Inter-Regional Conference on Urban-Rural Linkages,
1-4 October, 2004, United Nations Office, Nairobi, Kenya
UN-HABITAT, in collaboration with its partners, is convening an Inter-regional Conference on Urban-Rural Linkages. The Conference will take place from 1-4 October 2004 at the UN Office in Nairobi, Kenya, and culminate in the celebration of the World Habitat Day on 4 October 2004.
The conference is co-sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), and the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG).
Objectives of the Conference
The objective of the conference is to create and promote awareness among national economic and social development decision-makers and planners, their policy advisers and urban-rural development actors, of the need for enhancing the balanced territorial development of both rural and urban areas.
The Conference envisages to do this by pooling, collating, synthesizing and sharing experiences and lessons learned, with a view to stimulating mutual learning, capacity-building and utilization. The participants are expected to share their countries’ and regions’ experiences and review current practices in this area.
The theme of the World Habitat Day this year - Cities: engines of rural development reflects the substance and significance of the conference. The WHD will provide an opportunity to send and publicize the outcome of the conference to all cities and countries participating in the WHD.
It is now widely recognized that there exists an economic, social and environmental interdependence between rural and urban areas and a need for balanced and mutually supportive approach to development of both ends of the continuum. The discrete consideration of rural development as completely distinct from urban development is therefore no longer valid. A new approach, contemporaneously referred to as the “rural-urban linkage development perspective” has become the more accepted approach. Rural-urban linkages generally refer to the growing flow of public and private capital, people and goods between urban and rural areas. It is important to add to these, the flow of ideas, the flow of information and the flow of diffusion of innovation. Adequate infrastructure such as transportation, communication, energy and basic services is the backbone of this urban-rural development linkage approach. There is also a positive relationship between adequacy of infrastructure, ease of mobility and access to employment and enhancement of income. Adequate investments in infrastructure also improves rural productivity, allows access to markets, jobs and public service by both men and women.
The International Development Agenda has increasingly recognized the potency of the urban-rural linkage development approach to sustainable development. The Habitat Agenda also clearly makes the case for economic, social and environmental interdependence and for the need for balanced and mutually supportive development between rural and urban areas.
In its efforts to promote sustainable human settlements development and eradication of poverty, UN-HABITAT considers this approach as having potentials both for promoting positive urban-rural development benefits and for generating substantial employment and therefore contributing to poverty eradication through widening livelihood opportunities and choices for both urban and rural populations. Through the proposed inter-regional conference, UN-HABITAT proposes to collate, synthesize, share and disseminate existing experiences of this nascent approach to national and local development planning. It also expects to develop and share guidelines and tools for effectively implementing this approach to the national, regional and local development planning processes.