Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development

INTRODUCTION

14.1. By the year 2025, 83 per cent of the expected global population of 8.5 billion will be living in developing countries. Yet the capacity of available resources and technologies to satisfy the demands of this growing population for food and other agricultural commodities remains uncertain. Agriculture has to meet this challenge, mainly by increasing production on land already in use and by avoiding further encroachment on land that is only marginally suitable for cultivation.

14.2. Major adjustments are needed in agricultural, environmental and macroeconomic policy, at both national and international levels, in developed as well as developing countries, to create the conditions for sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD). The major objective of SARD is to increase food production in a sustainable way and enhance food security. This will involve education initiatives, utilization of economic incentives and the development of appropriate and new technologies, thus ensuring stable supplies of nutritionally adequate food, access to those supplies by vulnerable groups, and production for markets; employment and income generation to alleviate poverty; and natural resource management and environmental protection.

14.3. The priority must be on maintaining and improving the capacity of the higher potential agricultural lands to support an expanding population. However, conserving and rehabilitating the natural resources on lower potential lands in order to maintain sustainable man/land ratios is also necessary. The main tools of SARD are policy and agrarian reform, participation, income diversification, land conservation and improved management of inputs. The success of SARD will depend largely on the support and participation of rural people, national Governments, the private sector and international cooperation, including technical and scientific cooperation.

14.4. The following programme areas are included in this chapter:

(a) Agricultural policy review, planning and integrated programming in the light of the multifunctional aspect of agriculture, particularly with regard to food security and sustainable development;

(b) Ensuring people's participation and promoting human resource development for sustainable agriculture;

(c) Improving farm production and farming systems through diversification of farm and non-farm employment and infrastructure development;

(d) Land-resource planning information and education for agriculture;

(e) Land conservation and rehabilitation;

(f) Water for sustainable food production and sustainable rural development; (g) Conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources for food and sustainable agriculture;

(h) Conservation and sustainable utilization of animal genetic resources for sustainable agriculture;

(i) Integrated pest management and control in agriculture;

(j) Sustainable plant nutrition to increase food production;

(k) Rural energy transition to enhance productivity;

(l) Evaluation of the effects of ultraviolet radiation on plants and animals caused by the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.

PROGRAMME AREAS

A. Agricultural policy review, planning and integrated programmes in the light of the multifunctional aspect of agriculture, particularly with regard to food security and sustainable development

Basis for action

14.5. There is a need to integrate sustainable development considerations with agricultural policy analysis and planning in all countries, particularly in developing countries. Recommendations should contribute directly to development of realistic and operational medium- to long-term plans and programmes, and thus to concrete actions. Support to and monitoring of implementation should follow.

14.6. The absence of a coherent national policy framework for sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) is widespread and is not limited to the developing countries. In particular the economies in transition from planned to market-oriented systems need such a framework to incorporate environmental considerations into economic activities, including agriculture. All countries need to assess comprehensively the impacts of such policies on food and agriculture sector performance, food security, rural welfare and international trading relations as a means for identifying appropriate offsetting measures. The major thrust of food security in this case is to bring about a significant increase in agricultural production in a sustainable way and to achieve a substantial improvement in people's entitlement to adequate food and culturally appropriate food supplies.

14.7. Sound policy decisions pertaining to international trade and capital flows also necessitate action to overcome: (a) a lack of awareness of the environmental costs incurred by sectoral and macroeconomic policies and hence their threat to sustainability; (b) insufficient skills and experience in incorporating issues of sustainability into policies and programmes; and (c) inadequacy of tools of analysis and monitoring. 1/

Objectives

14.8. The objectives of this Programme area are:

(a) By 1995, to review and, where appropriate, establish a programme to integrate environmental and sustainable development with policy analysis for the food and agriculture sector and relevant macroeconomic policy analysis, formulation and implementation;

(b) To maintain and develop, as appropriate, operational multisectoral plans, programmes and policy measures, including programmes and measures to enhance sustainable food production and food security within the framework of sustainable development, not later than 1998;

(c) To maintain and enhance the ability of developing countries, particularly the least developed ones, to themselves manage policy, programming and planning activities, not later than 2005.

Activities

(a) Management-related activities

14.9. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Carry out national policy reviews related to food security, including adequate levels and stability of food supply and access to food by all households;

(b) Review national and regional agricultural policy in relation, inter alia, to foreign trade, price policy, exchange rate policies, agricultural subsidies and taxes, as well as organization for regional economic integration;

(c) Implement policies to influence land tenure and property rights positively with due recognition of the minimum size of land-holding required to maintain production and check further fragmentation;

(d) Consider demographic trends and population movements and identify critical areas for agricultural production;

(e) Formulate, introduce and monitor policies, laws and regulations and incentives leading to sustainable agricultural and rural development and improved food security and to the development and transfer of appropriate farm technologies, including, where appropriate, low-input sustainable agricultural (LISA) systems;

(f) Support national and regional early warning systems through food-security assistance schemes that monitor food supply and demand and factors affecting household access to food;

(g) Review policies with respect to improving harvesting, storage, processing, distribution and marketing of products at the local, national and regional levels;

(h) Formulate and implement integrated agricultural projects that include other natural resource activities, such as management of rangelands, forests, and wildlife, as appropriate;

(i) Promote social and economic research and policies that encourage sustainable agriculture development, particularly in fragile ecosystems and densely populated areas;

(j) Identify storage and distribution problems affecting food availability; support research, where necessary, to overcome these problems and cooperate with producers and distributors to implement improved practices and systems.

