Sustainable Development Banner

Environment banner

Conventions and agreements

Energy and technology

Geoinformation, monitoring and assessment

Policy and integrated management







About SD


FAO's Sustainable Development Department advises governments on integrated policy, planning, and management of natural resources. It coordinates the Organization's implementation of the 1992 Earth Summit's Agenda 21 and global environmental conventions on biological diversity, climate change and desertification, as well as parts of the Programme of Action of Small Island Developing States. SD also coordinates the cross-sectoral programme on organic agriculture, promotes an ecosystem approach to agriculture as well as sustainable energy strategies and technologies, and helps developing countries use remote sensing, agrometeorology and geographic information systems to manage natural resources and monitor crop conditions.

Energy and environmental technology

"Introducing the International Bioenergy Platform (IBEP)" The International Bioenergy Platform is being presented to the international community in the energy, agriculture and environment sectors as a mechanism for organizing and facilitating a multidisciplinary and global approach.

A working session on Land Use and Bioenergy in the Clean Development Mechanism was held 30 June 2005 at FAO headquarters. The session addressed issues of sustainable (or renewable) versus unsustainable (or non-renewable) biomass, types of sustainable land-use/bioenergy systems and what constitutes a "clean development mechanism" (CDM).

Geoinformation and monitoring

"A geospatial framework for the analysis of poverty and environment links" This report explains how georeferenced information can be used to bring greater precision to the understanding of spatially-related factors underlying poverty and food insecurity and discusses the role of Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS) in promoting greater use of geospatial information.

"Mapping global urban and rural population distributions. Estimates of future global population distribution to 2015" Researchers have been developing a number of techniques for mapping variations of parameters within countries. As these techniques have become more sophisticated, and the capacity of computers to handle very large datasets with great speed has increased, the interest in developing methods for distributing population data to the grid cells of GIS maps has also increased.

"An inventory and comparison of globally consistent geospatial databases and libraries. Environment and Natural Resources Working Paper Series Number 19 " This report presents an inventory of global data sources which can be used to provide consistent geospatial baselines for core framework data layers in the support of generalized base mapping, emergency preparedness and response, food security and poverty mapping.

Policy and integrated management

"Special Ministerial Conference on Agriculture in Small Island Developing States: Report and Background Documents" Most Small Island Developing States are net agricultural importers. As a group they are net exporters by a narrow margin and their agricultural exports tend to be highly concentrated in a small number of commodities and markets.

"The scope of organic agriculture, sustainable forest management and ecoforestry in protected area management" In protected area categories where agricultural activities are allowed, there is need to consider productive activities which provide livelihoods in an equitable and environmentally-friendly way.


"Global Bioenergy Partnership Secretariat up, running" The new Secretariat of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) opened recently in Rome. Located at FAO headquarters and supported by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, the Secretariat’s mandate is to facilitate a global political forum to promote bioenergy and to encourage the production, marketing and use of “green” fuels, with particular focus on developing countries.

"FAO sees major shift to bioenergy. Pressure building for switch to biofuels" This press relase notes that soaring oil prices and growing environmental constraints has led to gathering momentum for a major international switch from fossil fuels to renewable bioenergy. “The gradual move away from oil has begun. Over the next 15 to 20 years we may see biofuels providing a full 25 percent of the world’s energy needs,” Alexander Müller, the new Assistant Director-General for the Sustainable Development Department of FAO.

A new version of the "GeoNetwork Site" has been launched. GeoNetwork provides agricultural information to decision-makers, allowing them to access satellite imagery, interactive maps and spatial databases from FAO, WFP, CGIAR and other organizations. Click here to see related press release.

The SD-Dimensions "Publications page" makes available hundreds of full-text publications related to issues of gender, population, HIV/AIDS, extension, rural development, land tenure, sustainable livelihoods, communication for development, education, research and technology, energy, geoinformation, and environmental policy. These full-text electronic publications are available on-line free of charge in html and pdf formats. Browse available publications for the entire department, or under the following areas: Environment, Institutions, Knowledge, and People.

The "Climagrimed web site", previously available in English and French, is now also available in Arabic. Climagrimed aims to strengthen cooperation between Italian research institutes and FAO and to apply appropriate methodologies carried out within the CLIMAGRI project. These methodologies may then be adapted and applied successfully in developing countries in the Mediterranean region.

More from Environment

SD Homepage Back to Top FAO Homepage