Agriculture and Rural Development Day Issues Communiqué to Rio+20
22 June 2012: The Fourth Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) convened on 18 June 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the sidelines of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). ARDD aimed to promote concrete steps towards sustainable food systems, and to put agriculture at the core of sustainable development policies. The main message conveyed was that while agriculture is affected by climate change, it has a key role to play in addressing it.
ARDD included a high-level panel discussion and 13 participatory learning events. Sessions addressed best practices and concluded that there is widespread evidence that farming, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors offer lasting solutions to building a food-secure future. The meeting stressed the importance of new leadership models, the role of youth, and the need to bring farmers, especially women, into the policy making process.
Mary Robinson, President of The Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, underscored the need for more inclusive scientific research, suggesting that research be “farmer-led,” and even “female-farmer-led," as women in Africa undertake 70% of agricultural work.
The key outcome from Agriculture and Rural Development Day was a Final Communiqué, which states that Rio+20 must: ensure the integration of agriculture, forestry and fisheries; commit to knowledge generation and extension for sustainable agriculture; and establish a process to produce a sustainable development goal (SDG) for sustainable food systems.