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ENRD Newsletter April 2017



A European Seminar, organised by the ENRD Contact Point on 30 March 2017, explored how rural businesses – both farm and non-farm – can innovate in ways that “create the conditions for future prosperity and vitality”.

The event looked at how EU policies and tools for business support and innovation can be used in rural areas. It examined the opportunities for rural businesses from digitisation, smart specialisation, and social innovation, using inspiring examples.

The Seminar is part of the broader ENRD thematic work on 'Smart and Competitive Rural Businesses'.

The European Commission launched on 11 April 2017 an ‘EU action for Smart Villages’, announcing a series of initiatives within the rural development, regional development, research, transport, energy, and digital policies and funds.

The document outlines a process of reflection on ‘villages of the future’ and the need to bring different programmes together in order to build strategic approaches to promoting ‘smart villages’, including support for knowledge, investments and connectivity. Specific actions include exchange platforms, funding opportunities, capacity-building activities, events, thematic work, and research projects.

The European Commission has launched a call for tender for a pilot project on smart eco-social villages aimed at identifying best practice examples of addressing challenges such as unemployment, insufficient services and depopulation in rural areas.

The project should draw conclusions that are applicable throughout the EU while taking account of the diverse contexts across countries and regions. The deadline for submitting proposals is 17 May 2017.

Join the ENRD Seminar on Resource Efficiency in Rural Areas on 13 June 2017 in Brussels – registration will open soon!

The event will discuss practical ways of improving the contribution of the Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) to resource efficiency objectives. It will build on ongoing ENRD thematic work on ‘Resource Efficiency’, including aspects such as efficient water-use, soil and nutrient management, soil conservation and carbon sequestration.

A recent ENRD workshop explored how specific Measures under the Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) and their strategic combination can empower farmers to risk-proof their businesses.

The event looked at RDP Measures on risk management, advisory services, knowledge transfer, investments, innovation and diversification, as well as various tools and approaches to fostering farm resilience and generating income. The presentations from the event are available online and a summary report will follow shortly.

In the run-up to the third European Rural Parliament (ERP) – 18-21 October 2017, Venhorst (the Netherlands) – partner organisations have kicked off thematic exchanges to identify key issues and success stories from across European rural areas.

These exchanges of ideas with grassroots stakeholders in several Member States will feed the discussions at the October ERP meeting. Work will focus on the ERP’s thematic priorities, including youth, poverty, rural services, migrants, rural economies and integrated rural development.

A new report by the RISE Foundation discusses modernisation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), proposing actions to streamline policy resources into better supporting land and risk management.

The report makes the case for an economically and environmentally sustainable farming sector while discussing why CAP reform is needed and what that reform could look like.

To also read a collection of NGO opinions and positions on CAP reform, see the outcomes of the ARC2020-led #AfterCAP debate.

A recent study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Think Tank examines EU policy support for reconciling agricultural productivity and sustainability, and provides recommendations on how to achieve a resource-efficient, productive, climate-friendly and resilient farming sector.

The study explores the main trends in agricultural productivity in recent decades, as well as pathways to sustainable intensification through case studies and policy analysis.

 The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have announced ‘Bank on Nature’ - the first loan agreement backed by the Natural Capital Financing Facility.

 The EUR 6 million loan agreement with Rewilding Europe Capital is expected to provide tailored loans and investments to over 30 nature-focused businesses across Europe, supporting them to protect biodiversity and support climate adaptation.

 The Horizon 2020 thematic network smart AKIS has recently launched a free online platform providing a number of tools to facilitate and promote the use of smart farming technologies.

The platform is intended for farmers, advisory services, agriculture consultants, and farming equipment providers. It includes a database of the latest technologies already available on the market or emerging from research projects. Additionally, it provides guidance, advice and a space for exchange on the use these new technologies.

Find out more about Horizon 2020 thematic networks for agriculture and farming in EIP-AGRI’s dedicated brochure.

The European project AgriSpin – ‘Space for Innovations in Agriculture’ – has made available a range of materials covering best practice examples of innovation and support systems in European agriculture.

Materials include an inventory of 57 innovation examples collected through 12 country-based case studies, as well as related videos and publications. AgriSpin is one of the Horizon 2020 thematic networks.

A new brochure by the OECD overviews trade and agriculture policies, food security, innovation, environmental sustainability, and risk management and provides a quick reference guide to a number of related studies and analyses.

This collection of evidence-based work intends to inform policy decisions that would support a shift away from production-linked and trade-distorting measures to strategic public investments in a productive, sustainable and resilient global food system.


See more information on the ENRD web page         



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