On 13 February 2006, the SARD-M Project Steering Committee met for the second time at FAO headquarters to review the progress of the project in 2005 and the proposed work plan and budget for 2006. The proposals presented for 2006 took into account the recommendations made by the Interim Bureau of the Adelboden Group in December 2005. The Steering Committee, which is made up of representatives from the donor countries (France, Japan, and Switzerland), the Interim Bureau of the Adelboden Group, and FAO Departments collaborating in the project, approved the continuation and reinforcement of activities started in 2005 and expansion of the project into Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Committee expressed their satisfaction with the overall approach and progress of the SARD-M Project activities. Much of the discussion revolved around the assessment of existing policies for SARD in mountain regions, which was the major area of work in 2005.
The translation of the assessment findings into concrete actions on the ground was an issue of importance. This issue is being addressed as the aim of project activities has been to plant the seeds for the initiation of follow-up activities in the countries and regions where the project is operating, integration of the SARD-M approach into the regular activities of Regional Focal Points and other project partners, and the development of practical guides that can be used by those involved in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies. The combination of such actions is expected to give life to the SARD-M approach long after the project has ended.
As the first results of the policy assessments were now starting to come in and more time was required to complete regional workshops in several of the regions, the Committee decided that the work in 2006 should focus on the continuation of activities started, an inter-regional analysis of the policy assessment findings, and initiation of activities that will be proposed as a follow-up to the assessment findings in the Carpathians, Central America, Hindu Kush-Himalayas, Mediterranean Basin, and the Andes. Regional Focal Points and other interested partners will play a key role in the development and implementation of these follow-up activities.
The Project Steering Committee also approved the recommendation made by the Interim Bureau of the Adelboden Group on the reordering of project priorities. The switching of the order of the second and third priorities of the project was felt to be appropriate given the fact that the strengthening of capacities of local institutions (second priority in 2005) was a longer-term goal that would be fed by the outputs of the other two priorities.
As the activities in the first five regions were all underway, proposals were made for the expansion of activities into other regions. The Committee felt, however, that a higher priority needed to be given to analyzing and synthesizing the findings of the first assessments and that the timing was not right for the expansion of activities.
Nevertheless, due to the global mandate of the project, the expansion of activities to Sub-Saharan Africa was felt to be important. The conducting of an activity in one country would also help to broaden the scope of the projectís activities. Tanzania and Burundi were countries that were identified as a possibility.
With the activities of the project now underway on the ground, a better vision has been established as to the concrete products that the project will be able to deliver during its duration. The Committee agreed to the importance of holding a meeting of the entire Adelboden Group in the spring of 2007, notably to ensure a better dissemination of the project findings and outputs.
Budgetary allocations should also be made for the translation of documentation produced by the project in French and Spanish in order to facilitate the dissemination of information to all regions of the world.