Leaving no village behind
Around the world, four out of every five people facing extreme poverty live in rural areas. In cities, 5.3 per cent of people suffer extreme poverty, while this share climbs to 18 per cent for rural residents. The upcoming World Social Report 2021 examines the urban-rural divide and offers solutions to ensure that no village is left behind.
The growing rural-urban disparity is evident when it comes to access to education, health and other public services. People living in rural areas are also more likely to face human rights abuses, gender inequality, poor working conditions and indigenous land rights violations. In some countries, these inequalities give rise to rural discontent, polarization and unrest.
The current patterns of rural development are proving inadequate to protect the health of the planet. Many rural areas are affected by severe depletion, degradation and pollution of water and land resources. The continued loss of forests and wilderness further aggravates changes to the climate and increases the frequency of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19. Climate change in turn is having more adverse effects on agriculture and rural economies, thus creating a vicious cycle.
To achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community needs to urgently reconsider rural development.
The new World Social Report 2021: Reconsidering Rural Development, to be launched on 20 May 2021, presents findings on how rural development can serve as a powerful driving force to achieve sustainable development. It calls for moving rural development to the centre of attention; for ending the rural-urban divide and inequality within rural areas; and for achieving rural development while preserving the environment.
The latest report shows that new digital and frontier technologies are creating opportunities for achieving these goals. What is needed now is that we seize this chance to achieve the long-standing goal of eradicating the rural-urban disparity, leaving no village behind.
Visit this website to access the World Social Report 2021 on 20 May 2021.