strategy

Advancing integrated rural development

Synonyms:
Coordinating rural development
Stimulating activity on sustainable rural development
Promoting integrated rural development
Reducing unsustainable rural development
Undertaking rural development
Developing rural areas
Integrating rural development
Description:
Promoting systematic development of rural areas: improvement of roads, irrigation, electrification and the supply of clean drinking water, along with providing improved health, education and social services; private sector and industrial development; and strengthening of communities and local administration to support rural lifestyles.
Context:
Rural development activities have expanded substantially under all the technical major international programmes during recent years and now constitute over 50% of ILO's technical cooperation programme.

This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

Implementation:
As of March 1994, some 240 ongoing World Food Programme (WFP) development projects were supervised from 85 country offices and covered a wide range of categories designed to promote rural development and help increase agricultural and food production. Activities include environmental protection, resettlement of communities, health and nutrition, education and human resources development, forestry, infrastructure and transportation, and fisheries. Among others, WFP food aid may be: used in food-for-work projects; sold to the beneficiaries at subsidized prices and the money generated used to build services for poor communities; distributed in school-feeding programmes to promote school attendance and improved learning by overcoming short-term hunger; distributed to mothers and young children at health centres to encourage attendance.

The South Pacific Commission (SPC) aids the 22 member countries in rural development by providing: advisory and information services; occasional small grants to rural projects; assistance to develop integrated rural development programmes and strategies; assistance to governments. SPC's Regional Integrated Rural Development Project (IRDP), concerns itself amongst others with women, fisheries, agriculture, rural credit and income-generating capacities, health and nutrition, rural energy and technology, community development and communications.

The Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Africa (CIRDAFRICA) assists national action and stimulates and promotes regional cooperation relating to integrated rural development in Africa through a network of designated national institutions in member states, called National Integrated Rural Development Centre (NIRDCs), with the aim, in particular, of integrating all the rural people in the development process, of improving the production, income and living conditions of small-scale farmers and other rural groups and of encouraging their participation in social and economic life; act as servicing institution for its member states with respect to integrated rural development, by providing them with technical support, by fostering the exchange of ideas and experience and by encouraging such joint or collaborative activities as may benefit those states individually or collectively; serve as a clearing house and data bank for information on integrated rural development in Africa. Conducts and, where appropriate through the National Integrated Rural Development Centres (NIRDCs), promotes or assists research on various aspects of integrated rural development in Africa, with emphasis on alternative approaches leading to more effective field-action programmes. Holds consultative conferences and other meetings. Organizes training courses in the planning, implementation and evaluation of programmes for integrated rural development, and assists NIRDCs in organizing their own training courses and workshops. Provides other technical support to NIRDCs. Promotes the dissemination of information and prepares documentation, including translation and research, on integrated rural development in Africa and elsewhere. CIRDAFRICA undertakes cooperative programmes concerned with rural development issues with other regional and international organizations.

The European Commission has proposed an EUR 2.2 billion budget for the LEADER+ rural development initiative from 2000 to 2006. Help will go to local action groups (LAGs) outside government or local authority control. Pilot strategies, inter-area co-operation and networking will be supported. The pilot territorial strategies for integrated rural development will support communities not exceeding 100,000 inhabitants in the most densely populated areas (100 inhabitants/km2) and generally no smaller than 20,000 inhabitants. Exceptions are possible for more sparsely populated Nordic regions. Without prejudging regional specificities, the Commission has highlighted the following key areas of interest: use of new know-how and new technologies guaranteeing the competitiveness of products and services; improving the quality of life in rural areas; valorising local products; valorising natural and cultural resources.

Claim:
In practice, rural development is an evolving journey. No set patterns or blueprints exist. Actual change in a rural setting means dealing with the actual constraints. Only when action begins do real learnings begin. Every locale has its own starting point. At the project level, the emphasis of development is on implementation and action. However 'it is not action and action alone. The donkey is also working the whole day. You must take time to sit back and think. What can we learn from each other ? How do we react to a broader spectrum (of ideas) than what we have ? The realm of ideas resides very much in the realm of practice'.
Counter Claim:
From a scientific perspective, there is a need to be honest about how much we do not understand about the ecological processes on farmland. Also, we should be cautious about pushing too hard for 'integrated rural development', which at the moment is not well defined. It may not necessarily have agricultural land-use at its centre, and it may not maintain the ecological status quo in the most important areas.
Subjects:
Action
Rural
Promotion
Coordination
Development
Sustainable development
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies