Sustainable agriculture



Concerning international governmental organisations, environmental indicators are being developed by the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, as a follow-up to the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 (UNCSD, 1996). Included in this work is the development of a set of indicators related to sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) under the guidance of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

The FAO's inter-governmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is also establishing a monitoring system to track the state of the world's plant and animal genetic resources (FAO, 1996 and 1998). The FAO activity is linked with the broader concerns of the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and their development of biodiversity indicators including agro-biodiversity indicators.

The World Bank is actively engaged in developing environmental indicators, some of which are relevant to agriculture (World Bank, 2000a; 2000b, and 2000c; and the web-site: ). In addition, the World Bank has been working for several years with Land Quality Indicators (World Bank, 1997).


FAO [United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation ] (1996), Report on the State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, prepared for the International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources, Leipzig, Germany, 17-23 June. Available at:

FAO (1998), The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, First Session, 8-10 September of the International Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome, Italy. Available at:

UNCSD [United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development] (1996), Indicators of Sustainable Development Framework and Methodologies, New York, United States.

World Bank (1997), Expanding the Measure of Wealth Indicators of Environmentally Sustainable Development, Environmentally Sustainable Development Studies and Monographs Series, No. 17, Washington, D.C., United States.

World Bank (2000a), The Little Green Data Book, Development Data Group and Environmental Economics and Indicators Unit, Washington, D.C., United States.

World Bank (2000b), World Development Indicators 2000, Washington, D.C., United States. Text and samples of tables are available at:

World Bank (2000c), Rural Development Indicators Handbook, Rural Development Department, Washington, D.C., United States.