)

· Rural development and poverty links (224P2)

· Impact of fishing on the environment (233A6)

· Promotion of international fish trade (233P2)

· Fishery and aquaculture policy and management (234P1)

· Gender and population issues (252P1)

· Plant production decision-making (212B4)

· Rice development (212P5)

· Global livestock information (213P1)

· Control of transboundary animal diseases (213P2)

· Agricultural services information (214P2)

· Enhancing diversification and competitiveness of agricultural commodities (224P5)

· Sustainable aquaculture (234A5)

· Utilization of fish for human consumption (233A9)

· Agricultural technologies (251P3)

· Economics of environmental sustainability (incentives for environmental services) (224P3)

· Economic aspects of forests (242A4)

· Agriculture-environment interface (monitoring environmental agreements and integrated planning) (251A6)

· Environment information and decision-support (251A8)

2. People’s participation and human resource development

· Household food security and nutrition (221A4) (linked to SO A2, not A1, but included because of relevance to SARD)

· Control of illegal, unreported and unregistered fishing (233A7)

· Responsible fisheries (234A1)

· Forestry and sustainable livelihoods (243P4)

· Mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS (252A4)

· Rural institutions, education, extension and participation (253A6)



3. Improving farming and rural livelihood systems

· Livestock development and poverty reduction (213B5)

· Farmer skills for market-oriented farming (214A1)

· Improved delivery of marketing services (214B3)

· Nutrition improvement for sustainable development (221A2)

· Aquaculture and inland fisheries (232A2)

· Forests, poverty alleviation and food (243A5)

· Sustainable production systems and GAPs (210A3)

· Crop and grassland production and biodiversity (212B1)

· Horticulture for improving livelihoods (212B2)

· Veterinary public health and food safety (213B4)

· Small and medium post-production enterprises (214A4)

· Food quality and safety throughout the food chain (214A9)

· New technologies for sustainable intensification of crop and livestock production (215A1, 215A2)

· GAPs and compliance with food safety standards (horticulture, meat and dairy) (215P1)

· Small-scale fisheries development (233A8)

· Appropriate utilization of forest products (242P2)

· Research systems and biotechnology applications (251A9)


4. Improving access to natural resources

· Sustainable and affordable systems for access to land and other natural resources (253A5)


5 and 6. Sustainable management of natural resources (land, water and trees)


· Agricultural water use (211A1)

· Land and water quality (211A5)

· Inland fisheries and aquaculture (232A1)

· Natural forests and woodlands (241A1)

· Forest plantations and trees outside forests (241A5)

· Forests and water (241A7)

· Gender and natural resources management (252A3)

7. Plant genetic resources


· Conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources (212A9)

· Implementation of IT-PGRFA (212P4)

8. Animal genetic resources


· Livestock-environment interactions (213B6))

9. Integrated pest management


· Mainstreaming IPM by enhancing essential ecological processes (212A5)


10. Sustainable plant nutrition


· Enhancing land and soil productivity (211A2)

· Integrated management of land, water and plant nutrition (211A3)

11. Rural energy


· Included in PE251A6 – see 1.D.1 above

12. Effects of ultraviolet radiation


· No PE identified


1 By John Dixon, A. Gulliver and D. Gibbon.

2 This section responds to COAG’s request for a specific review on development of GAP activities by FAO, as part of the SARD standing item.

3 This table includes all entities linked to SOs A.1, C.2 and D.1 except those that cover technical support services to member countries, secretariat services for the CGIAR Science Council, the GFAR, the UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security, and the SPFS. Entity titles are paraphrased from those in the MTP for 2006-11; attribution of PEs to Broadened SARD Programme Areas is derived from the textual descriptions given in the MTP.