World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD or Earth Summit + 10) was convened in Johannesburg in 2002 to monitor progress in implementing agreements and achieving goals that were set ten years earlier at the Earth Summit.
Preparing for WSSD
Preparatory work for the WSSD review of SARD began in earnest at CSD 8 in 2000, which focused attention on the themes of Agriculture, Finance, Land Management and Trade. CSD 10 was designated as the Preparatory Committee for WSSD; it met four times between April 2001 and June 2002.
Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
At WSSD numerous themes were debated and a large number of partnership initiatives were launched. The final outcome of the WSSD is contained in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation that was adopted at the Summit's conclusion in September 2002. It provides a framework for action to implement the original UNCED commitments, with special focus on Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity (WEHAB). Through the focus on agriculture, priority for SARD is maintained.
Launch of the SARD Initiative
In response to the call of CSD 10 for partnership initiatives to be developed as a primary instrument for implementing Agenda 21, FAO and Major Group Focal Points for SARD decided to prepare a SARD Initiative. In order to build a lasting and productive dialogue on several key SARD issues, as well as develop a framework for the SARD Initiative, representatives from the Major Groups and the FAO Task Manager for Chapter 14 (i) held ongoing weekly/fortnightly conference calls, (ii) convened a virtual retreat consisting of three intensive conference calls to define terms of engagement and plan and implement side events, and (iii) conducted meetings concurrent with various FAO meetings and at the WSSD PrepComs.
FAO launched the SARD Initiative at a series of side events during the WSSD. The SARD Initiative Parallel Event took place in the first day of the official WSSD Summit. The nine Major Groups of Civil Society along with representatives from Media and Consumer interest groups came together to discuss the ways and means to build capacity among rural communities to achieve ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just, culturally appropriate, holistic and scientific – in a word, sustainable – agriculture and rural development. The discussion addressed three overarching themes: 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.
The Launch of the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) Initiative took place on 30 August, 2002 at an official WSSD Side Event. FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf presented the genesis, rationale, objectives and expected outcomes of the SARD Initiative and announced FAO’s intention, as facilitator, to convene a stakeholder design workshop to finalise the design, outcomes and mechanisms for the Initiative before moving into the implementation phase.
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.
Launch of SARD in Mountain Regions
An International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) in Mountain Regions was held in Adelboden, Switzerland from 16 - 20 June 2002. The Adelboden Conference brought together representatives of governments and NGOs/CSOs of mountain areas to discuss Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development case studies related to Access to Resources, Fair Conditions of Employment in Agriculture, Good Practices in SARD, and the Roles and Tasks of Agriculture. The conference expressed political support for the SARD Initiative and decided to establish an Adelboden Group that would guide a specific partnership initiative for SARD in Mountain Regions. The Adelboden Declaration “…call[s] on interested countries and other partners to support the SARD Initiative… being facilitated by FAO and to strengthen…[its] emphasis on SARD in mountains; to establish an Adelboden Group on SARD in mountains as a platform for discussion of policies and policy instruments, exchange of experience, and preparation of initiatives.”