(b) Data and information

14.10. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Cooperate actively to expand and improve the information on early warning systems on food and agriculture at both regional and national levels;

(b) Examine and undertake surveys and research to establish baseline information on the status of natural resources relating to food and agricultural production and planning in order to assess the impacts of various uses on these resources, and develop methodologies and tools of analysis, such as environmental accounting.

(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination

14.11. United Nations agencies, such as FAO, the World Bank, IFAD and GATT, and regional organizations, bilateral donor agencies and other bodies should, within their respective mandates, assume a role in working with national Governments in the following activities:

(a) Implement integrated and sustainable agricultural development and food security strategies at the subregional level that use regional production and trade potentials, including organizations for regional economic integration, to promote food security;

(b) Encourage, in the context of achieving sustainable agricultural development and consistent with relevant internationally agreed principles on trade and environment, a more open and non-discriminatory trading system and the avoidance of unjustifiable trade barriers which together with other policies will facilitate the further integration of agricultural and environmental policies so as to make them mutually supportive;

(c) Strengthen and establish national, regional and international systems and networks to increase the understanding of the interaction between agriculture and the state of the environment, identify ecologically sound technologies and facilitate the exchange information on data sources, policies, and techniques and tools of analysis.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation*

14.12. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $3 billion, including about $450 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

14.13. Governments at the appropriate level and with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations should assist farming households and communities to apply technologies related to improved food production and security, including storage, monitoring of production and distribution.

(c) Human resource development

14.14. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Involve and train local economists, planners and analysts to initiate national and international policy reviews and develop frameworks for sustainable agriculture;

(b) Establish legal measures to promote access of women to land and remove biases in their involvement in rural development.

(d) Capacity-building

14.15. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should strengthen ministries for agriculture, natural resources and planning.

B. Ensuring people's participation and promoting human resource development for sustainable agriculture

Basis for action

14.16. This component bridges policy and integrated resource management. The greater the degree of community control over the resources on which it relies, the greater will be the incentive for economic and human resources development. At the same time, policy instruments to reconcile long-run and short-run requirements must be set by national Governments. The approaches focus on fostering self-reliance and cooperation, providing information and supporting user-based organizations. Emphasis should be on management practices, building agreements for changes in resource utilization, the rights and duties associated with use of land, water and forests, the functioning of markets, prices, and the access to information, capital and inputs. This would require training and capacity-building to assume greater responsibilities in sustainable development efforts. 2/

Objectives

14.17. The objectives of this programme area are:

(a) To promote greater public awareness of the role of people's participation and people's organizations, especially women's groups, youth, indigenous people and people under occupation, local communities and small farmers, in sustainable agriculture and rural development;

(b) To ensure equitable access of rural people, particularly women, small farmers, landless and indigenous people and people under occupation, to land, water and forest resources and to technologies, financing, marketing, processing and distribution;

(c) To strengthen and develop the management and the internal capacities of rural people's organizations and extension services and to decentralize decision-making to the lowest community level.

Activities

(a) Management-related activities

14.18. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Develop and improve integrated agricultural extension services and facilities and rural organizations and undertake natural resource management and food security activities, taking into account the different needs of subsistence agriculture as well as market-oriented crops;

(b) Review and refocus existing measures to achieve wider access to land, water and forest resources and ensure equal rights of women and other disadvantaged groups, with particular emphasis on rural populations, indigenous people, people under occupation and local communities;

(c) Assign clear titles, rights and responsibilities for land and for individuals or communities to encourage investment in land resources;

(d) Develop guidelines for decentralization policies for rural development through reorganization and strengthening of rural institutions;

(e) Develop policies in extension, training, pricing, input distribution, credit and taxation to ensure necessary incentives and equitable access by the poor to production-support services;

(f) Provide support services and training, recognizing the variation in agricultural circumstances and practices by location; the optimal use of on-farm inputs and the minimal use of external inputs; optimal use of local natural resources and management of renewable energy sources; and the establishment of networks that deal with the exchange of information on alternative forms of agriculture.

(b) Data and information

14.19. Governments at the appropriate level, and with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should collect, analyse, and disseminate information on human resources, the role of Governments, local communities and non-governmental organizations in social innovation and strategies for rural development.

(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination

14.20. Appropriate international and regional agencies should:

(a) Reinforce their work with non-governmental organizations in collecting and disseminating information on people's participation and people's organizations and people under occupation, testing participatory development methods, training and education for human resource development and strengthening the management structures of rural organizations;

(b) Help develop information available through non-governmental organizations and promote an international ecological agricultural network to accelerate the development and implementation of ecological agriculture practices.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

14.21. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $4.4 billion, including about $650 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

14.22. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Encourage people's participation on farm technology development and transfer, incorporating indigenous ecological knowledge and practices;

(b) Launch applied research on participatory methodologies, management strategies and local organizations.

