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Events - August 2002

International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions
(SARD-Mountains 2002)
16 - 20 June 2002 - Adelboden, Switzerland

SARD as an overall approach for the mountains

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 partners.

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