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“Listen to the people and trust them” says rural stakeholders at SHERPA workshop at the EU Rural Parliament

BLOG – 31/10/2022
by Barbara Wieliczko

During the fifth European Rural Parliament that took place in Kielce, Poland (12-15th September 2022), over 30 workshops were organized. SHERPA partners participated to the event and even, they had the opportunity to deliver on the workshops that was built on the studies and experiences emerged from SHERPA Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs).

Learning from SHERPA Multi-Actor Platforms

The workshop was entitled “Rural trends, scenarios and solutions – views from 20 multi-actor platforms”, and it was prepared and conducted by SHERPA partner – European Rural Development Network. Hence, the workshop started with a short introduction to the topic and presentation of the SHERPA project, its research approach and findings from the MAPs’ discussions on the long-term vision for the rural areas. Participants of the workshop represented different EU member states and different experiences with rural development and rural communities. Young people were among the participants of this workshop and this allowed to have a close look and discuss their perspectives on rural future.

Key highlights from SHERPA workshop

The aim of the workshop was to discuss the European Commission Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas and to come up with input to the session “Messages from Gathering participants, Results from Workshops, Visits, Cafés and Networking” with respect to three main aspects:  

  • Our responses to challenges
  • Our proposals for governments and the European Union
  • Good ideas, practices, processes

Recommendations that emerged from the discussion are:

  • To minimize problems with depopulation new job opportunities must be created. They include remote work, common coworking spaces as well as kindergartens and care for elderly to help women stay active on the job market;
  • The small rural schools must be supported as they are the centre of local communities. Such schools can be run by local communities which make them engaged even more strongly in the viability of the rural communities;
  • To adapt and minimize climate change, circular economy must be introduced and more sustainable business models must be popularized and supported;
  • Provision of infrastructure and basic services must also be improved using digitalization opportunities and mobile services (health services and access to public offices) and other smart solutions;
  • Local communities need to become more empowered and have a say on the use of their resources. There is also need for financial support.

The workshop in a line

The key message stemming from the discussions to the policy makers is: “Listen to the people and trust them that they want and can take a good care of their local communities.”

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