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World Bank
Rural Week 2000

28- 31 March, Westfields Conference Center, Virginia

Briefing

 
The World Bank's Rural Week met from Tuesday through Friday, 28-31 March 2000, at the Westfields Conference Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The meeting focused on "Poverty or Prosperity: Rural People in a Globalized Economy." The event was attended by over 450 Bank staff, including approximately 100 field staff, as well as almost 50 individuals representing governments, academia, the private sector and international organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union (EU). This meeting was the fourth annual Rural Week. Prior to 1997 the World Bank held eighteen annual "Agriculture Weeks," but the title was changed to recognize and expand the event's consideration of the people and communities in rural areas in addition to agricultural issues. Participants at Rural Week 2000 addressed the situation of the rural poor in the era of globalization in four Plenary sessions, seventeen parallel sessions and six regional breakout sessions.

FULL SUMMARY NOW AVAILABLE : HTML ball.gif (204 bytes) TEXT ball.gif (204 bytes) PDF

  Images and RealAudio from Rural Week 2000:

Tuesday, 28 March
     Wednesday, 29 March
          Thursday, 30 March

               Friday, 31 March - below

 

Photos and RealAudio of Friday 31 March

A few images from the Morning Parallel Sessions:  
View of the Jefferson III-IV room in session
"Forests and the Poor: The Impact of Globalization": J.F.M. Arnold, Oxford University, discussed linkages between forests and the poor, the ability of poor to access the potential benefits of forest resource use, and the relationship between the increase in the global value placed on forests and the increasing market value of forest products. He identified issues stemming from collective management: failure of governments to empower locals; local institutions favoring entrepreneurial, political and bureaucratic desires rather than the interests of the poor; heterogeneous and fractured communities with conflicting interests; and lack of effective conflict resolution measures.
"Role of Agriculture Technology in Rural Development": Robert Evenson, Director, Economic Growth Center,Yale University, highlighted findings of a study on crop germplasm improvement. Emphasizing impacts of modern varietal improvements, he distinguished the processes of moving toward the best practice technological frontier and moving the technological frontier itself. He stressed that moving the frontier itself is difficult, but that moving it increases the value of all activities that move towards it. He emphasized the importance of public sector research and noted it is the public sector not the private sector which drives up productivity

Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS): David Marshall, FAO Statistics Division, spoke on links between food insecurity and vulnerability included in the joint FAO, World Bank, the USDA and participating African countries initiative aimed at strengthening national systems of food and agricultural statistics, specifically in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Madagascar and Guinea. He claimed that FAO's statistical databases on agriculture, forestry and fisheries are the largest and most up-to-date in the world, and include time series data on production, trade, agricultural inputs and land use. He conceded that the quality of data is only as good as the data provided by national statistical systems.

Final Plenary  

Six regional focus areas met on Thursday afternoon in breakout sessions to identify key issues and opportunities, and reported on their outcomes in the final Plenary:

The East Asia and Pacific group identified five key constraints affecting rural development: off farm employment/income generation; institutional capacity; sustainable natural resource management; access to rural finance; and appropriate technology.

The Europe and Central Asia group identified actions for poverty reduction, including: create private and transparent land ownership and land markets; facilitate emergence of transparent markets for production inputs and outputs; promote export; create private, sustainable financial systems through development of appropriate policy, legal and institutional frameworks; and increase attention to natural resource management.

The African region group presented results from its breakout groups on community participation, rural infrastructure, technology, governance, education, HIV/AIDs, markets and agro-enterprises and natural resources.

The South Asian region group noted the need for action on: rationalisation of public and private sector roles; increased investment in rural infrastructure; increased involvement in poverty targeted and community driven programmes that are inclusive and address vulnerable groups; enhancement of agricultural activity though technology; participatory approaches; development of partnerships; and improved portfolio management.

Middle East and North Africa group said water scarcity represents the region's predominant constraint, but highlighted progress in water strategies, policy changes and pricing, integrated and participatory approaches to water resources, and improved country and donor coordination.

Latin America and the Caribbean region participants agreed that they do the following activities well: demand driven rural investment funds, market assisted land reform in Brazil and land titling or administration projects. On what they felt the regional staff "does well but is not recognized for," the group identified agricultural technology transfer to small farmers.

The "multi-regional, multidimensional group" discussed issues including: the ownership of vision to action strategy documents by regions; dialogues with countries on vision to action updates; capacity building on trade issues; the lack of practical orientations in policy directives; the need for balancing between Bank sector and project work.

Commenting on the regional presentations, Robert Thompson identified a number of common themes.

Thompson remarked that the focus of rural development has broadened to a more integrative approach encompassing more then just agriculture as the vehicle for poverty reduction. He underscored the need to find ways to break down walls between sectors at the World Bank as well as between relevant governmental institutions. He drew attention to the theme of decentralization, community action and a participatory approach that emerged at Rural Week 2000 and suggested this could form the foundation for a new rural development strategy.

Fleurdeliza Canlas, RDV (left) was among the three winners of the InfoFair lottery. Participants were invited to enter the lottery by completing a questionnaire on InfoFair booths. Right: Canals recieving her prize from the InfoFair team.

Interview with Bob Thompson  

Minutes after the close of Rural Week 2000, the SD team spoke with Mr Thompson on...

... the theme of and intent behind Rural Week and the follow-up process to the review of "Vision ot Action" undertaken at the meeting.

... shifts in the Bank's and government's role in sectoral approaches, and the thorny question of corruption

From left to right: Bob Thompson, RDV; Laura Ivers; Nabiha Megateli and Richard Campbell. Behind the camera: Andrei Henry.


  Images and RealAudio from previous days: Tuesday, 28 March
     Wednesday, 29 March
          Thursday, 30 March
 

bulletDraft Agenda of Rural Week 2000

bulletSustainable Development's coverage
of RURAL WEEK 1999

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