“A raft of the world’s most influential agricultural bodies have joined forces…”
Wall Street Journal, Nov 2011

Whatever else it brings, 2012 will almost certainly be a watershed year for agriculture and rural development.

In recent years, converging crises in the global economy, environment, energy sector, and climate have demonstrated the fragility of hard-won improvements in rural livelihoods achieved since the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro. But the last 2 decades have also produced solid evidence that the farming, livestock, fisheries, and forestry sectors offer lasting solutions.

A combination of scientific research and on-the-ground innovation has demonstrated the real and potential success of many technologies and methods. To build on their success requires an integrated landscape approach that improves agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods, while also addressing threats to forests, water, and biodiversity.

If you believe in the importance of investing in this success, then make plans now to attend 4th Agriculture and Rural Development Day at Rio+20, or follow us online (#rio4ag)

Rio+20 – short for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), to be held this June in Rio de Janeiro – offers governments, international institutions, and other groups an historic opportunity for renewing their commitment to what United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called “a sustainable green economy.”

The purpose of Agriculture and Rural Development Day – the fourth in a series of annual events, being held this time in parallel with Rio+20 – is to ensure that such a vision includes clear steps toward sustainable food systems. Participants will chart a way forward, reinforce the alliances that can get us there, and identify ways to measure progress. The day’s key messages will be shared widely through the mass and social media as well as through links with related events.

Hosted, sponsored and organized by more than 15 organizations, the day will feature keynote speakers, a high-level panel discussion, and 10 participatory “learning events” – giving voice to a wide cross-section of stakeholders. The learning events will explore concrete cases of success, which, if scaled out through greater investment, could translate into a thorough transformation of the global food system. In the afternoon, the event will feature scientific innovations for a food-secure future.

Agriculture and Rural Development Day 2009, 2010 and 2011 were held in Copenhagen, Cancún and Durban, respectively, alongside UNFCCC COP 15, 16 and 17. These events consolidated a network of organizations around the idea that, while agriculture is part of the climate change problem, it is also essential for finding solutions. The Rio+20 conference represents a new opportunity to put agriculture at the heart of sustainable development policies.