Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

On common ground: a joint donor concept on rural development
November 2006
Catherine Hill
Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (GDPRD)

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges the GDPRD website as the source of this document:



What drives rural development? What are the principles or values that are, or should be, guiding donors and partners in rural development? What are the current approaches that are, or should be, undertaken by donors and partners in the delivery of rural development, particularly in the context of harmonisation and alignment? These are some of the questions that the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development members and associate members discussed over the past year to identify areas of consensus in rural development. They identified common areas related to the pillars, or “drivers,” of rural development as well as some of the guiding principles and current general trends in approaches to development aid delivery.

The drivers, principles, and approaches are not necessarily new, but they are important to Platform members, as they represent areas in which they have achieved consensus. These are summarised in this document (the Joint Donor Rural Concept), which is intended as a means of sharing common knowledge and promoting understanding between members and with other interested institutions and parties.

The Joint Donor Rural Concept (JDRC) is one of several Platform products intended to support both shared learning between donor and partner countries and any action they take to address rural development and agriculture within the context of increased harmonisation and alignment. While Platform members chose to focus broadly on rural development in the JDRC, they recognise the special role that agriculture plays in supporting the livelihoods and overall well-being of rural communities. As a document built on Platform member participation, the JDRC tends to highlight those broad general areas where donors were able to reach consensus. Clearly, however, 26 agencies cannot agree on everything.

The JDRC is not intended to elaborate on specific approaches undertaken by different donors. Nor is it meant to focus specifically on either “productive” or “reproductive”1 aspects of rural development and agriculture. Rather, it aims to identify broad areas of donor consensus on rural development and agriculture.

Finally, the JDRC does not look at specific thematic issues of rural development or agriculture (e.g. genetically modified organisms, water scarcity, “peak” oil scenarios, etc.). That is the task of another related Platform document, entitled “Hot Topics”2, which focuses more on the content of rural development and agriculture and highlights issues that members have agreed are of global significance in 2006.

The JDRC, by contrast, focuses more on the processes related to the delivery of agricultural and rural development aid. The document was produced in line with current international trends towards harmonisation and alignment, and was developed to support efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It also supports the Platform’s mission to share knowledge and improve donor effectiveness.

  1. For example, the gender and agriculture literature highlights the “reproductive roles” as those that are often invisible or underacknowledged by planners and policy-makers – those roles that support the household livelihoods and well-being through child-raising, preparation of meals, caring for the sick and the elderly, etc
  2. The topics identified are considered to be dynamic and open to change over time. They will therefore be updated by the Platform, in order to provide further opportunities for shared learning on the part of Platform members and other interested individuals and organisations. For more information, see

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