International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions
SARD as an overall approach for the mountains
16 - 20 June 2002 - Adelboden, Switzerland
The International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions (SARD-M2002) was held
from 16 to 20 June 2002 at Adelboden, Switzerland. The conference was organised by the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture,
in close collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). About 200 participants from
57 countries and 10 international organisations attended the meeting, including government ministers and other senior
officials, as well as representatives of different local populations, academic and research institutions, intergovernmental
organisations, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, and the media.
The conference aimed to promote mutual understanding, solidarity and information sharing regarding the challenges and
possibilities of sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) in mountain regions. It sought to enhance networking
and the creation of strategic alliances between various stakeholders, as well as to provide a forum to articulate concerns,
share ideas and make recommendations for the future of SARD in mountain regions.
Agriculture in itself is not sufficient for sustaining mountain regions. In this respect the question can be asked on how
agricultural policies and regional policies should interact. Mountain regions as well as the agricultural industry must find
and develop their strategic success angle, which would also enable them to sustain habitation in mountain regions. For their
part, the future of agriculture in mountain regions is also dependent on the socio-economic development of mountain
regions as a whole. Thanks to the multiple roles and tasks of its agriculture, the socio-economic development of mountain
regions can make a considerable contribution to sustainable development of those regions in the sense that it can help in
seeking out market success for, and in contributing by donating direct and indirect help to other economic and social
The fact that mountain regions provide services way beyond their limits on the one hand, and are increasingly exposed to
global effects emanating from negative trade-offs or climate change on the other, suggests that new alliances with lowland
populations will have to be forged, and compensation schemes for the positive externalities created.
The recommendations flowing from the working groups formed the basis for the “Adelboden Declaration on SARD Mountains”
adopted by consensus and for a list of elements pointing to future work, to be further developed (Annex 1). The final
part of the Declaration, "SARD Mountains: Combining SARD and Sustainable Mountain Development - Strengthening International
Progress", supports the FAO SARD initiative and the International Partnership on Sustainable Development in Mountain
Regions; calls for the establishment of an “Adelboden Group” on SARD in mountains; and invites countries to promote the
Adelboden Declaration at the WSSD, Bishkek Global Mountain Summit and other regional and international venues.
The Declaration will be considered by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Johannesburg,
26 August – 4 September 2002, and the Bishkek Global Mountain Summit, Kyrgyzstan, 29 October – 1 November 2002,
and is expected to promote and catalyse further implementation of Agenda 21 strengthening linkages between Chapter 13
(Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development) and 14 (SARD).
The detailed minutes of the speeches and plenary discussions during the 5 days of
the conference, prepared by the International Institute for Sustainable
Development (IISD) are available at the following address:
Other conference papers are also available on the conference website: www.sard-m2002.ch