According to the latest World Social Report, published on Thursday, mproved Internet access and connectivity can do more than urban migration to provide better jobs and higher standards of living for the roughly 3.4 billion people living in rural areas.
The report, titled Reconsidering Rural Development was issued by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
An urgent reconsideration of rural development is needed for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The current strategies and patterns of rural development are failing to meet either the socioeconomic or the environmental Goals of this Agenda. Four out of every five people who face extreme poverty around the world live in rural areas. Many rural areas are witnessing severe depletion and degradation of natural resources, contributing to climate change and the recurrence of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19.
The World Social Report 2021 points to the ways in which rural development can be reset to achieve sustainable development. It calls for moving rural development to the centre of attention, instead of relegating it as an appendage of urban development; for ending the rural-urban divide through the adoption of the in situ urbanization model; for ending within-rural inequality; and for achieving rural development while preserving the environment. World Social Report 2021 shows that new digital and frontier technologies are creating opportunities for achieving these goals. What is needed is to seize these.