Land Resources

Small size, increasing and conflicting demands for access and use, effects of cyclones and other catastrophic events, insensitive mechanization of production systems, agrochemical pollution of soils and freshwaters,...these are among the problems affecting the land resources of SIDS.

Within the United Nations system, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is the lead agency for the chapter on Land Resources within the Barbados Programme of Action. Specific activities have included the convening in November 2005 of a Special Ministerial Event on Food Security and Sustainable Development in Small Island Developing States (following an earlier ministerial conference on agriculture in SIDS in March 1999) and the preparation of overviews on the status of the environment and natural resources in SIDS, including a wide range of issues related to sustainable agriculture and rural development.

UNESCO’s principal contribution to work on land resources is through its various scientific programmes and projects and through capacity building activities at different levels. Housing natural and social sciences under one roof, UNESCO promotes multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to the wise use of natural resources and to the improved understanding of human-environment relations. Among the cross cutting themes relevant to land resources management is that of local and indigenous knowledge systems.

Promoting integrated ecosystem approaches to the conservation and sustainable management of land, water and biodiversity is a major goal of the programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB) and its concern with people living in and caring for the biosphere. Biosphere reserves provide both a concept and a tool for testing approaches to sustainable development, through the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and associated regional and thematic networks.

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