Posted July 1997
Food and Agriculture Organization
Society of Sustainable Agriculture
Conference Programme | Declaration | Panel Session
Scientists representing more than 60 countries from both the developed and developing world have come together to consider the prospects for world food security in the 21st century. Agriculture is the foundation to all cultures, economic advancement and human dignity.
This should be fully recognized by all countries, especially in developing countries where the food shortages and inequalities are pronounced. Also the Agenda 21 of the Rio de Janeiro Conference in 1992 put significant emphasize on agriculture as a key for intra- and intergenerational equity.
These days, more than 800 million people suffer form hunger and malnutrition in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even Europe and North America. In addition, one and a half billion people suffer from a shortage of water, and more than two billion have no access to modern energy sources.
Today we face immense pressures in the global environment resulting from industrial emissions of greenhouse gases, the continuous growth of world population and the depletion of natural resources. As scientists, we consider answers that will assure adequate food for our increasing world population while preserving the natural resources and environment quality.
Individuals alone cannot provide these answers. We must work together to achieve the goal of global, long-term sustainability. In essence, we must recognize that the earth belongs to all people, that we all have a stake in achieving global sustainability, and that no particular, privileged group or country should dominate and benefit.
Agricultural research is the tool and the means to achieve sustainable resource management and environmentally sound production systems. Agriculture will play an increasingly essential role in the future, not only in food production for the expanding population, but also as a producer of bio-fuels and raw materials for industry.
Scientists attending the conference offered, for the first time, multi-discliplinary approaches to the issues relevant to biological, sustainable life support systems spanning from molecular studies, to field evaluations, to experimental closed systems.
Research and experience from many regions of the world range from sustainable land use systems in the Amazon, over space based life support systems and Biosphere 2, to the organic farming in India and China and the potential of biotechnology to augment the food supply.
We are one earth, one humanity and one future. Our call to action is to change our way of thinking from "I, HERE and NOW" to "WE, EVERYWHERE for TODAY and TOMORROW". Unless we become the responsible stewards of current and futuregenerations, we will face unprecedential regional and global pressures and environmental inequeties.
We declare that the following actions are needed to achieve our goals:
It is our hope that the over 400 contributions of the scientists that attended the meeting, which will be published this year, represent a milestone in our efforts to understand the complexity of sustainable development systems wherever they may be. We are convinced that with intelligence, knowledge and experience we will be able to achieve the anticipated goals of sustainable agriculture for food, energy and industry.
For the participating scientists:
The International Council of the Conference "Sustainable Agriculture for Food, Energy and Industry"
N. El Bassam, Federal Agricultural Research Centre, Germany (Chairman)
S. Agong, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
P. T. Alvim, Fundação Pau Brasil, Brazil
R. K. Behl, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, India
D. Christian, IACR-Rothamsted, UK
L. Dajue, Beijing Botanical Garden, China
C. Dalianis, Center Renewable Energy Sources, Greece
R. Kozlowski, Institute of Natural Fibres (IWN), Poland
R. Krell, Food and Agricure Organization (FAO), Italy
R. Lieberei, University of Hamburg, Germany
B. D. Marino, Harvard University, USA
T. Mela, Agricultural Research Centre of Finland, Finland
R. Olsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
P. Pepo, University of Agricultural Sciences, Hungary
F. N. Tubiello, Goddard Institute for Space Studies
June 26th, 1997