The World Social Report 2021: Reconsidering Rural Development – Press Conference (20 May 2021)

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  • United Nations published this video item, entitled “The World Social Report 2021: Reconsidering Rural Development – Press Conference (20 May 2021)” – below is their description.

    An urgent reconsideration of rural development is needed for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as the current strategies and patterns of rural development are failing to meet either the socioeconomic or the environmental Goals of this Agenda, according to a new UN report issued on Thursday (20 May).

    Four out of every five people who face extreme poverty around the world live in rural areas. Many rural areas are witnessing severe depletion and degradation of natural resources, contributing to climate change and the recurrence of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19.

    “Until recently, rural areas have been viewed mostly as the place for agricultural activities with a residual role mainly as a source of labor for the expansion of global economies, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist Elliott Harris said at a press conference in New York. “Rural Development was considered as an appendage of urban development. Unfortunately, such a residual view of rural areas has often not been beneficial for either the rural, or the urban populations,” he added.

    “The experience of COVID-19 has shown that with adequate connectivity, a whole range of economic activities previously thought to be urban, can now be carried out from rural areas. This implies a paradigm shift, and he World Social Report 2021 is calling for rethinking rule development in light of this shift,” Harris said.

    The World Social Report 2021 points to the ways in which rural development can be reset to achieve sustainable development. It calls for moving rural development to the centre of attention and ending the rural-urban divide through the adoption of the in situ urbanization model. It also calls for ending within-rural inequality and for achieving rural development while preserving the environment.

    “While the prospects are bright, the challenges of rural development are also daunting. It will require a heroic effort to realize the potential that the new technologies are creating for rural development,” Harris said. “The WSR 2021 calls on all of us to take on this challenge. It is put forward a new thought of ending rural-urban divides using the new technologies and through the necessary accompanying changes and institutions”

    World Social Report 2021 shows that new digital and frontier technologies are creating opportunities for achieving these goals. What is needed is to seize these opportunities and to convert into reality the long-standing goal of eradicating the rural-urban disparity.

    “I sincerely hope everyone will heed this call and respond appropriately,” Harris ended.

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