A Position Statement on Strategy for the rural regions of Europe
Date de rédaction: 19 avril 2009
Auteur(s) de la proposition : ECOVAST (European council for the village and small town)
ECOVAST is the European council for the village and small town, a european network set up in 1984 to further the well-being of rural communities, and the safeguarding of the rural heritage. ECOVAST has over 500 members in 20 countries in East and West Europe.In 1994, ECOVAST published A Strategy for Rural Europe. The paper published in 2006 aims to update this previous document.
Integrated rural development and local participation
Ecovast seeks a balance, and mutual support, between people and the environment, for integrated action between different arms of government, and between government and local people. Ecovast expects the local people to be consulted and involved. ECOVAST applauds the notion of local governance as extending from purely statutory and elected bodies to include non-government organisations and associations of citizens.
Focus upon new member states
Much has been achieved the last decade to improve the economic viability of rural areas of member states, notably Ireland and Spain. Action now requires focus upon the member states that joined the EU in 2004, especially those in Central and Eastern Europe, and the current Accession States.
Farming and forestry
Farming must be sustained throughout rural Europe. The emphasis in farming policy should move from quantity of food to quality of food. Farmers should be enabled to gain income through adding value to farm products, and other economic activity. They should be paid to act as stewards of our heritage. Crops of woodlands and fields should be utilized to contribute to a new localness in the production and consumption of non-fossil fuels, whilst enhancing the pattern of landscapes that encompass and relate to towns and villages.
Manufacturing and service industries should be encouraged, on a base of regional resources and local entrepreneurship. Western Europe now has many examples of the strong role that rural enterprise is playing in regional economies, and instances of small enterprises moving from cities to rural locations to enjoy the quality of life. Broadband communication has enabled much more people to work from home. ECOVAST wishes to encourage such enterprise in member states and other European countries that see advantages in reviving rural economic activity through diversification of agricultural buildings and land.
Tradition and modernity
Rural people should be enabled to gain good housing with modern amenities, while respecting local traditions of building. Government should sustain rural services, and encourage the social and cultural vitality of rural communities. Rural tourism should be promoted in a way which respects the character and capacity of the receiving areas.
Bio-diversity and landscape heritage are threatened by changes due to global warming and the perceived economies of scale of global enterprises. Governments and peoples should accept the need for long-term stewardship of Europe’s heritage of wildlife, landscape and culture. Effective systems should be introduced and pursued in each country to assess, protect and maintain features of heritage value, and to extend public understanding of the heritage.
ECOVAST is co-founder (with Forum Synergies) of the PREPARE network (A pre-accession partnership for rural Europe).
Mots-clés : entrepreunariat rural, développement rural intégré, patrimoine culturel, Diversité culturelle, internet - TIC, Gouvernance, démarche participative, agriculture durable, diversification des activités économiques, conservation et gestion des ressources naturelles, préservation du paysage
Lieux : Europe