Rural development is the process of life quality improvement and economic growth of rural populations in developing countries. It reduces local poverty and hunger by addressing many multi-sectoral needs including education, health, agriculture, and natural resources.
The concept first appeared in the 1992 UN Agenda 21 – Chapter 14. Its major influence in the international development frameworks and policies kept increasing over the years until its latest mention in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goal 2.
With 2.8 billion people worldwide living without energy services; more than 1 billion living without electricity; 16 percent of the rural population lacking drinking water access; 50 percent living without sanitation facilities; and 44 percent of births in rural areas carried out by non-healthcare professionals, rural development is key to solve these issues.
The 2030 Agenda reaffirmed the increasing severity of hunger and poverty issues, which must be addressed through sustainable agriculture, international cooperation, water and food security.
In this FUF Lund Magazine issue, agriculture and food production are addressed from different angles. The lack of knowledge in respect of nature and the discrimination against minorities have created great challenges such as poverty, hunger, deforestation, healthcare and education inequality and last but not least food loss and waste.
To solve these issues, rural areas need protection in cooperation with their local populations. In the meantime, laws and policies create sustainable agriculture while nurturing economic and social development.
Many decisions regarding the rural areas are made far away from those areas. However, the untold stories and the crucial knowledge are essential to create a future that is more just, equal and sustainable for all.
What are the challenges in rural development? What has to be changed? What kind of development is needed in the rural areas? This Rural Development Magazine issue answers these worldwide vital questions and raises awareness about this increasingly urgent topic.