Monday, 11 April 2011

3rd European Forum on Rural Development

29th March-1st April 2011. The 3rd European Forum on Rural Development was held in Palencia, Spain. This forum was an initiative by the European Commission and EU Presidency with the support of France, Germany, Ireland, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development and CTA. Around 500 experts in rural development form all around the world attended.

The Global Donor Platform is an alliance of 34 donor institutions, including agencies in France, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Germany the European Commission, the World Bank and others. Each agency has a so-called “Focal Point”, a contact who mediates between his own agency and coordinating organs in the Global Donor Platform

Six breakout session (download their programmes here) focussed on:
  1. Institutions and policies for effective governance of rural development
  2. Ecologically efficient agricultural systems for smallholder farmers
  3. Access to land and other natural resources
  4. Food Security and Social Protection
  5. Role of rural women in achieving food security and
  6. Linking smallholder farmers to efficient markets.
Interview with Brian Baldwin. Brian Baldwin is the Vice-Chair of the Global Donor Platform and a Senior Operations Advisor for the International Fund on Agricultural Development (IFAD). In this video he talks about the successes of the Forum – and why it is necessary to involve Parliamentarians into rural development policies.
Interview with Willem Olthof. Willem Olthof is currently tasked with agricultural development issues in DG Development of the European Commission. Besides, he is the Focal Point for the Global Donor Platform, sharing Commission ideas and interests with other members of the platform. In this video he talks about his work as a focal point and his impressions of the Forum.

Besides the breakout session several side events were organised.

At a side event of EIARD, EFARD and AGRINATURA discussed the role of Agricultural Research: a drive of rural development.

Another remarked side event was about Rural financing. Betty Wampfler of CIRAD presented a case study which resulted from the research Organisations professionnelles agricoles et institutions financières rurales. Construire une nouvelle alliance au service de l'agriculture familiale. 

IFAD organized a side event on the Support to Farmers' Organizations in Africa Programme (SFOAP) with the participation of Elizabeth Atangana, the President PROPAC.

At a side event of the CTA, policy-makers and field experts debated the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in rural development. 80 participants followed panel debates on ICTs policies, promoting extension services to farmers and improving market access for farmers.

Interview with CTA Director Michael Hailu, who chaired the discussions.

Type: booklet
108 pages
Download pdf - 12 MB [12 MB]
One of the side events of the EC presented the “EU Food Facility”. For this facility the Commission unblocked a sum of 1 bn €, to be used in the period from 2008 to 2012. More than half of the funds have been allocated to international organizations like the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) for programmes in developing countries. But NGOs and the Commission itself also received some of the funds, said Willem Olthof, responsible for agricultural development issues in DG DEVCO at a side event about the EU Food Facility. The Commission screened a short film about the implementation of EU Food Facility Programmes.

Interview with T.K. Omana of RASTA: the Rural Agency for Social and Technological Advancement. RASTA began in 1984 as a branch of a globally reputed institution, the Barefoot College , the Social Work and Research Center of Tilonia, Rajasthan with the belief that solution to rural problems lie within the community.

RASTA addresses the problems of rural people especially women, indigenous communities, small and marginal farmers related to agriculture deterioration, rural unemployment, food security, technology gaps in rural development, backwardness of women and tribal communities, water and sanitation, conservation of ecosystems, health and decentralized governance.