Witnessing the dramatic changes taking place at the close of the twentieth century as a result of scientific knowledge and human inventiveness in technology and globalization, it becomes difficult to comprehend how the great mechanical, social and industrial and scientific revolutions – the advances in agricultural sciences, medical sciences, health care and education which changed the industrialized world, could leave millions of farmers, forest dwellers and fishermen of developing and the least developed countries still using techniques and implements which had been devised about 2,500 years ago.
Sustainable development in popular terms was defined as “meeting the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generation to meet their needs,” and growth in the context of poverty eradication a new development paradigm in South Asia held that to be effective, the economic political and social dimensions of secular values would have to integrate to reinforce each other – bringing ethics into both politics and economics leading to greater social cohesion. It showed ways to reduce poverty to achieve growth with greater social integration. Sustainable agricultural development required that those entrusted with the responsibility to manage change would have clearly defined their purposes and policies, and their vision of the economic viability, social equity and ecological sustainability for the future of an agrarian society, indeed of the whole society.
The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), fully cognizant of the links established in Agenda 21 between people, the resources they use, and their survival undertook to consider these links in developing sustainable agricultural development strategies for the least developed countries of Asia and the Pacific. The publication is divided into three parts. Part one gives a regional overview of agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors and strategies for sustainability. Part II provides an assessment of the current state of agriculture and forestry, and looks at possible changes in agricultural policies and strategies for sustainable agricultural development in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and the Pacific Island Countries of Kiribati, Tuvalu. Part III looks at gender and sustainable agricultural development strategies for these countries.