Rural development, territorial planning, agriculture, food security
EU policy on rural development in developing countries is based on its paper Fighting Rural Poverty , which seeks to reduce poverty, increase food security and protect natural resources.
The paper identifies six policy goals:
- supporting economic policies aimed at broad-based growth
- ensuring more equitable access to land, markets and services
- education and training
- sustainable use of natural resources
- managing risks and providing safety nets
- building more effective, accountable, decentralised and participatory institutions
In 2005, a new policy statement, the EU Consensus on Development confirmed rural development as a priority for assistance, given the importance of agriculture and rural development for poverty reduction and growth.
It also introduced the theme of local (?territorial?) development, i.e. getting local people involved in investment decisions and managing resources, to support the emergence of local development clusters.
The 2005 EU Strategy for Africa also addresses the need to sustain rural economies and make African agriculture more competitive and productive.
Following the recommendations of the evaluation of rural development aid 1995-2005 , it was decided to cluster funding in three areas:
- specific support to agriculture and agribusiness, to raise rural incomes
- support for rural development, especially territorial planning, e.g. local governance, planning and management of rural areas, taking into account rural/urban links
- structural support for food security, focused on availability / access to food
The Commission is a member of the global donor platform for rural development - a group of 30 donors and development agencies whose goal is to bring rural development policies into line with the OECD Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness.
In June 2007, the Commission organised its 2nd forum on rural development, focusing on sustainable growth and poverty reduction in Africa. The forum contributed to strengthen the coordination of the development cooperation programmes of the EC and EU Member States in line with the Principles of Paris declaration, bringing together European development agencies' headquarters and field staff to share ideas, address common priorities and concerns and promote networking.