The Berlin Charta – For a sustainable development of the rural world with the youth

The Berlin Charta – For a sustainable development of the rural world with the youth

It must have been an interesting picture that the German Development Minister Dr. Gerd Müller came across in his office: On his initiative, around 130 young adults from African countries, Germany, as well as the G20 states came together in Berlin this past April and discussed the future of the rural world. This three-day ‘Rural Future Lab’ served as preparation for the G20 conference ‘Future of the Rural World. Innovation – Youth – Employment’ and was meant for the youth’s voice to be heard in this context.


For three days, the young entrepreneurs, farmers from countries of the global south and young representatives of German agricultural initiatives debated about the future of the rural world. During lively discussions, the young adults exchanged stories and personal experiences from their rural homes and presented their own initiatives or companies to the other participants. Finally, during workshops, a common viewpoint was developed and agreed on. This states that the attractiveness of rural spaces must be improved to provide the youth with opportunities in the local contexts for the long run.


The ‘Rural Future Lab’ was organized by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with engagement global, as well as the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ). The Future Lab and the G20 conference ‘Future of the Rural World. Innovation – Youth – Employment’ were both organized within the context of the special initiative ‘ONE WORLD – No Hunger’ and Germany’s G20 presidency this year.


Particularly due to the world population growth and consequently rising food demand, the rural environment will become of considerable importance in the future. During the conference, Dr. Müller repeatedly emphasized that the future of the worldwide food production, as well as food security will take place in the rural areas. That is why these spaces must be sustainably strengthened. Infrastructure, communication networks such as phone and internet networks must be developed, education and training opportunities must be available for the growing youth and jobs must be created. Here, both conference participants and youth delegates kept pointing to the digital network, as well as the increase of local value chains. Agricultural products such as coffee, tea and tobacco should consequently not only be grown and harvested locally. Further processing and adding value through refinement must rather be guaranteed in the local context. Such developments have the potential for the produced value to remain in the regions and local rural spaces and enables agricultural producers to benefit appropriately.


All in all, the conference was geared towards the finishing and passing of the so-called ‘Berlin Charta’. A first draft was already produced by international representatives from the civil society, economy, sciences and politics during the previous months. The aim was to pass a Charta via a preferably participatory approach that enables as many international voices as possible to be heard, especially from African countries. Eventually, the Charta is supposed to be presented and handed over to the G20 heads of state during the summit in Hamburg this July. Development Minister Müller hopes from that a process of sustainable development of the rural environment to become the focus of international cooperation from there in out. Together with the youth he aims at sustainably improving the living condition of most of the world’s population.


It now remains to be seen how this Charta, developed through a participatory process will be perceived in Hamburg and if the international decision-makers will be able to adopt it to their political actions.


The entire ‘Berlin Charta’ can be found here.

Further information about the conference can be also found on the homepage of the BMZ.

Date: 17.05.2017
Topics: Rural Future Lab / Future of the Rural World