(c) Human resource development

14.23. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should provide management and technical training to government administrators and members of resource-user groups in the principles, practice and benefits of people's participation in rural development.

(d) Capacity-building

14.24. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should introduce management strategies and mechanisms, such as accounting and audit services for rural people's organizations and institutions for human resource development, and delegate administrative and financial responsibilities to local levels for decision-making, revenue-raising and expenditure.

C. Improving farm production and farming systems through diversification of farm and non-farm employment and infrastructure development

Basis for action

14.25. Agriculture needs to be intensified to meet future demands for commodities and to avoid further expansion onto marginal lands and encroachment on fragile ecosystems. Increased use of external inputs and development of specialized production and farming systems tend to increase vulnerability to environmental stresses and market fluctuations. There is, therefore, a need to intensify agriculture by diversifying the production systems for maximum efficiency in the utilization of local resources, while minimizing environmental and economic risks. Where intensification of farming systems is not possible, other on-farm and off-farm employment opportunities should be identified and developed, such as cottage industries, wildlife utilization, aquaculture and fisheries, non-farm activities, such as light village-based manufacturing, farm commodity processing, agribusiness, recreation and tourism, etc.

Objectives

14.26. The objectives of this programme area are:

(a) To improve farm productivity in a sustainable manner, as well as to increase diversification, efficiency, food security and rural incomes, while ensuring that risks to the ecosystem are minimized;

(b) To enhance the self-reliance of farmers in developing and improving rural infrastructure, and to facilitate the transfer of environmentally sound technologies for integrated production and farming systems, including indigenous technologies and the sustainable use of biological and ecological processes, including agroforestry, sustainable wildlife conservation and management, aquaculture, inland fisheries and animal husbandry;

(c) To create farm and non-farm employment opportunities, particularly among the poor and those living in marginal areas, taking into account the alternative livelihood proposal inter alia in dryland areas.

Activities

(a) Management-related activities

14.27. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Develop and disseminate to farming households integrated farm management technologies, such as crop rotation, organic manuring and other techniques involving reduced use of agricultural chemicals, multiple techniques for sources of nutrients and the efficient utilization of external inputs, while enhancing techniques for waste and by-product utilization and prevention of pre- and post-harvest losses, taking particular note of the role of women;

(b) Create non-farm employment opportunities through private small-scale agro-processing units, rural service centres and related infrastructural improvements;

(c) Promote and improve rural financial networks that utilize investment capital resources raised locally;

(d) Provide the essential rural infrastructure for access to agricultural inputs and services, as well as to national and local markets, and reduce food losses;

(e) Initiate and maintain farm surveys, on-farm testing of appropriate technologies and dialogue with rural communities to identify constraints and bottlenecks and find solutions;

(f) Analyse and identify possibilities for economic integration of agricultural and forestry activities, as well as water and fisheries, and to take effective measures to encourage forest management and growing of trees by farmers (farm forestry) as an option for resource development.

(b) Data and information

14.28. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Analyse the effects of technical innovations and incentives on farm-household income and well-being;

(b) Initiate and maintain on-farm and off-farm programmes to collect and record indigenous knowledge.

(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination

14.29 International institutions, such as FAO and IFAD, international agricultural research centres, such as CGIAR, and regional centres should diagnose the world's major agro-ecosystems, their extension, ecological and socio-economic characteristics, their susceptibility to deterioration and their productive potential. This could form the basis for technology development and exchange and for regional research collaboration.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

14.30. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $10 billion, including about $1.5 billion from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

14.31. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should strengthen research on agricultural production systems in areas with different endowments and agro-ecological zones, including comparative analysis of the intensification, diversification and different levels of external and internal inputs.

(c) Human resource development

14.32. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should: (a) Promote educational and vocational training for farmers and rural communities through formal and non-formal education;

(b) Launch awareness and training programmes for entrepreneurs, managers, bankers and traders in rural servicing and small-scale agro-processing techniques.

(d) Capacity-building

14.33. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Improve their organizational capacity to deal with issues related to off-farm activities and rural industry development;

(b) Expand credit facilities and rural infrastructure related to processing, transportation and marketing.

D. Land-resource planning, information and education for agriculture

Basis for action

14.34. Inappropriate and uncontrolled land uses are a major cause of degradation and depletion of land resources. Present land use often disregards the actual potentials, carrying capacities and limitations of land resources, as well as their diversity in space. It is estimated that the world's population, now at 5.4 billion, will be 6.25 billion by the turn of the century. The need to increase food production to meet the expanding needs of the population will put enormous pressure on all natural resources, including land.

14.35. Poverty and malnutrition are already endemic in many regions. The destruction and degradation of agricultural and environmental resources is a major issue. Techniques for increasing production and conserving soil and water resources are already available but are not widely or systematically applied. A systematic approach is needed for identifying land uses and production systems that are sustainable in each land and climate zone, including the economic, social and institutional mechanisms necessary for their implementation. 3/

Objectives

14.36. The objectives of this programme area are:

(a) To harmonize planning procedures, involve farmers in the planning process, collect land-resource data, design and establish databases, define land areas of similar capability, identify resource problems and values that need to be taken into account to establish mechanisms to encourage efficient and environmentally sound use of resources; (b) To establish agricultural planning bodies at national and local levels to decide priorities, channel resources and implement programmes.

