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FAO’s Plan of Action for People’s Participation in Rural Development adopted in November 1991 by the FAO Conference recognizes that active participation in agriculture and rural development could be more effectively promoted through voluntary, self-reliant and democratic organizations of the rural population and stresses the need to intensify cooperation between governments, NGOs and FAO.

From the mid-Seventies, FAO has pioneered in participatory rural development activities in support of the rural poor particularly small and landless farmers. This was one of the major topics on the agenda of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) in 1979. The WCARRD Programme of Action, also called the “Peasants Charter” affirmed that “participation by the people in the institutions and systems which govern their lives is a basic human right.”

Since WCARRD, people’s participation as an objective in development efforts, has gained importance in decision-making by government policy-makers, bilateral donor agencies and international development organizations, whereby due recognition is given to relevant non-governmental organization (NGO) development experience at the grassroots level.

Building upon partnership with both development NGOs and rural people’s organizations (POs), the Cooperatives and Other Rural Organizations Group within the Human Resources, Institutions, and Agrarian Reform (ESH) Division of FAO has elaborated, throughout the Eighties and the early Nineties, participatory strategies and methodologies which have been applied in selected pilot project activities in developing countries.

This publication is one of the outputs of a Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) in the Philippines entitled, Project Formulation for People’s Participation in Rural Development Activities. The project’s objective was to assess current GO/NGO policies, procedures and mechanisms and to develop a proposed framework and mechanism to enable NGOs and people’s organizations to participate in the government’s project cycle in the sectors of agriculture, rural development and agrarian reform.

As part of this TCP, a National Workshop was held in Tagaytay City in November 1991 to review, discuss and validate the report and findings of the TCP Project Team (composed of key personalities from government agencies and NGOs). The Report on this National Workshop provides information on the state-of-the-art of ESH’s experience in promoting GO/NGO/PO dialogue and collaboration in Asia as part of the implementation of FAO’s Plan of Action for People’s Participation in Rural Development.

Hans Meliczek
Chief, Rural Development Analysis and Organization Service (ESHA)
Human Resources, Institutions and Agrarian Reform (ESH) Division

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