The sustainability of agriculture is emerging as one of the most relevant and global issues along with environmental questions. Agriculture must take up the challenge of sustainability, i.e. must guarantee economic and social viability, food security and safety while conserving and even improving local and global basic resources and the environment. It is going to be one of the major post Green Revolution challenges world-wide while many parts of the world, including Europe, are experiencing water and soil degradation or even scarcity . It concerns crop and livestock farmers, as well as researchers and policymakers. It is clear that the increases in agricultural production required in the future are expected to result mainly from better use of already-exploited agricultural and grass lands. Awareness of the need to change conventional agricultural practices  is increasing all over the world as the negative impact of soil tillage on farm productivity and sustainability, as well as on environmental processes, is increasingly recognized and documented in both the developed and developing countries.
In particular during the second half of the 20th century, much research as well as on farm tests and extension operations was conducted to develop alternative agricultural practices, technologies and approaches in order to build up sustainable agriculture. Most of these initiatives and investigations were in North and South America and Australia where conservation agriculture covers over a million hectares. Many scientific research papers already confirm its positive on-farm and off-farm economic, social and environmental effects and much scientific research is currently in progress throughout the world in order to refine agro-ecological systems by improving their resilience, profitability and dissemination conditions .
In spite of these trends, conventional agriculture is still dominant in the EU countries where agricultural land covers about half of the territory. In numerous situations, negative impacts on the environment resulting from current European farming practices are recognized and some degradation forms quantified, ECAF . In recent decades, certain measures taken in the framework of the CAP or national policies tentatively contributed to tackling these environmental degradation issues. Shifting European agriculture towards more sustainability may lead to a drastic reduction or even a reversal of the current trends. This task is likely to be one of the major priorities on the policy agenda of the EU and member states.
Agro-ecological systems and technologies are still poorly adopted in Europe. A recent cross analysis of the attitude of farmers and experts in 6 EU member states and Switzerland towards no-tillage systems emphasized an existing contradiction between research results and the opinion of experts and farmers. It clearly showed the lack of knowledge of EU farmers and experts compared with US farmers and experts participating in the study.
The overall objective of KASSA is to build up a comprehensive knowledge base assembling international experience on sustainable agriculture and emphasising pathways, conditions and challenges to be considered by European stakeholders (farmers, researchers and policymakers) in order to improve agricultural sustainability in Europe. KASSA will make it possible to learn from past and ongoing research activities and technology implementation to identify gaps, scope for the collaboration of potential stakeholders and the major social, cultural, technical and economic issues. This will lead to bringing to the fore the major research questions to be addressed, and the practical learning and capacity building conditions to support agricultural sustainability strengthening in Europe and Southern countries.
KASSA will be achieved through an inventory and analysis of experience and results on sustainable agricultures, the synthesis and sharing of lessons learned in Europe and Southern countries and gap analysis and fill-in. KASSA will be built on 3 successive tasks each followed by a validation meeting:
1- Comprehensive inventory, assessment and critical analysis of existing knowledge on sustainable agriculture;
2- Learning from local/regional past and ongoing experience;
3- Refining findings.
An external panel of experts will contribute to the critical analysis and validation of KASSA results before their final delivery. The prospects for sustainable agriculture in Europe will be addressed at the time of the closing international conference. KASSA results and findings, recommendations and the major future research actions will be delivered at that time.
 Bot, A.J., Nachtergaele, F.O., and Young, A. (2000). Land resource potential and constraints at regional and country levels. World Soil Resources Reports 90. Rome: FAO.
 Pieri, C., Evers, G., Landers, J., O'Connell, P. and Terry, E. (2002). No-Till farming for sustainable rural development. Agriculture & Rural Development Working Paper. Washington D.C.: IBRD Rural Development Department. 65pp.
 Derpsch, R. (2001). Conservation tillage, No-tillage and related technologies. Proceedings of the 1st World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. Garcia-Torres et al. Eds. Spain. ECAF & FAO. Volume I: 160-170.
 FAO. 2003. World agriculture: towards 2015/2020. AN FAO PERSPECTIVE. Ed. Bruinsma, J., Earthscan Publications Ltd, London. p297-330.
 Seguy, L., and Bouzinac, S. (2001). Direct seeding on plant cover: sustainable cultivation of our planet's soils. Proceedings of the 1st World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. Garcia-Torres et al. Eds. Spain. ECAF & FAO. Volume I: 85-91.
 Steiner, K., and Bwalya, M. (2001). The African conservation tillage network enhancing conservation tillage in Africa. Proceedings of the 1st World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. Garcia-Torres et al. Eds. Spain. ECAF & FAO. Volume I: 105-116.
 Harrington, L.W. (2001). A world of conservation agriculture. Proceedings of the 1st World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. Garcia-Torres et al. Eds. Spain. ECAF & FAO. Volume I: 153-158.
 Garcia-Torres, L., Martinez-Vilela, A., and Serrano De Norena, F. (2001). Conservation agriculture in Europe: current status and perspectives. Proceedings of the 1st World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. Garcia-Torres et al. Eds. Spain. ECAF & FAO. Volume I: 79-83.
 Tebrügge, F., and Böhrsen, A. (2001). Farmers' and experts' opinion on no-tillage in West-Europe and Nebraska (USA). Proceedings of the 1st World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. Garcia-Torres et al. Eds. Spain. ECAF & FAO. Volume I: 61-69.
See also workshops proceedings and report of the EC-Concerted Action (AIR 3-CT 93-1464):
- Proceedings of the EC-Workshop-I- Giessen, 1994; ISBN 3-930600-16-1;
- Proceedings of the EC-Workshop-II- Silsoe, 1995; ISBN 3-930600-46-3;
- Proceedings of the EC-Workshop-III- Evora, 1996; ISBN 3-930600-69-2
- Proceedings of the EC-Workshop-IV-Boigneville, 1997; 3-930600-95-1;
- Final Report "Experience with the applicability of No-tillage crop production in West-European countries" Tebrügge F. and Böhrnsen A. Eds, Giessen, 1998. 90p. ISBN 3-922306-30-6.