November 2, 2022, by aczjb1

Building a global-local knowledge community for development practices in the global south

Launch of International Forum of Future Rural Studies (IFFRS) Report by Bin Wu and Xiuli Xu

The interlinked global crises and conflicts have changed the landscape of rural development in the global south. Three billion people live in rural areas in the global south, and in recent years there has been an increase of people suffering from poverty, food shortages, climate change, broken supply chains or loss of jobs. These detrimental effects on rural livelihoods call for critiques, radical thinking, and a paradigm shift in development studies to understand both the challenges and opportunities that arise from such conditions.

Against this backdrop, the International Forum of Future Rural Studies (IFFRS) was launched online on 22 October 2022, attracting more than 300 internationally-renowned scholars, development experts, international organisation and NGO representatives, researchers and students from 18 countries, including the UK, China, India, and more.

The one day event focused on questions like: Why do we need new paradigms to understand challenges and opportunities in the global south? What roles can higher education institutions play in cultivating sustainability competences to foster rural innovation and entrepreneurship? And how can green and appropriate technology be developed for smallholder farmers against climate change, biodiversity protection, and livelihood security?

The IFFRS is co-hosted by Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) and College of International Development and Global Agriculture of China Agricultural University (CIDGA of CAU). The launch ceremony was chaired by Professor Scott McCabe and addressed by Professor Xian Xin, Vice President of CAU, Professor Zoe Wilson, Pro-Vice Chancellor of UoN, Professor Patrick Chau, Vice-Provost the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) and Professor Andy Chan, Vice-Provost of University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM). They expressed common interests to enhance institutional cooperation between UoN, CAU and other institutions through Tri-Campus partnership (UNUK, UNNC and UNM) in research and knowledge exchange to address global challenges in rural poverty, food security, and climate change against sustainable development goals.

The necessity of a paradigm shift for development studies was addressed by four keynote speeches from different perspectives. Professor Jules Pretty – Editor of International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability – offered a redesign framework for regenerating agricultural and food systems, while Professor Xiaoyun Li provided an insight to the history and trends in China’s transition from urban-bias development to rural-focus modernization process. Professor David Hulme, Executive Director of Global Development Institute at Manchester University, outlined the transition of development studies from an international development to a global development paradigm, and Professor Darren Smith, Editor of Journal of Rural Studies (JRS), shed light on the pathway of participation and contribution to paradigm shift debates via the JRS platform.

A paradigm shift for a global-local knowledge system in development studies cannot be achieved without effective communication, cooperation and community building between academia and practitioners within and across global north and south. Accordingly, a Consortium of Future Rural Studies (CFRS) has been launched in the first IFFRS with the mission to facilitate mutual learning and research collaboration between young researchers and development practitioners across national and regional boundaries.

Keep up to date with updates from the CFRS here.

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