Theme 1 : Durable Communities


Reunion Island currently has a population of 770,000 which is expected to rise to 1 million in 2020; inevitably this will influence its “sustainability”. Will sustainable communities become a vital factor to ensure and maintain a healthy eco-system on the island, more specifically in the “Deep South” region? Managing the impact of this demographic explosion on the region while responding to the economic and social needs of the expanding population and still preserving the environment represents a sizable challenge.

Grand Coude is a rural hillside village above Saint-Joseph, situated close to the volcano with approximately 500 inhabitants (150 families). The main economic activity is dairy farming, but unemployment remains a problem, more than 80% of the population being unemployed. The Grand Coude “Théiers” (Association of Tea Growers) was formed by villagers in order to protect and promote their district and to find other forms of development, notably through the application of an experimental environmental management system. One of the objectives of the research is for the village to become autonomous in respect of energy production, using clean and renewable energy sources.

On a more global level, the results of the experiment may help to apply sustainable development strategies, but the common goal, shared by all parties, must remain a fair trade economy.



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