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The round tables

Round table 1 - Managing access to natural resources
Round table 2 - Managing institutions
Round table 3 - Managing anti-poverty programmes
Workshop conclusions

International borders disappeared as workshop participants pulled Up chairs around three round tables for afternoon sessions. They knew the topics to be discussed for each session, but that was the only pre-determined element. The emphasis was on keeping the discussions open and spontaneous.

The groups were purposely made up of participants from different regions so there would be a cross-pollination of inputs and ideas dealing with the universal problems of rural development. Because the participants all had strong field experience, the discussions were supported with concrete examples based on their practical knowledge.

Each day, each group chose a facilitator and reporter who provided written summaries of the discussions. The participants determined the direction they wished to go with the topics and filled the hours with high energy, sometimes emotionally-charged debates that resulted in consensus conclusions and recommendations. All three round tables convened at the end of each day to share what they had discussed, learned and decided.

Because the focus of the round tables was on open discussions, little time was allowed for writing those summaries and they do not reflect the full extent of the debating. However, the summaries are included in this chapter to give a view of the way discussions progressed in the daily sessions.

Also included in this section are the final reports of each group that offer a synthesis of the three days of discussions. Because these were written at the end of the workshop after members of each group had a chance to sit together and reflect, they give more insight into the accomplishments, in terms of conclusions and recommendations, that grew from the discussions.

It is hoped that the ideas and issues raised in the round tables will serve as resource and reference material to further the debate on rural development.

Imagine the scene as a late-spring snow covered the campus of Gödöllö University, while inside the building three groups of round table participants examined, discussed and debated topics usually considered quite dry and serious. Anyone looking into these rooms would have seen animated conversations, participants jumping up from their seats, going to the blackboard to make a point, interrupting, talking at once, with excitement and energy. At one table sat participants from China, Honduras, Slovenia, Israel, Senegal, Germany, Fiji, and South Africa; at another India, Mexico, Venezuela, Mongolia, Germany, Slovenia, Nicaragua, Zaire, Hungary and Haiti; at a third, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Czech Republic, Egypt, Brazil, Germany, Ecuador, Senegal and the USA - all discovering that cultural differences could bring them together. Those differences became a point of potential as they discovered the similarities in their problems and opened their minds to learn how they might adapt the solutions that had already been tried by people living on the other side of the world.

Topics and Participants


Is private ownership of natural resources an essential condition for sustainability? What is the impact of different forms of property on agricultural production? What is the land market? How it is related to other markets, especially labour and credit?

Jian-Ming Zhou, CHINA
Tidiane Ngaido, SENEGAL
Alenka Verbole, SLOVENIA
Michael Ginguld, ISRAEL
German A. Flores Valladares, HONDURAS
Essy Letsoalo, SOUTH AFRICA
Mele E. Rakai, FIJI
Christian Graefen, GERMANY
Michael Kirk, GERMANY


What are the implications of decentralization for the rural sector?
How to ensure people's participation in the decision-making process for rural development?
What are the roles of government and civil society in rural development?

Astad Pastakia, INDIA
Rafael Paniagua, MEXICO
Luisa E. Guillén, VENEZUELA
Batjav Batbuyan, MONGOLIA
Stefan Keyler, GERMANY
Sabine Manigat, HAITI
Gabor Onodi, HUNGARY
Bolaseke Mbokoko, ZAIRE
Javier Molina Cruz, NICARAGUA
Mateja Mesl, SLOVENIA


How to make anti-poverty programmes successful?
Linkages between rural and urban poverty?
Will progress in economic development alleviate rural poverty?

Rosa Maria Barba, MEXICO
Sergio Obando, NICARAGUA
M. Riad El-Ghonemy, EGYPT
Thomas Westermann, GERMANY
Ossouby Toure, SENEGAL
Maria Clara Rodriguez-Raga, COLOMBIA
Arnold E. Sibanda, ZIMBABWE
Michal Lošt'ák, CZECH REPUBLIC
Ricardo Abramovay, BRAZIL
José V. Zevallos, ECUADOR
Benjamin K. Davis, USA

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