Proclamation on Rural Resilience
The Millennium Development Goals have achieved many of their aims. Now we look to the future for the next period of sustainable development goals.
We miss an important perspective that we feel should be accounted for so that the spirit of sustainable development is in accordance with current thinking and includes all the peoples of the world.
As a result of two conferences focusing on dignity and humiliation, which included two field trips to the northern parts of Thailand, we urge to explicitly include rural communities within the future goals. We want to particularly highlight that indigenous peoples commonly live in rural communities and that they are neglected by the general thrust as it is now.
We call for a Sustainable Development Goal on Rural Resilience or Rural Renaissance. We strongly feel that indigenous peoples’ values and skills with respect to nature are crucial for human survival on our planet. Indigenous peoples have the right to be seen and heard, and the world needs to listen and learn from them. It is critical to include the wisdom of women, men and children from these communities in goal setting and achievement. A transparent, open and inclusive process with indigenous, rural and marginalised groups is therefore urgently needed to work out the concrete details.
Suggested areas to be focused on:
Education systems need to be adapted to value and formally recognise experiential and indigenous wisdom, learning and knowledge. It is imperative that education systems be adapted to allow indigenous and rural people to maintain their cultural traditions and practices in harmony with their local environments. In developing and developed countries our world has become globally connected. Many local villages cannot function within the global village. Their cultures are being exterminated by the larger modern world. Many innovations carry a dilemma that requires more attention. Education, TV, media and digital facilities, for instance, can provide opportunities for better global cooperation to protect the diversity of indigenous cultures, or they can wipe it out.
Market forces and capitalism need to be mitigated to avoid that a modernist perspective from urban areas overwhelms and destroys what is of value in indigenous spaces. Ecological sustainability is enhanced by local production and consumption. Women, men and children need have the chance to be meaningfully included in making decisions that affect them and their localities. To allow this to be effective, capacity building and resource allocation need to be included into policy planning. People from businesses, NGOs and governments are called on to collaborate to build local capacities for people to voluntarily form entrepreneurial entities such as cooperatives, companies and NGOs without prohibitive costs or bureaucracy.
Most important is that governance in peripheral and rural regions is strengthened and capacity built so that indigenous and rural people are able to walk with two legs, we were told: One leg in modern society, and one leg in traditional, rural, indigenous societies with due respect for cultural aspects like minority languages, songs, stories, poetry, dress and other customs. Rural regions are vulnerable when atomised as small villages and communities are therefore in real need of support to form networks, agglomerations of villages and other structures that allow autonomy and self-supporting ways of being in governance and in service provision.
On behalf of the international participants of the 12th Urban Culture Forum, titled Arts and Social Outreach – Designs for Urban Dignity, at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, 3rd – 4th March 2014, and the 23rd Annual Conference of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network and the World Dignity University initiative, titled Returning Dignity, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 8th-12th March 2014
Chiang Mai, Thailand
14th March 2014
Evelin Lindner, MD, PhDs
Founding President, Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network (humiliationstudies.org), World Dignity University initiative (worlddignityuniversity.org)