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SARD - December 2004

SARD-M: The SARD-M Project is Moving Forward

In order to strengthen networking, synergies and coordination with mountain organizations, and to build awareness on the need for specific policies, institutions and legislation for mountain populations, the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions (SARD-M) project team participated in the Second Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership, in Cusco, Peru, on 28-29 October, and in the European Mountain Convention, in Rodez, France, on 25-26 November, before launching a new website entirely dedicated to the issues of institutions and policies for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions.

The Second Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership gathered one hundred and forty participants from around the world representing governments, international organizations and civil society, in Cusco, Peru, on 28-29 October 2004. This was an important venue to discuss the future activities of the Mountain Partnership, an international alliance of partners dedicated to improving the lives of mountain people and protecting mountain environments around the world. At the end of this forum, the participants adopted the Cusco Framework for Action to guide the further development of the Partnership Initiatives and the "Andes Declaration", which marks partners' commitment to working together. This meeting was also a good opportunity to discuss common priority areas for the SARD-M Project and the Mountain Partnership Initiative on SARD. On Thursday 28 October, a working group with about forty participants highlighted potential links with two other initiatives of the Mountain Partnership (i.e. Policy and Law, and Research). The United Nations University as well as six UN agencies - FAO, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, and The World Bank - are members of the Mountain Partnership. For more information: http://www.secondmpcusco2004.org.

The European Mountain Convention, held in Rodez, France, on 25-26 November 2004, was attended by 430 professionals representing agencies, technical institutes, local authorities and civil society organizations, from mountain areas of 21 European countries. This Convention was organized by Euromontana, a network of European organizations involved in rural development in the mountains. After the main address by Ms Erna Solberg from Norway, Europe's second most mountainous country, senior European Commission Officials together with other participants discussed in a plenary session about life and production activities in mountain areas, including the inherent costs of mountain life and European policies notably in the area of State Aid. Five workshops dealt with the following themes: local development, natural resources, young people and cultural heritage, research, and governance from the specific point of view of the mountains. The plenary presentation of the SARD-M Project, held on Thursday 25 November, stimulated interest, questions, and contacts with governments, local authorities and institutions. For more information: http://www.euromontana.org/framee.htm.

The launch of the new website - entirely dedicated to policy and institutional issues on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain regions - was announced in front of this large gathering. For more information, read the article which presents this website by clicking here and have a look at: http://www.fao.org/sard/sard-m.