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The thematic debate focused on “Promoting an integrated approach to rural development in developing countries for poverty eradication and sustainable development, taking into account current challenges”. In addition to the plenary debate, two parallel roundtable dialogues took place on various aspects of the theme. A report of the Secretary-General and Issues Notes served as the background information for the roundtables. An informal preparatory meeting of the Council was held for the Thematic Debate on 17 April 2008 entitled "Land and Vulnerable People".

Panel 1: “Bioenegry, sustainable livelihood and the rural poor”, (Programme / Summary) 3 July 2008, 3:00-5:30 pm

The roundtable addressed:

  • How biofuel affect the food security, energy needs and employment opportunities of poor, rural people;
  • How can the agriculture sector meet biofuel demand without compromising food security or availability of water for food production;
  • ow can land rights be safeguarded and secured in the face of increasing demand for biofuel and rising competition for land use for food and fuel crop production

Panel 2: “Harnessing the current boom in commodity markets for sustainable development and poverty reduction - the case of small producers”, (Programme / Summary) 3 July 2008, 3:00-5:30 pm

The roundtable discussed:

  • What are some of the domestic policies required for increasing productivity (technological innovation, including ICTs, rural infrastructure and access to credit) that can advance the objectives of food security and sustainable development;
  • What are some of the new business models and innovations that can help small producers to respond to market forces as well as to penetrate the global market?
  • How to improve access to local, urban, regional and international markets?