Globalisation, sustainable development and competition between territories are influencing the economic development of our territory and its capacity to compete. In order to anticipate and seize opportunities as they arise, certain rural regions are banking on economic intelligence (or competitor intelligence) and the development of innovative identities, which, however, do not necessarily result in job-creation.

This second edition of the Rural University of the Indian Ocean will, I hope, allow us to contribute to an analysis of the situation. I am certain that our speakers will manage to draw ideas from the topics to be covered during the three days of the conference and come up with new angles and viewpoints. Among the speakers, it seems to me important to emphasise the value of those from the agricultural community. They have always played an essential role on our island and still face the responsibility of carrying out fundamental changes on Reunion Island and, more generally, in the countries of the southern hemisphere.

These changes to the “rural planet”, at a time when world conferences for the reduction of natural disasters are being held, will have a lasting impact on the whole planet. Whether these are linked to the demographic explosion, water resources and water treatment, or the production of renewable energies in rural zones, the rural world needs to innovate and be the driving force behind development.

- There is no doubt that we will have to continue the fight against poverty, the only means of achieving true sustainable development
- We will have to select the local resources likely to generate wealth.
- We will have to keep our feet firmly on the ground.

Mayor of Saint Joseph



Three topics are proposed for the next European Rural University, which will take place on 7th, 8th and 9th September 2010 in Saint-Joseph :

- Europe at the service of the rural community and its inhabitants,
- Rural professions for women,
- Culture : between heritage and innovation.

16 November 2009