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SARD - June 2004

SARD in Mountain regions: FAO four-year multistakeholder project officially presented to potential donors and partners on 30 April

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) officially presented to several donors and partners the four-year (2005-2008) interregional multistakeholder project for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions (SARD-M) in a meeting held on 30 April 2004.

Formulated by FAO with the support of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture and the broad participation of governments, international organizations and the civil society (see March 2004 Update on the finalization of the Project Document), the SARD-M Project aims to promote policies and decision-making processes that favour sustainable agriculture and rural development in mountain regions, while protecting the environment and taking into account upland-lowland linkages.

About 30 participants attended the Donors and Partners' Meeting, including representatives from China, Colombia, Ecuador, the European Community, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Norway, Peru, Slovenia, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland and Venezuela.

The meeting started with the presentation of the project's objectives and linkages with other FAO-SARD (e.g. SARD Initiative and SARD Evolution of Farming Systems Project) and mountain-related initiatives (e.g. the Mountain Partnership and its Partnership Initiative on SARD), the project's proposed activities (i.e. awareness-raising on the need of SARD-inspired policies in mountain areas, capacity-building for designing those policies and support to their concrete implementation), its funding modalities and organizational aspects, including the role of the Adelboden Group.

At the end of the presentation, the participants agreed that a focus on mountain livelihoods can often help development initiatives to target the most vulnerable people in mountainous countries and it was recognized that the proposed project could play a catalytic role in this regard.

Donors and partners highly appreciated the project themes and proposed activities, and very much welcomed its flexibility in terms of partnerships and funding modalities, the project's multi-stakeholder nature, as well as its commitment in "bridging the gap" between relevant ongoing initiatives.

Switzerland and other European countries announced their willingness to support the project, contributing to its overall implementation or to specific activities such as capacity-building and sharing of experiences. Developing countries indicated their commitment to participate in the project and to provide logistical support. The launch of the project is currently planned for early 2005.

In the aftermath of the Donors' and Partners' Meeting, the Project for SARD in Mountain Regions was also presented during an information session organized as a side event of the 24th FAO Regional Conference for Europe in Montpellier, France, on 6 May 2004.

For further inquiries on the objectives/modus operandi of the project and the Adelboden Group, you can read the 6-page brochure on the SARD-M Project available online in English, French, Spanish and now also in Arabic.

For more information on the SARD-M Project, please contact: sard-m@fao.org