Rural population comprises about 70 and 60 percent of the population of low and lower-middle income countries, respectively, and about 80 percent of people below poverty line live in rural areas. The SDGs cannot be achieved without progress in rural development. Important changes in rural development strategies are also necessary for protection of natural capital, located mostly in rural areas and subjected to serious depletion due to the current strategies of rural development.
The World Social Report 2021, titled "Rethinking Rural Development," puts forward the radical idea of ending the rural-urban divided through efficient use of new technologies that have shown that a vast range of economic activities, that were previously thought to be urban, can be carried out from rural areas too. It examines the concept and experience of "in-situ urbanization" under which the material standard of rural population is raised to the urban level, obviating the necessity of rural-urban migration, which often ends up with loss of necessary human capital in rural areas and with slumps and squalor in urban areas. WSR 2021 offers recommendations structured at three levels, namely strategic principle, cross-cutting programs, and sectoral policies.
The proposed side event is aimed at discussing the ideas presented in the World Social Report 2021, examining their soundness in the light of country experiences, and ways of their implementation. The full report and its Overview can be seen here