Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) Initiative

Identifying practices to address poverty and sustain ecosystems

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Sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) practices have the potential to reduce hunger and poverty while sustaining the ecosystems that poor rural people rely on for their livelihoods. Farmers and local communities have developed many valuable approaches to SARD that could benefit other groups, but limited resources or political and social constraints have often hampered the uptake of exemplary practices or the sharing of lessons learned.

IISD and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) under the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) Initiative, to help civil society organizations and governments identify local successes in SARD and build capacities, particularly of the poorest and most disadvantaged groups, to adopt, replicate and scale up good practices.

In collaboration with civil society organizations, IISD will support the SARD Initiative in enhancing its Web-based Resource Facility. Currently hosted by FAO, the Resource Facility provides online access to information, expertise, training materials and case studies of good practices to assist rural communities in their progress toward SARD. The Resource Facility is built on a foundation of partnerships and collaboration with Major Groups, interested national governments, and rural communities involved in implementing good practices. A steering group will be established to provide advice, help identify resources and opportunities for collaboration, and communicate project activities.

A second stage in the project involves developing an analytical framework for ex-post testing of scaling-up principles and practice in developing countries based on selected case studies. Finally, a preliminary ex-post comparative analysis of successful and unsuccessful scaling-up efforts will be conducted in two developing countries (tentatively, in Guatemala and Kenya). A report on the results of this work will inform the ex-ante analysis of good practice, design and policy advocacy, and may suggest future application of this approach in Canada. The project continues through 2007–08.

For more information contact IISD Associate Jane Barr.