United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


IPM/CSD-17 on Agriculture, Rural development, Land, Drought, Desertification, and Africa.
New-York, February 23-27, 2009
Subject: Statement Switzerland ? Rural Development
Date 24.02.09
Responsible Person: Hanspeter Wyss
Madam Chair
Women play a key role and should be enabled to take more leadership in advancing
rural development. As the Chair of the CSD17 you are a good example for all of
them. Thank you for that.
Or as Tim Hanstad said at the beginning of this session: When women own land, we
all benefit.
CSD should highlight solutions in the following areas:
1. In the area of ?sustainability? long term commitment for promoting enhanced
agricultural and pastoral productivity in an ecologically and economically sustainable
way is needed. This includes integrated crop livestock systems, sustainable
pasture management, agro forestry, locally affordable and manageable
technologies to fight soil erosion as well as watershed management.
2. In the area of ?capacity building? we need to strengthen and widen rural peoples?
access to relevant basic education, skills development and professional
training in agriculture and cattle raising. The huge disparities which often exist
between the capacities in the rural and urban areas have to be reduced. The
chances for the children, particularly for the girls, in rural areas to have access
to basic education have to be increased. If this inequity between urban and
rural areas is reduced, fewer young women and men would migrate to urban
centres to find possibilities for income generation. Such a ?brain drain? deprives
the rural areas from an important innovation potential. The same as
better access to basic education applies also to the access for rural populations
to modern knowledge in agriculture.
3. In the area of ?institution building? it is important to promote legitimate and representative
rural organisations, to strengthen their ability to participate actively
in the policy dialogue at all levels to defend their constituencies interests.
4. Targeted investments are required to bridge the bottleneck between agricultural
research and technology transfer to ensure that know-how and technologies
are transferred faster and good practices are scaled up.
5. More infrastructure in the rural area is needed to facilitate mobility and access
to markets: through labour intensive income generating practices, through the
development of local construction and maintenance skills and through enhanced
6. Smallholder farms ? which are managed primarily by women as we heard in
Mrs. De La Rosa?s key note statement - have a tremendous potential for
growth and they can contribute to greater food supply in the world. However,
they need secure access to land, to water and to rural financial services to pay
for seed, and they need better access to technologies which allow them to receive
and share the latest market information on prices.
Finally, I like to conclude with a recommendation concerning climate change mitigation.
Poor rural people can play a more active role in climate change mitigation. It is,
however, essential that they are compensated or rewarded ? through Payments for
Environmental Services - for their sustainable management of natural resources
which help avoid emissions from deforestation and degradation, activities that contribute
to mitigation. This is a win-win situation for their families and for the planet as
a whole.