“ONE WORLD. No Hunger. Future of the Rural World”

April 27/28, 2017 | G20-Conference | BMZ, Berlin, Germany

As part of Germany’s G20 presidency, Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller hosted a conference in Berlin on April 27 and 28 with an important message: creating jobs and better prospects for young people in rural areas is vital to achieving a world without hunger. Notable guests included Head of the Federal Chancellery Peter Altmaier, African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi Adesina, Nobel Prize laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus, and Welthungerhilfe President Bärbel Dieckmann.

Around 800 guests came to Berlin to engage with ideas for fostering development in rural areas and bolstering youth employment. The “Berlin Charter” was adopted at the conference, a key document that will serve as impetus for decision-makers worldwide to boost their involvement in concrete steps to develop rural regions and create more employment for young people.

An international advisory committee led by Prof Joachim von Braun (Center for Development Research, Bonn) and Dr Agnes Kalibata (President of the Alliance for a Green Africa) drafted the charter. The GIZ was instrumental in the multi-month development process that involved input from international and German experts from the scientific community, civil society, the private sector and development cooperation. An online consultation process elicited ideas from the general public as well.

The 16-page document was officially presented to Federal Minister Dr Gerd Müller at the close of the first day. The conference was jointly organised by the Development Policy Forum and the Rural Development and Agriculture Division.

“RURAL FUTURE LAB” – giving young people a voice

Two pre-conference events held on March 27-29 and April 24-26 involved young people in the conversation. At the Rural Future Lab, around 130 young people from a range of G20 countries shared their visions and compiled their ideas for the future of the rural world. These were then integrated into both the Charter and the conference. Youth representative Alf Sidibé from Mali spoke at the conference, appealing to participants and G20 countries: “Don’t plan the future for, but with young people.”

At the start of the conference, Minister Müller expressed confidence that despite the current food security crisis, hunger could be eliminated if rural regions received the needed support: “We can only prevent future hunger crises if rural regions are strong and young people have real prospects. The future of humankind will be decided in our rural regions.”

The North had to contribute to development in the rural regions of the South, Minister Müller added, noting that: “Global warming and the climate crisis are already taking a deadly toll, and we are the primary polluters.” Africa had the capacity to feed itself, he said, though simply improving agriculture was not enough. Dynamic development in rural regions was key to creating adequate infrastructure, hospitals, schools and jobs, Müller asserted. He added that people needed secure land rights and access to loans, and affirmed that women must enjoy the same rights as men on the African continent. “This is what the Marshal Plan with Africa stands for.”

The second day of the conference was devoted to implementation. International, high-ranking panels presented and discussed possible solutions at parallel meetings organized by the GIZ, the KfW, the OECD, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. Concurrently, G20 representatives at the state secretary level explored youth employment in a closed session.

Impressions of the event

Picture above: Young people from rural regions in Africa, the G20 countries and Germany present their start-ups and ideas. Photo: GIZ/Ralf Rühmeier

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