|Guidelines for the integration of sustainable agriculture and rural development into agricultural policies. (FAO Agricultural Policy and Economic Development Series -4) (1997)|
For a number of years now the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been charged with and has taken-up the responsibility to assist its Member nations to attain sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD). To this end, the Organization has devoted considerable efforts to develop a modus operandi in order to best fulfil this task. In these efforts, it has used both in-house and external experts, and has consulted concerned people and groups outside the Organization. I hope that this report will be a useful further step in that process.
My terms of reference for the report, as set by FAO, were as follows:
Using as background the technical, discussion and position papers elaborated by FAO in recent years and which formulate the general approach of the Organization with respect to Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) as well as to policy advice and assistance; and taking into due account other relevant contributions on these subjects, to prepare Guidelines for the integration of the SARD concept in agricultural policies, to be used by the Organization and its Member countries for guiding the work of practitioners who have a leading or technical contribution role in the design, formulation and assessment of policies in the agricultural and rural sector (agriculture being understood as encompassing fisheries, forestry, and where relevant up- and down-stream activities).
The Guidelines are therefore not expected to provide a basic training in the subject, but to orient the work of experienced professionals with a general or technically specialized competence, towards adopting and promoting at each relevant step of the identification of issues, design and formulation of policies and of their impact assessment, the appropriate attitude, process, and analytical and methodological approaches, conducive to an effective incorporation of the SARD concept in agricultural policies.
The Guidelines will comprise of two main parts. The first will set guiding principles, laying out in a few pages the desiderata, dos and donts of sustainable development, recognizing that decision making has to face up to our still limited knowledge of natural and social processes and their interactions. This part could be used as a stand-alone document. The second part will address how these principles should be put to work at the various stages of the decision making process, as described above.
The Guidelines are expected in their final form to represent a document of no more than 30000 words, and should make use of visual presentations, examples, and other editorial devices, as required for an optimal communication capability.
My thanks are due a number of people who contributed help, suggestions or ideas to the production of the report. While I cannot list everyone who has helped, I am especially grateful to several staff members at FAO Headquarters for thoughtful comments on an earlier draft, particularly Vito Cistulli, Matorne Maetz, Francoise Pétry and Ed Rossmiller. Joseph Cooper of ESAE at FAO - the monitoring and certifying officer for this report - contributed both valuable comments and abundant good humour that made working with him most enjoyable. Thanks also go to Jock Anderson of the World Bank who contributed some important ideas, and to Shirley Hardaker for help with proof-reading.
Any deficiencies of the final product are, of course, my responsibility.
J. Brian Hardaker
Armidale, NSW, Australia