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.
Cautions and guidelines for the implementation of this strategy include: (1) introduction of new technology unaccompanied by education that explores advantages and disadvantages; (2) providing access to technology on an equitable basis for rich and poor, educated and uneducated; (3) introducing advances that are beyond range of many people in villages; (4) working out the problems at the local level with people; (5) non-consideration of secondary social factors ( [eg] required changes in food preparation, displacement of certain occupations); (6) getting technically capable people who will consider the social factors and work at the local level.
Factors which can accelerate this strategy are: (1) making available listings of major appropriate technology centres and their catalogues to project groups; (2) demonstrations that take the technology to where the people in surrounding the villages have easy access; (3) making an intensive effort to enable acceptance of new technology in one local area and then wider publicity of the usage of the new techniques by the new users themselves; (4) introducing technology to improve local skills and traditional crafts [eg] weaving rather than introduction of new trade like knitting or crocheting; (5) involving women in design conversations regarding subjects like water systems, farm labour, agricultural processing, energy saving or stove design.
The Exchange Group for Appropriate Technology studied approaches which encourage or might encourage the development of rural societies in the Third World. The study brings out on the one hand the technologies at present used by these rural societies and their potential for improvement, and on the other hand the new technologies which they can integrate into their development process. In the case of numerous projects, often carried out by NGOs, the study describes the development of old and new technologies, perfecting technical innovations and fitting them into the rural community. Seven themes are covered: (1) reafforestation and fuelwood savings; (2) wells and boreholds - replenishment of groundwater resources in the Sahel region; (3) grain storage; (4) processing of oil-bearing crops; (5) alternative building techniques; (6) metalworking; and (7) village savings and credit schemes.