Regional Rural Development: Has anything changed in the development debate in recent years?

When the concept of 'integrated rural development' first made an appearance in development cooperation in late 1979, it raised very high expectations. However, the concept quickly fell out of favour - successes were slow to arrive, and the word 'integrated' was open to far too many interpretations. A few years later, guiding principles for 'regional rural development' were introduced as a frame of reference in development cooperation. From now on, people would no longer be viewed as the passive recipients of aid efforts, but would be actively involved in driving the development process. Aspects of economic geography were also incorporated into the concept for the first time and the urban-rural nexus was identified as an issue. It was only in the 1990s that the socio-cultural and social policy dimension of rural development was incorporated into the concepts. In this paper, the author charts the various stages of regional rural development in the course of development policy and outlines the kind of WDR 2010 that he would like to see: a report in which the word 'integrated' does not only appear in the title.

Dr Henner Meyer-Rühen
Kelkheim/Ts., Germany