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About SD
About SD

Rural Development Division

Research, Extension and Training Division

Gender and Population Division



Sustainable Development Department

Forging leadership & sharing knowledge

The challenge facing agriculture is to satisfy people's rights to food security and, at the same time, ensure that the natural resource base remains productive for the future. As populations grow, and land and water resources dwindle, the world must make a rapid shift to sustainable agriculture and rural development. This approach seeks to ensure that present and future generations have equal access to the total capital of natural and human resources.

The Sustainable Development Department (SD) serves as a global reference centre for knowledge and advice on biophysical, biological, socio-economic and social dimensions of sustainable development. It was established by FAO in January 1995, in response to the need to take a more holistic and strategic approach to development support and poverty alleviation. SD focuses on four key dimensions of sustainability:

  • Sustainable livelihoods, people's participation and mainstreaming of gender and population issues
  • Agrarian transformation and institutional reform
  • Research, extension, education and communication
  • Natural resource monitoring and management.

It promotes sustainability concepts, strategies and methods in each of these areas, and helps integrate them in the development programmes of both FAO member countries and the Organization's own technical units.

SD is also charged with the responsibility of coordinating FAO's follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the post-UNCED conventions and to the international summits on population, social development and women.

The Department consists of three divisions:

Alexander Julius Müller
Assistant Director-General
Sustainable Development Department
Tel: (+39 06) 570 52630
Fax: (+39 06) 570 53064

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