Seva Mandir

International Rural Network Forum

Development Dialogues and Dilemmas

Rural communities worldwide face challenges related to global development and climate change. Especially in rural parts of the majority world, economic liberalization and globalization mean poverty, displacement, water shortages, environmental degradation, and limited access to affordable services. Outmigration of young adults seeking employment in growing urban areas leaves behind a vulnerable population of children and elderly persons with inadequate health and education services. These problems are often exacerbated by climate changes which particularly impact on the poorest and most vulnerable individuals and rural communities. The situation will only worsen without public and private commitments to integrated, sustainable development in rural places. The 2009 World Rural Forum will convene practitioners, policy makers, activists, company executives and scholars to focus on rural innovation in a global context. In small group workshops, panel groups, plenary sessions, and technical assistance clinics, delegates will share what they know about creating rural wealth, adapting to climate change and overcoming rural disadvantage and identify areas where they need technical support or advice. Discussion will focus especially on health, education, water, increasing community resilience to external shocks, improving livelihoods and job creation, and how strategies in these areas can be integrated to more effectively improve rural well being. Papers and workshop presentations are invited on the following main themes or topics, although other topics associated with the overall conference theme or track themes would also be welcomed. Preference will be given to papers and workshops that contrast research results with practical experience, thereby acting as a bridge between the theory and practice of innovation whilst also highlighting policy implications. Discussion papers and practical presentations are also welcome. It is hoped that each track will be sponsored by a relevant organisation that will highlight recent experiences in the field and then facilitate debate over the practical and policy implications of the Track papers.

Key tracks include the following:

  1. Adaptation and Transformation
  2. Innovation and Sustainability
  3. Leveraging Resources
  4. Partnerships – Transnational, national, regional and local

Cross cutting issues will be – health, education, economic development. Also included in this would be environment, gender, migration and displacement and local governance.

Issues and strategies of special interest at the Forum include innovative approaches to coping with the myriad challenges and opportunities presented by external forces, especially climate change, globalization of markets, and political reforms. These issues and strategies concern rural livelihoods, enterprise, governance, health and education, indigenous rights to natural resources, and women’s empowerment. In addition, we encourage examination of crosscutting issues, such as the impact of changing diets on health, the perverse effects of climate change mitigation measures on rural communities, and the design of place based and consequential education to help meet global economic challenges.

Conference Outcomes:

  • Increased awareness leading to better cooperation and understanding
  • Identifying specific solutions to community issues raised at the forum (in workshops / clinics and on fieldtrips)
  • Establishing an ongoing resource exchange to create the solutions (identified above)
  • Establish linkages to promote and form network for collective action for rural development
  • Facilitate interaction among varied groups/ regions/ nations for mutual learning, exchange of ideas and pooling of resources
  • Stimulating the motivation amongst participants to continue with their own field of work and to participate in the ongoing network of exchange for creation of solutions.

Forum News



Provisional Acceptance from Nicola Crosta

Richard Wakeford has kindly agreed to speak at the forum.

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