On 29 November 2007, the SARD-M Project Steering Committee met at FAO headquarters to review the progress and results of the activities that had been conducted in 2007, discuss outcomes of the Third Adelboden Group Meeting held in Rome from 1-3 October and discuss on the possible activities for a second phase of the project. The Committee expressed its high satisfaction with the first three years of activities and endorsed the need to continue the SARD-M Project work, focussing particularly on the active dissemination of the first phase findings and continuing with the implementation of follow-up activities in each of the regions. With the commitment of the Swiss and French governments to continue their support to the Project until 2009, the extension for a second phase was approved.
Solid foundation built during the first phase
The Committee was pleased with the results and the foundation that has been established during the first three years of work. The SARD-M policy assessments and follow-up activities related to them, the interregional analysis of SARD-M policy assessments, the practical guide on a rapid assessment of SARD-M policies, institutions and processes, the work on mountain externalities and the communication and networking activities that were conducted, have helped to identify key issues and actions that need to be taken for the development of better policies, institutions and processes for SARD in mountain areas.
The Project has also been able to consolidate an important network of stakeholders that can be utilised for the dissemination and advocacy of SARD-M issues. A new Regional Focal Point, the Global Mountain Programme at ILRI, has been identified for Central and Western Africa, which will finally allow the Project to initiate activities in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Symbiosis between the SARD-M Project and the Adelboden Group
The Third Meeting of the Adelboden Group was deemed to be a successful event not only with the adoption of the Adelboden Group Statement containing key findings of the SARD-M Project work from 2005-2007, but there were also a large number of voluntary commitments made by the various participants for the dissemination of SARD-M Project findings, networking and collaboration for the integration of the SARD-M approach.
The meeting showed that there is a symbiosis between the SARD-M Project and the Adelboden Group. It was felt that the Adelboden Group is a useful structure and the diversity of participants at the meeting showed its value as a consultative Group. A recent United Nations General Assembly Resolution on mountains contained some key elements of the Adelboden Group Statement and this was seen as a good example of how the “social capital” of the Adelboden Group can be mobilised to promote mountain issues at the international level. The Group has a history and people who are used to working together, but it now needs to mobilize itself for fund-raising, using the networks that is possesses.
The next steps and future of the Project
The Committee gave its approval for the organization of the Fourth Meeting of Regional Focal Points in early March which will further define the concrete activities to be implemented by the SARD-M Project for the second phase. A meeting of the Adelboden Group Bureau will also be held to define more clearly the mission statements and 2008-2009 work plan of the Adelboden Group.
The first phase of the SARD-M Project has also identified key global issues facing mountain regions which require a further deepening of analysis and work, including the valorisation of positive externalities, migration/urban-rural linkages, gender, cultural heritage and access to resources. The Adelboden Group has recommended that the possible impacts of climate change on these key issues are important to take into consideration and that the valorisation of positive externalities and migration/urban-rural linkages should be considered as a high priority. Although further funding needs to be mobilised for the Project to address these important issues, the Committee requested the development of proposals for activities that the SARD-M Project could conduct as a basis for the mobilization of additional funding.