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July/August 2005; updated November 2005


International Conference on Agrarian Reform
and Rural Development

New challenges and options for revitalizing rural communities

7 - 10 March 2006, Porto Alegre, Brazil

The FAO Council during its 128th session approved the realization of an International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development to be held in Porto Alegre Brazil from 7 to 10 March 2006.

Despite considerable improvements in food production over the last 50 years, food security still remains a problem in many parts of the world. Food insecurity and agrarian reform are closely interlinked and without assuring adequate access to land (and water), the most basic productive resource, the goal of eradicating poverty, reducing hunger and promoting more broad-based and inclusive rural economic development will remain elusive. Around the world, the poorest of the poor are the landless in rural areas, followed closely by the land-poor - those whose poor quality plots are too small to support a family. They make up the majority of the rural poor and hungry.

The Committee on Agriculture, at its 19th Session, unanimously approved the proposal for FAO to convene an International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development in 2006 as a critical element of FAO’s programme to fulfil the commitments of the 1996 World Food Summit, the World Food Summit: five years later, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Committee considered that such a conference would assist in mobilizing national governments and the international community to support ongoing agrarian reform and rural development processes, and in securing tenure rights and access to land and other natural resources by the poor.

The International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development should also be an occasion to review the impacts and lessons learned from recent conferences, processes and mechanisms and take stock of the progress and failures in these areas. It should provide national governments, peasant and other producer organizations, civil society organizations and the international community with an opportunity to renew their commitments to support greater and more secure rights and access by the poor to land, water and other natural resources as well as to appropriate technologies, support services, and capacity-building in their use. The international conference should also provide an occasion to develop action proposals to build local governance capacities in rural communities, in order to enable them to respond to the challenges of sustainable rural development and poverty reduction. It should highlight, as well, the spin-off effects of dynamic rural economies and communities on accelerating development in urban areas and the national economy as a whole.

Dates

7-10 March 2006

Location

Brazil (Porto Alegre, Rio Grande de Sul – to be confirmed)

Level of participation

Ministers or their delegates, scientific community, civil society organizations and FAO-accredited NGOs

Objectives of the conference

Promote understanding, learning and constructive dialogue to address agrarian reform, sustainable rural development, and rural poverty issues through the creation of a lasting platform of monitoring and evaluation of best policies and practices and the progress on agrarian reform and rural development;

Sharing experiences, fostering recognition, improved willingness, and concrete actions by the international community, governments, producer organizations, civil society organizations, and others to enhance international cooperation and promote more equitable, transparent and accountable access to land and natural resources.

Indicative themes and outputs

The themes of the conference will be identified through an open consultative process facilitated by FAO and involving a wide range of partners from governments, UN Agencies, CSOs, and other stakeholders. An indicative list of themes and topics is as follows:



Proposed outputs and follow-up

The outputs of the Conference would include the following:

A lasting Platform of understanding, learning and dialogue on Agrarian Reform and rural development, and rural poverty issues, supported by an International Observatory Panel, :

A range of best policies and practices and lessons learned on Agrarian Reform and rural development agreed upon by member governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to promote priority actions, partnerships and international cooperation in support of more equitable, transparent and accountable access to land, water, other natural resources, agricultural inputs and rural support services.


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