Agriculture, Land and Rural DevelopmentFAOCSDUNEP
World Summit on Sustainable Development, South Africa 2002


Welcome | Development of SARD | Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue
Preparing Work for WSSD | Major Groups | SARD in Johannesburg

FAO/Major Group SARD Preparatory Work for WSSD

The objectives of the ongoing SARD multi-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation in terms of the WSSD process are:

  1. Elevate land, agriculture and food security on the agenda of the WSSD
  2. Moving from talk to action in implementing the goals of SARD.
  3. Identifying commitment areas for Major Groups and Governments in SARD. In the upcoming months, ensuring Government support will be critical to achieving greater awareness of SARD at WSSD and beyond.

Strengthening Interaction with Major Groups

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) & the Eighth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 8) provided mandates to FAO to develop more effective dialogue among stakeholders, including Major Groups of Agenda 21, Governments and Inter-Governmental Organizations. (Refer to the Report of the Eighth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, Decision 8/4, Para. 46). FAO is fulfilling this responsibility through weekly FAO-Major Group conference calls and through official WSSD multi-stakeholder dialogue events such as the Multi-Stakeholder Forum on SARD (March 2001), which occurred concurrently with the 16th session of COAG, the SARD FAO-Major Group Meeting (5-6 November 2001), and the FAO/Major Group Side Event on Land, Food and Agriculture at PrepCom II (January 31, 2002).

Until 2002, Major Groups of Agenda 21 involved in the multi-stakeholder dialogues on SARD included: Farmers, Business & Industry, NGOs, Indigenous Peoples, Workers and Trade Unions. Beginning in 2000, these groups began to choose a Focal Point organization among themselves to specifically work with FAO on SARD issues. In 2002, new Focal Points were identified for Major Groups representing Women, the Scientific and Technological Community (February 2002), Children and Youth, and Local Authorities Major Groups (March 2002).

Please click here to go to the Major Group Focal Point page which includes a short description of each Focal Point organization and contact information.

Some of the benefits achieved so far from the collaboration between FAO and Major Groups include:

  1. Clarification of common ground and differences among stakeholders in relation to SARD and Land
  2. Identification of areas for collaborative work among stakeholders
  3. Identification of the roles and responsibilities of those participating in the process (click here to view the FAO/Major Group Terms of Reference)
  4. Development of priority thematic areas for possible joint action and specific commitments to be negotiated in the WSSD preparatory process.

Focus on Specific Thematic Areas

The FAO/Major Group working group, with the assistance of other interested organizations (including the Popular Coalition) and resource persons, has produced discussion papers on three thematic areas (agreed upon by Major Groups earlier) in relation to SARD and Land. These thematic areas are:

  1. Access to Resources
  2. Global Campaign on Fair Conditions of Employment in Agriculture
  3. SARD Good Practices, Principles & Case Studies

The draft discussion papers on these thematic areas were first distributed at the joint FAO/Major Group Side Event at PrepCom II. The objective of these papers is to provide an open forum for discussion on the issues so far identified (as well as new and different issues) and encourage collaboration and partnership building among stakeholders. When interests among stakeholders coincide with those of ongoing, existing initiatives, FAO’s role would be to orient interested stakeholders towards existing initiatives. The goal is to promote convergence among stakeholders and alliance of complementary existing initiatives.

The thematic papers are available below by title:

Access to Resources for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development

Global Campaign on Fair (Decent) Conditions of Employment in Agriculture

Good Practices for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development

FAO and the Major Groups, welcome comments on these thematic discussion papers. Please send any suggestions aimed at improving these papers, specific suggestions of concrete time-bound actions, measurable targets and appropriate indicators needed for implementing associated actions, or questions for clarification to:

FAO/Major Group Progress at PrepCom II

FAO and its SARD Major Group partners jointly sponsored a Side Event on Land, Food and Agriculture, which was held on January 31, 2002 during the first week of PrepCom II. Entitled, "Land, Food and Agriculture in Agenda 21: Assessing Issues of Land, Water, Food, and Agriculture to Reduce Poverty and Implement Sustainable Development," the event brought together representatives from various Governments, Inter-Governmental Organizations, NGOs and other Civil Society Organizations. The objective of the Side Event was to help assess progress, lessons learned, new challenges, main constraints, and possible responses in the area of integrated land, food, and agriculture policy within the framework of poverty eradication, resource management, sustainable consumption and other cross-cutting sustainable development themes.

Please see the Invitation Letter and the Agenda of the FAO/Major Group sponsored Side Event at PrepCom II.

The Side Event was successful in its goal of encouraging discussion and wider participation (through the presentation of the thematic papers), especially from interested Governments. One tangible result has been the incipient formation of a Liaison Strategy and Logistics Team for the three commitment areas chosen by the Major Group Focal Points for SARD and Land (see above), with participants from Governments, Civil Society Organizations, Inter-Governmental Organizations, business groups, the media, and others. In addition this team is also made up of interest groups from Media Outreach and Consumers, which constitute stakeholders in their own right and may possibly evolve into future Major Groups. The immediate purpose of such teams is to help convey the messages of the FAO/Major Group process and to help create and strengthen commitments to SARD initiatives.

All stakeholders (Major Groups, Governments, and other Inter-Governmental Organizations) are invited to develop and support initiatives to implement SARD through the WSSD Process.

For more information on the Side Event and other events of the WSSD preparatory process, please visit the web site of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, which is an independent reporting service that provides daily coverage of official UN negotiations for environment and development agreements wherever they take place in the world. It is published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and supported by Governments, United Nations Agencies and private foundations.

Working with Governments

FAO and the Major Groups have also been in regular consultation with Governments throughout the WSSD preparatory process on an informal and formal level. Informally, they have worked with Government delegations at events at PrepComs II and III and related Side Events, and have provided presentations to diverse Government delegations visiting FAO headquarters. Formally, they have ensured that their work supports and adds value to FAO’s Strategic Framework (2000-2015) mandated by its Member Governments. FAO and Major Groups working on SARD for the WSSD spoke along with Member Governments at the 16th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) on this topic and more recently, on a presentation on SARD to Government delegations and Permanent Representatives based in Rome (March 21, 2002).

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