On November 6-9, 2019, the 4th European Rural Parliament took place in rural Spain, in the village of Candás (Asturias). The event was attended by the 335 delegates from 40 countries including the representatives of the Association Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG) and the Tetritskaro Local Action Group (LAG) executive director, Nino Tikurishvili. The event turned out to be a fruitful opportunity for sharing experience and information about rural issues and policy through workshops, speeches, and informal conversations. The European Rural Parliament (ERP) is a long-term campaign to express the voice of rural people in Europe; and to promote self-help and action by the rural people, in partnership with civil society and governments.
Within the welcoming event, the participants were taken to the different field trip areas of Asturias where they had discovered the challenges of agriculture and landscape management; Also, the importance of young entrepreneurs taking over vital basic services in the villages or refurbishing the family manor for rural “boutique tourism”.
On the second day, after the formal opening of the event, the delegates listened to important speeches about rural communities regaining control of their resources and addressing the issues obstructing their sustainable development. Mr. Mihail Dumitru, Deputy Director-General at DG AGRI delivered a keynote speech on the “EU rural policy and rural communities. Future of Rural Development post 2020”. He stressed that rural Europe is key to addressing the existing climate crisis and that recently elected President of the EU Commission, U. von der Leyen, has highlighted the importance of the European countryside in her published political guidelines., as well.
Evidence-based policy and decision-making, re-connecting rural and urban environments, smart villages and rural tourism, agropolitan cities and metropolitan villages, climate change and the importance of the existence of eco-villages, urban neighborhoods in LEADER LAGs areas – these amongst others were the main topics of the official speeches and group discussions.. The event offered valuable networking opportunities, as it gave the chance for in-depth conversations at the different stands of the Initiatives Market.
Association Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG) carries out important activities to Georgia’s rural development, including working on issues related to climate change and local economic decline. Since the year of 2016, RDFG has been implementing the EU-supported ENPARD Programme in the Tetritskaro municipality using a LEADER approach to rural development. The programme aims to improve the quality of life of local citizens using innovative social-economic models. Fundamentally, it is the energy and resources of the local people that contribute to the rural development process by forming partnerships at a sub-regional level between the public, private and civil sectors.
Nina Kopaleishvili – Communications Officer, RDFG