On 12 November 2020, the Research Executive Agency (REA) of the European Commission, with the support from SHERPA, organised a cluster meeting bringing together the Horizon 2020 projects working on rural policy and the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas.
Representatives of 19 projects attended the meeting, together with experts from European organisations such as ENRD, DG Agri and DG Regio.
The event was divided on two sessions. During the morning session, each project was briefly presented. Then, participants exchanged knowledge and experiences on the role of rural areas today and in the future, as well as on rural governance. During these discussions, participants also explored synergies to collaborate with each other on project activities (such as webinars, publications, etc) and to share information and knowledge (e.g. stakeholder engagement tools, methodologies, etc).
The afternoon session, led by Alexia Rouby from DG Agri, focused on the Long-Term Vision of Rural Areas. During this session, several initiatives launched to feed the process on the long-term vision were presented. Zelie Peppiette (DG Agri) introduced the ‘Welcome to our rural toolkit’, a workshop package prepared by the European Commission to help groups of rural citizens to explore their ideal vision for the future of their own rural area. Paul Soto (European Network for Rural Development – ENRD) presented the work carried out in the ENRD Thematic Group from the ENRD #Rural2040 to contribute to the Long-Term Vision, such an EU Foresight Exercise in collaboration with the Joint Research Center (JRC).
At the end of the meeting, a mapping exercise was conducted to identify the contributions of the projects in three main areas:
a) engaging rural people in the dialogue
b) providing evidence in various topics as rural definitions, demography, bioeconomy, social inclusion, climate change and environment, infrastructures and services, etc.
c) foresight scenarios and different visions for the future of rural areas.