Sustainable Rural Development for SIDS & ASIAN Countries

14 – 25 July 2019 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA

Drusilla Lauano
Land Management Division
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
 

  1. OVERVIEW

The course on “Sustainable Rural Development for SIDS and ASIAN Countries” which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 14 – 25 July 2019 was organized by Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Institute for Rural Advancement (INFRA) under the Ministry of Rural Development. Both organizations’ emphasis are on the development of human resources through the provision of training in areas essential for a country’s development and in this particular course, sustainable development in rural communities of SIDS and ASIAN countries.

  1. SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

In particular, the course aimed to address the need for;

  • Strong political will and commitment from the government
  • Effective partnership between government and local level organizations
  • Sensitization and mobilization of the grassroots community
  • Learning from successful policies/projects
  • Closer technical cooperation among developing countries
  • Learning to adapt the policies/programmes to alleviate poverty for participants
  1. EXPECTED OUTCOME

By the end of the course, the participants were expected to;

  • Understand the rural development policies, strategies and programmes especially in the context of Malaysian experiences
  • Share information, best practices and lessons learnt in rural development programmes and/or projects, particularly the empowerment of the poor through income generation programmes, value added projects and agriculture
  • Promote collaboration and networking among key personnel in rural development and poverty alleviation from participating countries
  1. WAY FORWARD FOR SAMOA
  • Increase engagement in digital initiatives as a way forward for the development of Samoa. The use of digital initiatives as tools of monitoring in eradicating poverty in Malaysia has been proven effective. For example; E-KASIH is a National Poverty Data Bank that contains information on poverty from individual profiles including assistance application and assistance provided as well as the monitoring of the effectiveness of grants received. In addition, the REDD-plus (REDD+) platform is a digital marketplace that enables corporations and individuals to decarbonize with high-quality, UN-approved, REDD+ carbon credits. The latter initiative is perceived as a transformation of the forestry sector to natural capital. In fact, REDD Plus (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation; To increase CO2 absorption through conservation and preservation activities) is a mitigation strategy (with reference to climate change) where payment is received by conserving forests/natural cover.
  • Initiatives or programmes to follow up on what has been successfully done by communities leaders who participate in workshops/training to ensure the sharing of newly gained knowledge and skills to sustainably manage limited resources of rural communities. For example; Impact Research in the form of in-house research organized by INFRA is proven to be an effective tool of monitoring the development progress of agriculture, crafting, tourism and other areas in rural communities in Malaysia. This initiative is primarily carried out to acquire updated information on the capabilities of rural leaders after participating in training programs.
  • Homestay Experience Programme is an initiative to promote sustainable community-based tourism through conservation/preservation of rural traditions and environment for the benefit of the rural community hence, a tool of poverty reduction. Tourists and students pay to stay with host families registered in the programme to experience the lifestyle and daily activities in the rural villages. For instance, the participants were given the opportunity to have this unique experience in one of the villages called Labu Kubong in Kuala Kangsar, Perak. In the context of Samoa, this initiative can be considered to benefit not just one family, but the whole community while at the same time keeping the Samoan culture, customs and traditions very much alive.
  • Moreover, more attention and focus should continue to be directed to the development of human resources through training, workshops and courses especially by international organizations which value South-South Cooperation. In doing so, strong political will and commitment from the government is very much needed.

Furthermore, collaboration and networking among key personnel must be further consolidated to strengthen community and cross-sector collaboration among the government, private sector and communities as it is the key driver for effective natural resources management in Samoa.

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