At this year’s annual general assembly the participants discussed the possible future of rural areas in 2030. The first day started with welcoming remarks from Mr. Leonard Mizzi from the European Commission. In his opening remarks, he mentioned several global challenges – demographic boom in developing countries, changes in diets, rising inequalities and levels of migration, concentration of poor and rising pressure on the environments – the world and most specifically rural areas will face in the next couple of years. These stress factors push for a boost in sustainable agriculture practices and broadening of the rural agenda by focusing on territorial approaches and more sensitive rural-urban dynamics. Mr. Mizzi called on the participants to use the AGA to develop strategies to respond to the clear demand for inclusive processes that support rural economic development by building effective partnerships.
Panel Outcomes Day 1
The co-chairs of the Platform welcomed the participants. They praised the Platform as the only global network in the donor constituency working in the rural space. In light of the issues raised in the welcoming remarks they urged the participants to focus on emphasising research and science as the key for solutions needed in rural areas. The first panel discussed the way development partners would like to the see development cooperation in 2030. Mr. Wambo expressed his hope that donors will align their support with the priorities the countries have set for themselves. Furthermore, he reiterated the importance African youth will play for development. Donor interventions should support smallholder farmers to become entrepreneurs and foster private sector collaboration. Beatrice Byarugaba sees development as having access to good quality of food, nutrition security and purchasing power. There are African countries, who managed to reach this marks and in the next 10 years donors and partners countries should work closer together, learn from each other, cooperate and collaborate with research and technology, linking innovations to farmers. First step should be in efforts to support governments to commit to the provision of good quality services in rural areas. Ms. Esther Muiri joined the call for more collaboration and urged the donors to allow communities and women to be at the centre of development. Mr. Erich Schaitza reasserted what was said by the other panelists and added that research and extension services, organising farmers in associations have been some of the most important steps to secure food security in the past. Mr. Huy gave an insight of how South East Asia region is preparing for the implementation of the Agenda 2030. The focus has been and will remain on agribusinesses and accommodating the increased demand for food. The regional governments hope that dealing with these these new circumstances will also change the food value chains, creating new employment opportunities for farmers and changing food system practices.