According to FAO, three out of every four people suffering from hunger live in rural areas and depend on natural resources such as land and water for their survival. However, the majority of them – and especially women and indigenous populations – do not have secure and continued access to those resources.
“If we want to reduce hunger and poverty in the world, we must go to the root causes of the problem. And in the poor rural zones, one of the main problems is the lack of secure access to factors of production, particularly land and water,” explains Parviz Koohafkan, Executive Secretary of the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD).
Learning from experience
The main objective of the Conference will be to analyze agrarian reform and rural development experiences in different countries and identify policies, practices and lessons learnt that can bring about a new rural development paradigm based on social inclusion, environmental sustainability and livelihood security for the poor.
During the Conference in Porto Alegre, working groups will discuss the following questions:
- Which policies and experiences have improved access to resources for the poorest populations?
- How can local institutions be empowered and planning and management of resources be improved?
- How can the concepts of agrarian reform, social justice and sustainable development be combined?
- How can the concept of food sovereignty ensure more equitable access to resources?
The promotion of participation of stakeholders in decision making in rural development processes is another fundamental objective of the Conference. To encourage this participation, dialogue sessions between representatives of governments and civil society organizations will be organised during ICARRD.
The Conference Secretariat has launched an internet site: www.icarrd.org with discussion forums that will contribute to the exchange of information and ideas on the Conference themes.
The documents to be discussed in the Conference working groups will be the result of wide ranging consultative processes at global, national and local levels with concrete case studies prepared by international institutions, governments and civil society.
The Brazilian government proposed the city of Porto Alegre, known worldwide as the host of the World Social Forum, to hold the Conference in order to highlight the importance of the participation of civil society and farmers’ movements in agrarian reform and rural development policies.
Nuria Felipe Soria
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570 55899
(+39) 348 5589105