Activities

(a) Management-related activities

14.37. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Establish and strengthen agricultural land-use and land-resource planning, management, education and information at national and local levels;

(b) Initiate and maintain district and village agricultural land-resource planning, management and conservation groups to assist in problem identification, development of technical and management solutions, and project implementation.

(b) Data and information

14.38. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Collect, continuously monitor, update and disseminate information, whenever possible, on the utilization of natural resources and living conditions, climate, water and soil factors, and on land use, distribution of vegetation cover and animal species, utilization of wild plants, production systems and yields, costs and prices, and social and cultural considerations that affect agricultural and adjacent land use;

(b) Establish programmes to provide information, promote discussion and encourage the formation of management groups.

(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination

14.39. The appropriate United Nations agencies and regional organizations should:

(a) Strengthen or establish international, regional and subregional technical working groups with specific terms of reference and budgets to promote the integrated use of land resources for agriculture, planning, data collection and diffusion of simulation models of production and information dissemination;

(b) Develop internationally acceptable methodologies for the establishment of databases, description of land uses and multiple goal optimization.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

14.40. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $1.7 billion, including about $250 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

14.41. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Develop databases and geographical information systems to store and display physical, social and economic information pertaining to agriculture, and the definition of ecological zones and development areas;

(b) Select combinations of land uses and production systems appropriate to land units through multiple goal optimization procedures, and strengthen delivery systems and local community participation;

(c) Encourage integrated planning at the watershed and landscape level to reduce soil loss and protect surface and groundwater resources from chemical pollution.

(c) Human resource development

14.42. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Train professionals and planning groups at national, district and village levels through formal and informal instructional courses, travel and interaction;

(b) Generate discussion at all levels on policy, development and environmental issues related to agricultural land use and management, through media programmes, conferences and seminars.

(d) Capacity-building

14.43. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Establish land-resource mapping and planning units at national, district and village levels to act as focal points and links between institutions and disciplines, and between Governments and people;

(b) Establish or strengthen Governments and international institutions with responsibility for agricultural resource survey, management and development; rationalize and strengthen legal frameworks; and provide equipment and technical assistance.

E. Land conservation and rehabilitation

Basis for action

14.44. Land degradation is the most important environmental problem affecting extensive areas of land in both developed and developing countries. The problem of soil erosion is particularly acute in developing countries, while problems of salinization, waterlogging, soil pollution and loss of soil fertility are increasing in all countries. Land degradation is serious because the productivity of huge areas of land is declining just when populations are increasing rapidly and the demand on the land is growing to produce more food, fibre and fuel. Efforts to control land degradation, particularly in developing countries, have had limited success to date. Well planned, long-term national and regional land conservation and rehabilitation programmes, with strong political support and adequate funding, are now needed. While land-use planning and land zoning, combined with better land management, should provide long-term solutions, it is urgent to arrest land degradation and launch conservation and rehabilitation programmes in the most critically affected and vulnerable areas.

Objectives

14.45. The objectives of this programme area are:

(a) By the year 2000, to review and initiate, as appropriate, national land-resource surveys, detailing the location, extent and severity of land degradation;

(b) To prepare and implement comprehensive policies and programmes leading to the reclamation of degraded lands and the conservation of areas at risk, as well as improve the general planning, management and utilization of land resources and preserve soil fertility for sustainable agricultural development.

Activities

(a) Management-related activities

14.46. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Develop and implement programmes to remove and resolve the physical, social and economic causes of land degradation, such as land tenure, appropriate trading systems and agricultural pricing structures, which lead to inappropriate land-use management;

(b) Provide incentives and, where appropriate and possible, resources for the participation of local communities in the planning, implementation and maintenance of their own conservation and reclamation programmes;

(c) Develop and implement programmes for the rehabilitation of land degraded by water-logging and salinity;

(d) Develop and implement programmes for the progressive use of non-cultivated land with agricultural potential in a sustainable way.

(b) Data and information

14.47. Governments, at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Conduct periodic surveys to assess the extent and state of its land resources;

(b) Strengthen and establish national land-resource data banks, including identification of the location, extent and severity of existing land degradation, as well as areas at risk, and evaluate the progress of the conservation and rehabilitation programmes launched in this regard;

(c) Collect and record information on indigenous conservation and rehabilitation practices and farming systems as a basis for research and extension programmes.

(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination

14.48. The appropriate United Nations agencies, regional organizations and non-governmental organizations should:

(a) Develop priority conservation and rehabilitation programmes with advisory services to Governments and regional organizations;

(b) Establish regional and subregional networks for scientists and technicians to exchange experiences, develop joint programmes and spread successful technologies on land conservation and rehabilitation.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation*

14.49. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $5 billion, including about $800 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

14.50. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should help farming household communities to investigate and promote site-specific technologies and farming systems that conserve and rehabilitate land, while increasing agricultural production, including conservation tillage agroforestry, terracing and mixed cropping.

