Join in the dialogue

The Berlin Charter

Creating new opportunities in rural areas for the younger generation

Mangos being washed

It is expected that by 2050, there will be around nine billion people living on our planet. In order to ensure that they all have enough food, it is vital that the economic development of rural areas is accomplished with good result. Currently, however, millions of people worldwide are moving away from rural areas and into urban centres. They are fleeing hunger and poverty – and sometimes violence too – in the hope of finding more jobs, higher wages, better educational opportunities and better medical care elsewhere. Further factors contributing to the rural exodus are shortage of land, over-intensive exploitation of natural resources, natural disasters and the effects of climate change. At the same time, the population in many rural areas is continuing to grow, thereby increasing the pressure on natural resources and local job markets.

This trend can be halted if rural regions are again seen to be offering prospects for the future such as jobs, educational opportunities, access to energy and safe drinking water, transport, communications technology and cultural offerings. To live in a rural area must once again become attractive, in particular for the younger generation.

A charter offering new prospects

Rural areas offer a great abundance of natural resources, both for the current generation and for future ones. Furthermore, they also offer great potential for development. For example, the spread of digital technologies and regional trade, and in particular the local processing of raw materials and agricultural products, can benefit rural areas.

The delegates from academia, civil society and the private sector invited to help draft the Berlin Charter have put down in writing how we can all work together to foster development and create prospects for the future in rural areas, in particular for young people.

The Charter is intended to motivate decision-makers to step up and do their utmost to support rural development. In fact, the Charter is to serve as a roadmap and an inspiration. And as a reminder of how important rural development is for achieving sustainable global development.

Join in the dialogue

We invite all players who are interested in rural development to comment on this first draft of the Charter and suggest how it could be enhanced. Your comments and suggestions will be reflected in the amended draft. That version will then be fine-tuned with the help of an academic drafting committee, where after it will be presented to the public in Berlin on 27 and 28 April.

Click here to download the full draft (as at 16 March 2017, PDF, 123 KB).

You will find the first draft on the following pages:

How you can take part in the dialogue

Up until 31 March 2017, we are offering you, the public, a number of ways in which you can take an active part in shaping the Berlin Charter. For example, you can:

1. Post your comments on the Berlin Charter on our website

Post your comments and suggestions on the individual chapters of the Charter in the field labelled "Your comment". You will find a comment box at the end of the draft. The comment box is limited to 3,000 characters. After you have sent off your comment, it will appear at the end of the draft and will be visible to everyone visiting the site. Please understand that, for technical reasons, there will be a delay before your comments appear online. Please also refer to our guidelines on netiquette.

2. Send us your comments by e-mail

Another way of sending us your comments is by e-mail. Please send them to:

Please note that comments sent by e-mail will not be published on our website.

3. Send us your comments by post

Of course, you can also send us your comments by post to the following address:

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Topic: The Berlin Charter for Rural Development
Stresemannstrasse 94
10963 Berlin

Submission deadline is 31.03.2017 (date by which your comments must be received).

Comments (4)

David Motonka wrote on 24.03.2017 14:58

The current situation in Kenya is that agricultural activities are done by elderly people. There is need for all inclusive agricultural initiatives involving youths and elderly. This can be achieved by adopting agricultural activities that are more efficient,sustainable and embracing modern technologies. The following are my proposed areas of involvement of youth in rural areas:- 1)Provision of irrigation water is key because frequent crop failure discourages youth 2)Value addition funding in Agriculture whereby livestock keepers can invest in slaughter houses and market meat rather than trekking animals 3)ICT use in Agriculture is critical in that there is a platform of answers to questions, linkage to market and also learning from others 4)Provision of start up credit that is friendly to young people 5) Establishment of ecotourism as well as agro tourism 6)Use of modern technology in agriculture


Roger Leakey wrote on 22.03.2017 15:16

I have spent about 25 years trying to develop new approaches to rural development in Africa to alleviate hunger, malnutrition, poverty, environmental degradation and mitigate climate change. I think we have now got a good tried and tested approach - see books "Living with the Trees of Life - Towards the Transformation of tropical Agriculture" (CABI, 2012) and "Multifunctional Agriculture - Achieving Sustainable Development in Africa" (Elsevier - Academic Press, 2017). It is based on the ideas of African farmers and involves both better land use management and the creation of new sources of income for the sustainable intensification of smallholder farming - ie. agroecology + income for greater crop productivity, better livelihoods, new local business. A key component is the Social Modification of indigenous and traditional food and non-food species as new crops.


Eyongetta Stanley njieassam wrote on 22.03.2017 13:33

Thomas maltus had a great vision about the relationship between population growth and food production. Today we have food crisis every where and Which tend to interfere with the environment. Traditional agriculture had been the most feasible way to cultivate and without any effect on the environment especially in developing countries. Though these practices are informal it is scientific and we have tend to neglect it. I think we have to tend to the peasant farmers and put down their practices be in in livestock or cultivation of crops we have to put their way and experiences in writhing to adapt new and feasible agricultural practices for africa. Organic farming practices is dying out while artificial agriculture has increased this bringing a lot of out breaks and soil and climate distruction


Fayinkeh mahamadou wrote on 21.03.2017 23:05

Under Financing of rural communities can be sustainable only through a tangeable establishment of guaranty fund. Direct investment on family farming. The institutional arrangement which the implementer should be cooperatives and Self Help Organization. Linking production to the market so that farmers can be motivated. The document should capture also agric insurance which can give guaranty to investors and bank that rural financing is not a risk The risk management and knowledge sharing need to highlight in the document Transfer of innovative technology The quality seed production and accessibility



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