Basic Elements of a Programme of Action

In an analytical report on agrarian reforms and rural development in developing countries since the mid sixties (which was prepared as a preliminary report for the conference) it was ascertained that the development efforts made until then had often not reached the rural regions. The inequality and differentiation between urban and rural areas have become even more pronounced. Within the framework of socioeconomic development, an appropriate population policy is required, and the ecological balance as well as the conservation of limited resources gain considerable importance. The main objective of the development efforts is to eliminate poverty, famine, and malnutrition. The responsibility for the agrarian reform and rural development rests, primarily, in the hands of the governments of the individual countries. However, these must be supported by the international community. But this collaboration must be based on the principles of independence, national sovereignty, and self determination as well as non-interference in the internal affairs of nations. On the basis of these principles, the following guidelines were, among others, drawn up for the programme of action.

  • The basic objective of development is individual and social improvement, development of one's own abilities, and improvement of the living standard for all of the people, especially the poor in the rural areas.
  • National progress that is based on growth, equity, and participation requires redistribution of economic andl political power and a greater involvement of the rural areas in the national development efforts. It is also necessary to improve employment and income earning possibilities for the rural population, to develop farmers' associations, cooperatives, and other voluntary, democratic organizations for producers and agricultural labourers.
  • The greatest possible efforts should be made to mobilize and use the local resources for rural development.
  • The governments should give priority to rural development and offer incentives for more substantial investments and increased production fn rural areas.
  • An equitable distribution and efficient utilization of land, water, and other inputs while taking the ecological balance and protection of the environment into consideration are indispensable for developing rural regions, mobilizing the people, increasing production, and reducing poverty.
  • Great diversity in rural activities, including the integration of agriculture and animal husbandry, fisheries, aquacultures,and integrated forest development is important for rural development on an broad basis.
  • Settling industries, especially agro-industries, an rural regions offers the required mutual ties between agricultural and industrial development.
  • Measures and programmes concerning the agricultural and rural systems should only be implemented with the assent and participation of the whole rural population, including the young people and their organizations. Development efforts should be orientated towards the needs of the various groups of rural poor.
  • Women should be granted equal rights and contribute in the same way as the men to the social, economic, and political process of rural development as well as partake fully in the improved living conditions in the rural regions.
  • International collaboration should be intensified and a new awareness how urgent the measures are should be developed in order to increase the flow of financial and technical means for rural development.

On the basis of these principles, the conference recommends the governments and all the organizations concerned to implement a programme of action with the following contents, to formulate the appropriate objectives to that end, and to make fund available.