World Environment Day at FAO

Piles of organic manure

Corroded drums of obsolete pesticides

Intensive livestock production can have negative effects on the environment

A forest nursery
Peru/17451/A. Odoul

To see more photos, go to the MediaBase

The environment and sustainable development are top priorities for FAO. Environmental concerns inform virtually every area of the Organization's work. On the occasion of World Environment Day, we take you on a short tour of some of the main FAO web pages that focus on environmental issues.

Monitoring the environment is a basic first step to improving our understanding of global changes and therefore our ability to manage natural resources sustainably and to protect the environment. The Environmental Information page on SD Dimensions, the Sustainable Development Department's web site, is the first stop for details on the many ways in which FAO monitors the environment. It features specials on remote sensing, geographic information systems, agrometeorology, crop forecasting, the potential impacts of climate changes and variations on agriculture, and much more.

The Land and Water Development Division's homepage has a wealth of links to information systems, publications, databases, special topic sites and other materials relating to the management of land and water - the main components of the natural and managed environment.

The SD Dimensions web page on Environmental Policy, Planning and Management has links to specials on Conventions on Biological Diversities, desertification and climate change, sustainable development indicators, environmental impact assessment, Integrated Coastal Area Management, and much more. Cross sectorial environmental issues such as population and gender are also covered.

Protecting the environment and dealing with or preventing pollution is now a major part of FAO's work. The Pesticide Management Unit is the entry-page for a round-up of the Organization's work to reduce the risks associated with the use of pesticides - including web pages on the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent regarding international trade in hazardous pesticides and chemicals and the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides.

The Prevention and Disposal of Obsolete Pesticides web pages give the background and key facts on this widespread problem in developing countries, together with updates on efforts to clean up these vast stocks of toxic waste.

The Integrated Pest Management web pages are a window on FAO's work with farmers to find alternatives to pesticides and create environmentally friendly farming systems. Take a look too at the News and Highlights stories on IPM in Indonesia and IPM for cotton farmers.

The web pages on the International Plant Protection Convention provide an insight into FAO's work on alien invasive species, which affect not only agriculture, but also the environment.

Intensive livestock production can have serious environmental consequences. With the Livestock, Environment and Development initiative, FAO is working to find ways to mitigate the negative effects and enhance positive impacts. The LEAD initiative web pages have all the details, together with the Livestock and Environment Toolbox - an electronic decision-support tool for policy-makers, planners and project leaders. For more information, take a look at two reports on Livestock and the Environment.

Organic agriculture is a relatively new area of work for FAO. Besides its clear environmental benefits, it is also creating valuable new export opportunities for farmers in developing countries. SD Dimensions has a comprehensive Special on Organic Agriculture and FAO and the Agriculture Department's online magazine, Agriculture 21, has a spotlight on Organic farming with links to other information on the topic. As far as specific crops are concerned, organic bananas are on the FAO agenda and were the subject of a recent expert meeting. See the News and Highlights story Banana experts hold landmark meeting at FAO.

Conservation agriculture focuses on protecting one of the most basic environmental resources - the soil. Take a look at the Conservation Agriculture web pages, and a News and Highlights feature Conservation tillage: the end of the plough?

The SD Dimensions Energy for Development web pages are the first stop for information-gathering on the Organization's work with bioenergy and biofuels. They include an expert review on energy issues, bioenergy and solar photovoltaic systems for rural development.

The Organization's contribution to the recently concluded eighth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-8), as Task Managers for Chapter 10 and 14 of Agenda 21, is fully documented on the web. For the news story and full links go to FAO warns of slow progress on sustainable development on our News and Highlights pages.

The Forestry Energy Forum is the gateway to information on the Forestry Department's work towards sustainable wood energy systems that address environmental and other goals.

The Fisheries Department's Environment web page links to features on coastal environments under threat, sustainable aquaculture, the 1997/98 El Niño and other related subjects.

Some other FAO web sites with an environmental angle:

Global Terrestrial Observation System
Gender and environment
The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
The Domestic Animal Diversity Information System
Forest Harvesting, Engineering, Environment
Environment and Engineering
Environmental impact assessment of irrigation and drainage projects
The FAO Desertification web site
The FAO Mountain Programme
Small Island Developing States
Agriculture 21 spotlight: Time to save the Aral Sea?
News and Highlights on the Second World Water Forum

2 June 2000

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