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  ENRD Seminar stresses simplification of RDP management  

The ENRD Seminar on ‘Improving RDP implementation’ highlighted the need to make more effective use of existing simplification tools, such as Simplified Cost Options (SCOs), to ease the administrative burden in RDP implementation.

Participants recognised that the ENRD can add value to the process at the national level by collecting and disseminating good methodological practices relating to the management aspects of RDPs (such as capacity building) and specific measures (such as investments in physical assets).

The Seminar was attended by around 100 ENRD stakeholders in Brussels on 11 June 2015. It forms part of the wider ENRD Contact Point work on the topic of ‘Improving RDP implementation’, including Thematic Group meetings, training workshops and issue 20 of the EU Rural Review due for publication this summer.

See the Seminar webpage for more information and a collection of good methodological practices presented at the event. The Seminar report will be available shortly.



 
Boosting the use of Financial Instruments in rural development 
The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have launched a new information initiative aiming to boost the use of Financial Instruments (FIs) under the EAFRD as a means to support the achievement of rural development policy objectives.

The first European conference on Financial Instruments under the EAFRD, 23-24 June 2015, intended to increase awareness of the programming and implementation of FIs among EAFRD managing authorities (MAs) and other rural development stakeholders. In the second half of 2015, similar EAFRD events are due to take place in Vienna (1 October) and Riga (29 October).

The EC-EIB joint actions aim to increase the use of FIs in Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) 2014-2020 by providing guidance and support to MAs.

Second Steering Group meeting 

The second meeting of the EU Rural Networks’ Steering Group (SG) discussed the activities of the two European rural networks (ENRD & EIP-AGRI) around the ten priority themes identified by previous governance meetings.

The meeting – held in Brussels on 12 June - helped to fine-tune the priority themes and the best approaches for working on these topics. SG members also heard updates and reflected on the work of the Assembly Subgroups.

This meeting paves the way for future SG work, where the focus will shift from discussing themes to more practical involvement in the work of the European rural networks.

Extra flexibility on unspent 2007-2013 funds

The European Commission has adopted a measure providing flexibility to Member States in re-allocating their unspent 2007-2013 rural development budget due to be spent by the end of 2015.


The measure allows for increased amounts of unspent funds to be transferred between the different ‘axes’ of the previous Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) – an increase from 3 to 5% of the total EAFRD budget. The Commission further envisages extending the deadline for receiving such amendments to the national and regional RDPs until 30 September 2015.

How to involve youth in rural development?

A transnational project has collected good practices of involving youth in rural development across countries in the Baltic Sea region.

The project aimed to identify effective methods and support systems throughout partnering countries (FI, EE, LV, LT, PL and SE) for engaging rural youth in becoming the drivers of local development. The collection of good practices focused on three topics: youth participation; innovation; and entrepreneurship.

Call for experts: European Structural and Investment Funds

The European Commission is looking for experts to support the development of Cohesion policy, Rural Development policy, the Common Fisheries Policy and the Integrated Maritime policy.

Experts within European organisations are sought to join a Structured Dialogue group to assist the implementation of European Structural and Investment Funds. The deadline for applications is 14 September 2015.

Key facts and figures on the food supply chain in the EU

A new factsheet providing key figures on the food supply chain in the EU and its contribution to the economy has recently been published by DG AGRI.

The factsheet presents Eurostat data on the main actors involved in the food chain, an analysis of the dynamics and pressures they are facing, and how these come into play in the price formulation and international trade relations of the EU.

New guidance on results-based agri-environment schemes

A range of tools providing guidance and practical advice on developing and implementing a results-based payment scheme (RBAPS) for farmland biodiversity are now available.

The toolkit contains: a handbook providing step-by step guidance on the decision-making process and practicalities of setting up and running an effective RBAPS (summarised in all official EU languages); a web inventory of all RBAPS in operation across the EU; and a series of good practice videos.

The materials are accompanied by a report reviewing the advantages and challenges of adopting results-based approaches.

All you need to know about family farming

A new digital platform to collect all relevant information on family farming from stakeholders around the world has been launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).


The initiative aims to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for information covering: public programmes; national and regional legislation; up-to-date statistics; best practices; and research. It aims to allow governments to build stronger policies and help policy dialogue with family farmers' organisations, building on the global dialogue of the International Year of Family Farming 2014.

