Social dialogue and tripartism are key governance tools to promote economic development and social justice worldwide. The rural working population is however often excluded from the process and scope of social dialogue at all levels. This is a matter for policy concern, as decent work deficits are particularly severe in rural areas. Social dialogue – which is based on consensus-building and democratic involvement of the main stakeholders – contributes to more efficient design and implementation of policies to ensure the sustainable development of the rural economy. The International Labour Organization (ILO) supports social dialogue structures and processes, as they have the potential to resolve important economic and social issues in the rural economy, to advance social peace and stability, and to boost economic progress. Tripartite social partners are key actors – through their participation in social dialogue institutions and collective bargaining – in elaborating sustainable approaches to rural development.