International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and 
Rural Development in Mountain Regions (SARD)
16-20 June 2002, Adelboden, Switzerland


Highlights for Sunday, 16 June 2002 

The International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions (SARD) opened on Sunday evening, in Adelboden, Switzerland. Master of Ceremonies J. Chavaz, Assistant Director, Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, welcomed delegates and introduced the opening speakers. Delegates heard welcoming remarks from P. Couchepin, Swiss Federal Councilor for Economic Affairs, J. Eckebil, Assistant Director General, Sustainable Developments Department, FAO, U. Gasche, executive Councilor of the Canton of Berne and F. Hari, President of the Municipality of Adelboden. M. Boetsch presented the objectives and expected results of the conference while J. Eckebil elaborated on the thematic frame of SARD based on Chapters 13 and 14 of Agenda 21. Delegates then  proceeded to the welcome party hosted by
P. Couchepin, Swiss Federal Councilor for Economic Affairs. Left photo L-R: J. Eckebil, FAO and P. Couchepin, Switzerland.
Opening Ceremony:




Above photos clockwise: Band entertaining the crowd before the official opening of the conference, the plenary view of participants, J Chavaz, Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture




Pascal Couchepin
, Swiss Federal Councilor of Economic Affairs said he hoped the conference would lead to a common declaration to be presented to the WSSD, and to tangible propositions for programmes aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development in mountain regions.




J Eckebil
, Assistant Director General of FAO highlighted both the importance and the vulnerability of mountain regions. He characterized the conference as an opportunity to build coalitions and influence the future.




U Gasche, Executive Councilor of the Canton of Berne (center), noted the problem of development disparities between rural and urban mountain communities and highlighted a new law containing principles of financial and taxation burden balancing to remedy it.


F Hari, President of the Municipality of Adelboden (above photo: left), introduced participants to the natural history and economic profile of the municipality of Adelboden.


Manfred Boetsch, Director, Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture gave an introduction to the proceedings and objectives of the conference. He explained that all levels, local, federal, regional and international have been involved in the definition of priorities and brought together at the conference. The aim is to elaborate the Adelboden Declaration, an action plan and prepare proposals to be implemented upon return. Left photo: M. Boetsch receiving an ward from FAO.


Mr. Eckebil, Vice Director General of the FAO (above left), in his keynote address elaborated on the linkages between Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 referring to fragile ecosystems and Chapter 14 on sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD).


Official Website of SARD-Mountains Conference
Sustainable Developments coverage of the launching of the International Year of the Mountains
Official Website of the International Year of Mountains
FAO and the International Year of Mountains
Mountain Institute



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