(c) Human resource development

14.51. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should train field staff and land users in indigenous and modern techniques of conservation and rehabilitation and should establish training facilities for extension staff and land users.

(d) Capacity-building

14.52. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Develop and strengthen national research institutional capacity to identify and implement effective conservation and rehabilitation practices that are appropriate to the existing socio-economic physical conditions of the land users;

(b) Coordinate all land conservation and rehabilitation policies, strategies and programmes with related ongoing programmes, such as national environment action plans, the Tropical Forestry Action Plan and national development programmes.

F. Water for sustainable food production and sustainable rural development

14.53. This programme area is included in chapter 18 (Protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources), programme area F.

G. Conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources for food and sustainable agriculture

Basis for action

14.54. Plant genetic resources for agriculture (PGRFA) are an essential resource to meet future needs for food. Threats to the security of these resources are growing, and efforts to conserve, develop and use genetic diversity are underfunded and understaffed. Many existing gene banks provide inadequate security and, in some instances, the loss of plant genetic diversity in gene banks is as great as it is in the field.

14.55. The primary objective is to safeguard the world's genetic resources while preserving them to use sustainably. This includes the development of measures to facilitate the conservation and use of plant genetic resources, networks of in situ conservation areas and use of tools such as ex situ collections and germ plasma banks. Special emphasis could be placed on the building of endogenous capacity for characterization, evaluation and utilization of PGRFA, particularly for the minor crops and other underutilized or non-utilized species of food and agriculture, including tree species for agro-forestry. Subsequent action could be aimed at consolidation and efficient management of networks of in situ conservation areas and use of tools such as ex situ collections and germ plasma banks.

14.56. Major gaps and weaknesses exist in the capacity of existing national and international mechanisms to assess, study, monitor and use plant genetic resources to increase food production. Existing institutional capacity, structures and programmes are generally inadequate and largely underfunded. There is genetic erosion of invaluable crop species. Existing diversity in crop species is not used to the extent possible for increased food production in a sustainable way. 4/

Objectives

14.57. The objectives of this programme area are:

(a) To complete the first regeneration and safe duplication of existing ex situ collections on a world-wide basis as soon as possible;

(b) To collect and study plants useful for increasing food production through joint activities, including training, within the framework of networks of collaborating institutions;

(c) Not later than the year 2000, to adopt policies and strengthen or establish programmes for in situ on-farm and ex situ conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, integrated into strategies and programmes for sustainable agriculture;

(d) To take appropriate measures for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits and results of research and development in plant breeding between the sources and users of plant genetic resources.

Activities

(a) Management-related activities

14.58. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Develop and strengthen institutional capacity, structures and programmes for conservation and use of PGRFA;

(b) Strengthen and establish research in the public domain on PGRFA evaluation and utilization, with the objectives of sustainable agriculture and rural development in view;

(c) Develop multiplication/propagation, exchange and dissemination facilities for PGRFAs (seeds and planting materials), particularly in developing countries and monitor, control and evaluate plant introductions;

(d) Prepare plans or programmes of priority action on conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA, based, as appropriate, on country studies on PGRFA;

(e) Promote crop diversification in agricultural systems where appropriate, including new plants with potential value as food crops;

(f) Promote utilization as well as research on poorly known, but potentially useful, plants and crops, where appropriate;

(g) Strengthen national capabilities for utilization of PGRFA, plant breeding and seed production capabilities, both by specialized institutions and farming communities.

(b) Date and information

14.59. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Develop strategies for networks of in situ conservation areas and use of tools such as on-farm ex situ collections, germplasm banks and related technologies;

(b) Establish ex situ base collection networks;

(c) Review periodically and report on the situation on PGRFA, using existing systems and procedures;

(d) Characterize and evaluate PGRFA material collected, disseminate information to facilitate the use of PGRFA collections and assess genetic variation in collections.

(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination

14.60. The appropriate United Nations agencies and regional organizations should:

(a) Strengthen the Global System on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of PGRFA by, inter alia, accelerating the development of the Global Information and Early Warning System to facilitate the exchange of information; developing ways to promote the transfer of environmentally sound technologies, in particular to developing countries; and taking further steps to realize farmers' rights;

(b) Develop subregional, regional and global networks of PGRFA in situ in protected areas; (c) Prepare periodic state of the world reports on PGRFA;

(d) Prepare a rolling global cooperative plan of action on PGRFA;

(e) Promote, for 1994, the Fourth International Technical Conference on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of PGRFA, which is to adopt the first state of the world report and the first global plan of action on the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA;

(f) Adjust the Global System for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of PGRFA in line with the outcome of the negotiations of a convention on biological diversity.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

14.61. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $600 million, including about $300 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

14.62. Governments, at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Develop basic science research in such areas as plant taxonomy and phytogeography, utilizing recent developments, such as computer sciences, molecular genetics and in vitro cryopreservation;

(b) Develop major collaborative projects between research programmes in developed and developing countries, particularly for the enhancement of poorly known or neglected crops;

(c) Promote cost-effective technologies for keeping duplicate sets of ex situ collections (which can also be used by local communities);

(d) Develop further conservation sciences in relation to in situ conservation and technical means to link it with ex situ conservation efforts.

(c) Human resource development

14.63. Governments at the appropriate level and with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations should: (a) Promote training programmes at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels in conservation sciences for running PGRFA facilities and for the design and implementation of national programmes in PGRFA;

(b) Raise the awareness of agricultural extension services in order to link PGRFA activities with user communities;

(c) Develop training materials to promote conservation and utilization of PGRFA at the local level.

(d) Capacity-building

14.64. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should establish national policies to provide legal status for and strengthen legal aspects of PGRFA, including long-term financial commitments for germplasm collections and implementation of activities in PGRFA.

H. Conservation and sustainable utilization of animal genetic resources for sustainable agriculture

Basis for action

14.65. The need for increased quantity and quality of animal products and for draught animals calls for conservation of the existing diversity of animal breeds to meet future requirements, including those for use in biotechnology. Some local animal breeds, in addition to their socio-cultural value, have unique attributes for adaptation, disease resistance and specific uses and should be preserved. These local breeds are threatened by extinction as a result of the introduction of exotic breeds and of changes in livestock production systems.

Objectives

14.66. The objectives of this programme area are:

(a) To enumerate and describe all breeds of livestock used in animal agriculture in as broad a way as possible and begin a 10-year programme of action;

(b) To establish and implement action programmes to identify breeds at risk, together with the nature of the risk and appropriate preservation measures;

(c) To establish and implement development programmes for indigenous breeds in order to guarantee their survival, avoiding the risk of their being replaced by breed substitution or cross-breeding programmes.

Activities

(a) Management-related activities14.67. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Draw up breed preservation plans, for endangered populations, including semen/embryo collection and storage, farm-based conservation of indigenous stock or in situ preservation;

(b) Plan and initiate breed development strategies;

(c) Select indigenous populations on the basis of regional importance and genetic uniqueness, for a 10-year programme, followed by selection of an additional cohort of indigenous breeds for development.

(b) Data and information

14.68. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should prepare and complete national inventories of available animal genetic resources. Cryogenic storage could be given priority over characterization and evaluation. Training of nationals in conservation and assessment techniques would be given special attention.

(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination

14.69. The appropriate United Nations and other international and regional agencies should:

(a) Promote the establishment of regional gene banks to the extent that they are justified, based on principles of technical cooperation among developing countries;

(b) Process, store and analyse animal genetic data at the global level, including the establishment of a world watch list and an early warning system for endangered breeds; global assessment of scientific and intergovernmental guidance of the programme and review of regional and national activities; development of methodologies, norms and standards (including international agreements); monitoring of their implementation; and related technical and financial assistance;

(c) Prepare and publish a comprehensive database of animal genetic resources, describing each breed, its derivation, its relationship with other breeds, effective population size and a concise set of biological and production characteristics;

(d) Prepare and publish a world watch list on farm animal species at risk to enable national Governments to take action to preserve endangered breeds and to seek technical assistance, where necessary.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

14.70. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $200 million, including about $100 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

14.71. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Use computer-based data banks and questionnaires to prepare a global inventory/world watch list;

(b) Using cryogenic storage of germplasm, preserve breeds at serious risk and other material from which genes can be reconstructed.

(c) Human resource development

14.72. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Sponsor training courses for nationals to obtain the necessary expertise for data collection and handling and for the sampling of genetic material;

(b) Enable scientists and managers to establish an information base for indigenous livestock breeds and promote programmes to develop and conserve essential livestock genetic material.

(d) Capacity-building

14.73. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Establish in-country facilities for artificial insemination centres and in situ breeding farms;

(b) Promote in-country programmes and related physical infrastructure for animal livestock conservation and breed development, as well as for strengthening national capacities to take preventive action when breeds are endangered.

I. Integrated pest management and control in agriculture

Basis for action

14.74. World food demand projections indicate an increase of 50 per cent by the year 2000 which will more than double again by 2050. Conservative estimates put pre-harvest and post-harvest losses caused by pests between 25 and 50 per cent. Pests affecting animal health also cause heavy losses and in many areas prevent livestock development. Chemical control of agricultural pests has dominated the scene, but its overuse has adverse effects on farm budgets, human health and the environment, as well as on international trade. New pest problems continue to develop. Integrated pest management, which combines biological control, host plant resistance and appropriate farming practices and minimizes the use of pesticides, is the best option for the future, as it guarantees yields, reduces costs, is environmentally friendly and contributes to the sustainability of agriculture. Integrated pest management should go hand in hand with appropriate pesticide management to allow for pesticide regulation and control, including trade, and for the safe handling and disposal of pesticides, particularly those that are toxic and persistent.

Objectives

14.75. The objectives of this programme area are:

(a) Not later than the year 2000, to improve and implement plant protection and animal health services, including mechanisms to control the distribution and use of pesticides, and to implement the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides;

(b) To improve and implement programmes to put integrated pest-management practices within the reach of farmers through farmer networks, extension services and research institutions;

(c) Not later than the year 1998, to establish operational and interactive networks among farmers, researchers and extension services to promote and develop integrated pest management.

Activities

(a) Management-related activities

14.76. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Review and reform national policies and the mechanisms that would ensure the safe and appropriate use of pesticides - for example, pesticide pricing, pest control brigades, price-structure of inputs and outputs and integrated pest-management policies and action plans;

(b) Develop and adopt efficient management systems to control and monitor the incidence of pests and disease in agriculture and the distribution and use of pesticides at the country level;

(c) Encourage research and development into pesticides that are target-specific and readily degrade into harmless constituent parts after use;

(d) Ensure that pesticide labels provide farmers with understandable information about safe handling, application and disposal.

(b) Data and information

14.77. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Consolidate and harmonize existing information and programmes on the use of pesticides that have been banned or severely restricted in different countries;

(b) Consolidate, document and disseminate information on biological control agents and organic pesticides, as well as on traditional and other relevant knowledge and skills regarding alternative non-chemical ways of controlling pests;

(c) Undertake national surveys to establish baseline information on the use of pesticides in each country and the side-effects on human health and environment, and also undertake appropriate education.

(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination

14.78. Appropriate United Nations agencies and regional organizations should:

(a) Establish a system for collecting, analysing and disseminating data on the quantity and quality of pesticides used every year and their impact on human health and the environment;

(b) Strengthen regional interdisciplinary projects and establish integrated pest management (IPM) networks to demonstrate the social, economic and environmental benefits of IPM for food and cash crops in agriculture;

(c) Develop proper IPM, comprising the selection of the variety of biological, physical and cultural controls, as well as chemical controls, taking into account specific regional conditions.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

14.79. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $1.9 billion, including about $285 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

14.80. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should launch on-farm research in the development of non-chemical alternative pest management technologies.

(c) Human resource development

14.81. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Prepare and conduct training programmes on approaches and techniques for integrated pest management and control of pesticide use, to inform policy makers, researchers, non-governmental organizations and farmers;

(b) Train extension agents and involve farmers and women's groups in crop health and alternative non-chemical ways of controlling pests in agriculture.

(d) Capacity-building

14.82. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should strengthen national public administrations and regulatory bodies in the control of pesticides and the transfer of technology for integrated pest management.

J. Sustainable plant nutrition to increase food production

Basis for action

14.83. Plant nutrient depletion is a serious problem resulting in loss of soil fertility, particularly in developing countries. To maintain soil productivity, the FAO sustainable plant nutrition programmes could be helpful. In sub-Saharan Africa, nutrient output from all sources currently exceeds inputs by a factor of three or four, the net loss being estimated at some 10 million metric tons per year. As a result, more marginal lands and fragile natural ecosystems are put under agricultural use, thus creating further land degradation and other environmental problems. The integrated plant nutrition approach aims at ensuring a sustainable supply of plant nutrients to increase future yields without harming the environment and soil productivity.

14.84. In many developing countries, population growth rates exceed 3 per cent a year, and national agricultural production has fallen behind food demand. In these countries the goal should be to increase agricultural production by at least 4 per cent a year, without destroying the soil fertility. This will require increasing agricultural production in high-potential areas through efficiency in the use of inputs. Trained labour, energy supply, adapted tools and technologies, plant nutrients and soil enrichment will all be essential.

Objectives

14.85. The objectives of this programme area are:

(a) Not later than the year 2000, to develop and maintain in all countries the integrated plant nutrition approach, and to optimize availability of fertilizer and other plant nutrient sources;

(b) Not later than the year 2000, to establish and maintain institutional and human infrastructure to enhance effective decision-making on soil productivity;

(c) To develop and make available national and international know-how to farmers, extension agents, planners and policy makers on environmentally sound new and existing technologies and soil-fertility management strategies for application in promoting sustainable agriculture.

Activities

(a) Management-related activities

14.86. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Formulate and apply strategies that will enhance soil fertility maintenance to meet sustainable agricultural production and adjust the relevant agricultural policy instruments accordingly;

(b) Integrate organic and inorganic sources of plant nutrients in a system to sustain soil fertility and determine mineral fertilizer needs;

(c) Determine plant nutrient requirements and supply strategies and optimize the use of both organic and inorganic sources, as appropriate, to increase farming efficiency and production;

(d) Develop and encourage processes for the recycling of organic and inorganic waste into the soil structure, without harming the environment, plant growth and human health.

(b) Data and information

14.87. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Assess "national accounts" for plant nutrients, including supplies (inputs) and losses (outputs) and prepare balance sheets and projections by cropping systems;

(b) Review technical and economic potentials of plant nutrient sources, including national deposits, improved organic supplies, recycling, wastes, topsoil produced from discarded organic matter and biological nitrogen fixation.

(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination

14.88. The appropriate United Nations agencies, such as FAO, the international agricultural research institutes, and non-governmental organizations should collaborate in carrying out information and publicity campaigns about the integrated plant nutrients approach, efficiency of soil productivity and their relationship to the environment.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

14.89. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $3.2 billion, including about $475 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

14.90. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Develop site-specific technologies at benchmark sites and farmers' fields that fit prevailing socio-economic and ecological conditions through research that involves the full collaboration of local populations;

(b) Reinforce interdisciplinary international research and transfer of technology in cropping and farming systems research, improved in situ biomass production techniques, organic residue management and agroforestry technologies.

(c) Human resource development

14.91. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Train extension officers and researchers in plant nutrient management, cropping systems and farming systems, and in economic evaluation of plant nutrient impact;

(b) Train farmers and women's groups in plant nutrition management, with special emphasis on topsoil conservation and production.

(d) Capacity-building

14.92. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Develop suitable institutional mechanisms for policy formulation to monitor and guide the implementation of integrated plant nutrition programmes through an interactive process involving farmers, research, extension services and other sectors of society;

(b) Where appropriate, strengthen existing advisory services and train staff, develop and test new technologies and facilitate the adoption of practices to upgrade and maintain full productivity of the land.

K. Rural energy transition to enhance productivity

Basis for action

14.93. Energy supplies in many countries are not commensurate with their development needs and are highly priced and unstable. In rural areas of the developing countries, the chief sources of energy are fuelwood, crop residues and manure, together with animal and human energy. More intensive energy inputs are required for increased productivity of human labour and for income-generation. To this end, rural energy policies and technologies should promote a mix of cost-effective fossil and renewable energy sources that is itself sustainable and ensures sustainable agricultural development. Rural areas provide energy supplies in the form of wood. The full potential of agriculture and agroforestry, as well as common property resources, as sources of renewable energy, is far from being realized. The attainment of sustainable rural development is intimately linked with energy demand and supply patterns. 5/

Objectives

14.94. The objectives of this programme area are:

(a) Not later than the year 2000, to initiate and encourage a process of environmentally sound energy transition in rural communities, from unsustainable energy sources, to structured and diversified energy sources by making available alternative new and renewable sources of energy;

(b) To increase the energy inputs available for rural household and agro-industrial needs through planning and appropriate technology transfer and development;

(c) To implement self-reliant rural programmes favouring sustainable development of renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency.

Activities

(a) Management-related activities

14.95. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Promote pilot plans and projects consisting of electrical, mechanical and thermal power (gasifiers, biomass, solar driers, wind-pumps and combustion systems) that are appropriate and likely to be adequately maintained;

(b) Initiate and promote rural energy programmes supported by technical training, banking and related infrastructure;

(c) Intensify research and the development, diversification and conservation of energy, taking into account the need for efficient use and environmentally sound technology.

(b) Data and information

14.96. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Collect and disseminate data on rural energy supply and demand patterns related to energy needs for households, agriculture and agro-industry;

(b) Analyse sectoral energy and production data in order to identify rural energy requirements.

(c) International and regional cooperation and coordination

14.97. The appropriate United Nations agencies and regional organizations should, drawing on the experience and available information of non-governmental organizations in this field, exchange country and regional experience on rural energy planning methodologies in order to promote efficient planning and select cost-effective technologies.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

14.98. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $1.8 billion per year, including about $265 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

14.99. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Intensify public and private sector research in developing and industrialized countries on renewable sources of energy for agriculture;

(b) Undertake research and transfer of energy technologies in biomass and solar energy to agricultural production and post-harvest activities.

(c) Human resource development

14.100. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should enhance public awareness of rural energy problems, stressing the economic and environmental advantages of renewable energy sources.

(d) Capacity-building

14.101. Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

(a) Establish national institutional mechanisms for rural energy planning and management that would improve efficiency in agricultural productivity and reach the village and household level;

(b) Strengthen extension services and local organizations to implement plans and programmes for new and renewable sources of energy at the village level.

L. Evaluation of the effects of ultraviolet radiation on plants and animals caused by the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer

Basis for action

14.102. The increase of ultraviolet radiation as a consequence of the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer is a phenomenon that has been recorded in different regions of the world, particularly in the southern hemisphere. Consequently, it is important to evaluate its effects on plant and animal life, as well as on sustainable agricultural development.

Objective

14.103. The objective of this programme area is to undertake research to determine the effects of increased ultraviolet radiation resulting from stratospheric ozone layer depletion on the Earth's surface, and on plant and animal life in affected regions, as well as its impact on agriculture, and to develop, as appropriate, strategies aimed at mitigating its adverse effects.

Activities

Management-related activities

14.104. In affected regions, Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should take the necessary measures, through institutional cooperation, to facilitate the implementation of research and evaluation regarding the effects of enhanced ultraviolet radiation on plant and animal life, as well as on agricultural activities, and consider taking appropriate remedial measures.

Notes

1/ Some of the issues in this programme area are presented in chapter 3 of Agenda 21 (Combating poverty).

2/ Some of the issues in this programme area are discussed in chapter 8 of Agenda 21 (Integrating environment and development in decision-making) and in chapter 37 (National mechanisms and international cooperation for capacity-building in developing countries).

3/ Some of the issues are presented in chapter 10 of Agenda 21 (Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources).

4/ The activities of this programme area are related to some of the activities in chapter 15 of Agenda 21 (Conservation of biological diversity).

5/ The activities of this programme area are related to some of the activities in chapter 9 of Agenda 21 (Protecting the atmosphere).

A.21: Agriculture (Ch. 14) Advanced copypage 1


 

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