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A number of papers were commissioned by this office in 1993 in preparation for the International Year of the Family in 1994. These provided a basis for the preparation of papers for the Regional Expert Consultation on Rural Families and Household Economies organized by FAO, and held in the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific from 7 to 10 November, 1995.

15 experts participated in the Consultation in their personal capacities, to share their experience and deliberate on the issues affecting rural families today and in the future. This report contains the contributions by paper writers and presenters, the individual contributions of the experts and the dynamics of the interactions between presenters, group members and individuals throughout the Consultation. The issues identified, conclusions drawn and recommendations made are presented here in the hope that the emerging issues of concern for rural families can be met by Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector with support from FAO, through reorientation of research, training and extension services.

Such reorientation may require a new research agenda, revision of current training curricula, the development of new education, extension and training materials, and the mobilisation of all forces in a triumvirate - government, NGOs and the private sector - for confronting rural poverty, food insecurity and the welfare of rural families. As such, the Consultation examined the issues in the context of "family and household as a small enterprise" using, managing, and transforming resources to meet their subsistence needs, and to generate income for improving their standards of living and quality of life.

FAO is grateful for the contributions made by experts and resource persons, as well as colleagues from UNIFEM and AIT. I am personally confident that this report will provide the momentum for reorientations foreseen in FAO's Plan of Action for Women in Development which implies the active participation of all family members, and look forward to supporting follow up activities in the region.

A.Z.M. Obaidullah Khan

Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

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