Participation of the Population

The conference regards participation as a human right and considers the participation of the population to be of particular importance so that political power can be exercised in favour of disadvantaged groups and orientated towards the requirements of economic and social development. Rural development can only be achieved by the motivation, participation, and organization of the rural population at the basis.

As a foundation for effective participation, the governments should remove all obstacles which stand in the way of the rural population freely joining and organizing groups of their choice. In particular, they should promote the creation of farmers' and workers' associations and cooperatives at local, regional, and national levels, support these, and concede them rights of self determination. The rural population should have the opportunity to participate in development institutions, and take part in deciding on, implementing, and evaluating developing projects, especially projects concerned with rural employment. The various social, economic, and cultural service institutions need financial support and training for their functionaries, without their autonomy being interfered with. Especially the energy of the young people should be mobilized for rural development activities.

In order for the rural population to make a contribution when development programmes are planned and implemented, especially those of regional development, it is necessary to decentralize the decision making process. In order to do so, local executive authorities should be developed or created. One of the most important tasks of the local government authorities is to educate and train disadvantaged groups so that they can have a greater share in the life of the community and in the development process.

In the wake of agrarian reforms, associations for the new farmers should be founded which should supervise the observance of the tenancy regulations when land and water rights are redistributed. Loans and inputs should also be controlled by organizations for the small farmers and those who benefitted from the reforms. In the case of settlement projects, it should be ensured that the settlers are organized and can, thus, mobilize workers for developing in the infrastructure.