From the ARS Council


The International Year Program

Since 1959 the United Nations has designated International years in order to draw attention to major issues and to encourage international action to address concerns which have global importance and ramifications.  Some recent years that with relevance to agriculture and the environment have been:

2017 – International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

2016 – International Year of Pulses

2015 – International Year of Soils

2014 – International Year of Family Farming

2011 – International Year of Forests

2010 – International Year of Biodiversity.


The declaration by the UN of an ‘International Year’ leads to a range of activities and events that seek to highlight the particular issue and increase the effort put into addressing research and development needs.  For example, the International Year of Soils encouraged and supported a wide range of additional activities in Australia (see–development-and-extension).


The proposal to have a year declared as an ‘International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists

Beginning in early 2016, many organizations began working together to gain support for a United Nations designated International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP).  This led to the formalization of an IYRP Steering Committee that has spearheaded this effort by actively engaging with colleagues and interested parties around the world.  The Steering Committee has coordinated numerous meetings and events, and has worked with members to gain the support of their respective governments for the IYRP.

One important event brought particular attention to this effort.  The United Nations Environment Assembly conference held in Nairobi in May of 2016 (UNEA-2) included a Side Event on “Sustainable Pastoralism and the Responsible Consumption of Livestock”.  Most recently, the Mongolian Government presented a request for an IYRP designation at an open session of the October 2018 COAG meeting in Rome, and it was formally supported by Ethiopia.  Now Mongolia is leading the effort to gain additional country-level support for a formal resolution to be presented at the 2020 COAG Meeting (see further details


ARS supporting the Mongolian Government’s efforts

The ARS is backing the bid for an IYRP fully and has been lobbying governments in Australia to provide support.

Further, a letter has been sent by the ARS to the Mongolian Government to support its efforts in having a year in the near future declared by the UN to be an ‘International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists’.  Click here to read the letter.