Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural

"Europe's rural areas in action: Facing the challenges of tomorrow"

"Europe's rural areas in action: Facing the challenges of tomorrow"

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"Europe's rural areas in action: Facing the challenges of tomorrow"

16 -17 October 2008, Limassol, Cyprus

The aim of this conference was to take stock of the current policy and try to identify whether it is adequately addressing the present and future challenges facing rural areas in Europe. Harnessing the potential of rural areas for economic diversification and development, improving policy delivery, local governance and networking and finding the right balance between top-down and bottom-up approaches are also very important in this respect.

It also addressed a number of open questions: we need to know more about the typology and specificities of different rural areas; about the demographic, socio-economic and environmental changes in rural and peri-urban areas; about the relationship of rural areas with smaller and bigger towns and cities; about the factors that shaped the enormous diversity of rural areas, those associated with success and those with failure. Above all we need a clearer definition of rural areas and a better idea about the territorial aspects of rurality.


>> General background to the Conference

>> Programme

>> Brochure: "The EU Rural Development Policy: Facing the Challenges"


Proceedings of the conference

16 October, morning: Plenary session

Chair: Loretta Dormal-Marino - Deputy Director-General, DG Agriculture and Rural Development

Opening session: Perspectives on Rural Development

  • Welcome by the host country; "Cyprus' perspective on Rural Development", Michalis Polynikis - Charalambides, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment
  • Presidency's view on the way ahead
  • "Challenges and opportunities for Europe's Regions", Jerzy Zajakala, Committee of the Regions
  • "The European Economic and Social Committee's perspective on Rural Development", Hans-Joachim Wilms, ECOSOC


Plenary session: Facing the challenges of tomorrow

  • "Europe's rural areas seen from the outside", Charles Fluharty, RUPRI
  • Floor debate


16 October, afternoon: Workshops

1st Workshop: Making EU agriculture fit for global competition

Innovation and business creation. Training and building of human capital. Search for new market outlets and income sources including renewable energy.

  • Panel discussion


2nd Workshop: Adapting agriculture and forestry to climate change

Identification of regional impact of climate change: water management, erosion, pests and diseases, etc. Potential responses to climate change.

  • Panel discussion


3rd Workshop: Land management and public goods: scope for common ground

Delivery of environmental goods and services as an essential element for sustainable rural development.

  • Background document
  • Panel discussion


4th Workshop: The diversity of rural areas: harnessing the development potential

Advances in the typology of rural areas, local/national/global factors affecting socio-economic development, drivers of change, policy response, urban-rural links, link with the cohesion policy.

  • Background document
  • Panel discussion


5th Workshop: Improving delivery, successful governance and networking

Identifying measures corresponding to needs, balance top-down / bottom up approaches, networking concepts in business and public administration

  • Background document
  • Panel discussion


17 October, morning: Plenary session

Chair: Mrs Loretta Dormal-Marino - Deputy Director-General, DG Agriculture and Rural Development

Reporting on main outcomes of the workshop (5 rapporteurs):


Questions and Answers

Facing tomorrow's challenges of compliance: A view from the Court of Auditors, Riemer Haagsma, CoA

Presentation of the European Network of Rural Development and the Contact Point: