World Bank Rural Week 2000
28- 31 March, Westfields Conference Center, Virginia
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Photos and RealAudio of Tuesday 28 March

Tuesday evening's opening reception
Rural Week 2000 participants arriving at the Westfields Conference Center in Virginia
View of the grand reception hall
Robert Thompson, Director of the World Bank Rural Development Department, welcomed the Rural Week 2000 participants, noting the meeting's theme of "Poverty or Prosperity: Rural People in a Globalized Economy." He underscored the importance of alleviating poverty in rural areas, where the majority of the poor live.
Paul O'Conner, World Bank Rural Development Department, presented the film "Millennium Video," produced by Walt Disney for the World Bank. He noted the film's message on the goal of creating a world free of poverty and its aim to educate the privileged public about poverty.
Participants viewed the short film, which states that all people of the world should be able to "feed, shelter and educate themselves in order to live in dignity," and emphasizes the important role that access to water and healthcare can play in alleviating poverty. After the film, Thompson underscored the importance of communicating to the developed world the reality of poverty.

In his keynote address, Ian Johnson, Vice-President of the World Bank Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (ESSD), noted poverty involves not just low income and lack of access to services but also unsatisfactory economic growth and socio-political powerlessness. He called for the accounting and enhancement of changes in social and natural capital in addition to those of physical and human capital. He emphasized that the task of encouraging country teams goes beyond simple, myopic approaches towards sustainable development options driven by global environmental imperatives and the social agendas of inclusion and civic engagement.

RealAudio excerpts: Part one  Part two

James D. Wolfensohn, World Bank President, communicated to Rural Week participants via video. He emphasized the goal of ensuring that attention is focused not only on increasing agricultural yields, but also on developing an integrated rural development programme. He highlighted the importance of developing a comprehensive approach relating agriculture activities to the broader context of the private sector, provision of agriculture services, education and health, and called on participants to consider the impact of technological advances. He noted the RDV will need to take budget cuts this year, and called on participants to find and focus on ways to cut back.

RealAudio excerpts

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