Assessing energy needs in rural areas

The new European Parliament (EP) Intergroup on Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas (Rumra) is currently collecting feedback from stakeholders on the energy needs in European rural areas.


The assessment aims to address the lack of clean energy solutions in most of Europe’s rural areas and feed into a comprehensive energy policy to benefit rural energy consumers. The consultation closes on 23 July 2015.

LEADER co-operation in Catalonia 

The Catalan Ministry of Agriculture has produced an overview of co-operation projects among Catalan Local Action Groups (LAGs). 

The ten projects showcase good methodological practices in areas such as: short supply chains and local products; job creation and entrepreneurship; innovation; energy efficiency; and environmental sustainability. The publication has been made available in English to encourage the sharing of good LEADER co-operation practices across Europe.

Portuguese NRN promotes innovation in agriculture

The Portuguese National Rural Network (NRN) has promoted the theme of ‘innovation in agriculture’ at the 52nd National Agricultural Fair in Santarém.

The NRN organised a seminar on ‘Operational Groups – innovation in agriculture’ as well as separate meetings bringing together agricultural researchers, entrepreneurs and farmers. Alongside a stand at the Fair, these activities aimed to exchange experiences and promote the establishment of Operational Groups in the agricultural sector.


 
   
9-10 July 2015
Food and Agricultural Markets Instability: Policies and Regulation Perspectives
Milan, Italy
This conference will discuss how food and agricultural markets can become more stable and will aim to help define both EU and international policies to improve food security.
 
10 July 2015
Sustainable Food Production and Air Pollution
Milan, Italy
The event will discuss the benefits of sustainable agriculture for health, ecosystems and climate, and potential solutions that lead to lower levels of air pollution and increased crop production, while avoiding other trade-offs.
  
13-14 July 2015
Agroecology and Ecological Intensification for a Sustainable Food Future
Milan, Italy
This workshop will focus on how agroecological solutions and the provision of ecosystem services that are beneficial to agriculture can contribute to sustainable increased food production.
  
15 July 2015
‘Innovation in Rural Tourism’ Networking Event
Vienna, Austria
Organised within the framework of the InRuTou project, this event will focus on the involvement of protected areas in tourism development, intergenerational practice, youth entrepreneurship and creative industries grounded in cultural heritage, project ideas and potential funding sources.
  
17 July 2015
Conference on Food Safety and Nutrition in 2050
Milan, Italy
In the context of emerging challenges to the food chain, this conference will discuss consumers' expectations for safe, nutritious, quality and sustainable food and the role of food science, technology and innovation in achieving them.
   
19 July 2015
First National Open Farm Day
Tallinn, Estonia
The very first national Open Farm Day in Estonia will gather over 100 farms and agricultural producers from across the country in the aim of promoting agriculture and rural life.
  
7-8 August 2015
Global Food Security Challenges
Milan, Italy
This event aims to identify the main drivers that will impact food security in coming decades, in particular, the role of productivity, technological breakthroughs, different agricultural models and policies, and regional developments.
  
22-27 August 2015
AGRA - 53rd International Fair of Agriculture and Food
Gornja Radgona, Slovenia
Bringing together a wide range of agriculture and rural development stakeholders this international fair will host exhibitions of the latest achievements in agriculture and food and provide opportunities for networking and co-operation, as well as business and professional consultations.
 
28 August 2015
Towards a Smart Rural Europe
Lisbon, Portugal
Organised within the framework of the TASTE project, this conference will aim to identify the main conditions for the emergence of a ‘Smart Rural Europe’ taking account of regional dynamics and the new regional and rural policies.
 
2-5 September 2015 
Riga Food 2015
Riga, Latvia
This annual food fair will highlight trends and novelties in the food industry development and present a number of food enterprises.
  
7-10 September 2015
Multi-functional Farming Systems in a Changing World
Montpellier, France
This international symposium will deal with the analysis and concept of farming systems to include multifunctionality to adapt to the needs of resource and environmental sustainability, food security and socio-economic development.
  
8-10 September 2015
16th International Conference Rural-Urban Symbiosis
Hamburg, Germany
The event will explore how agricultural bio resources are used for energy provision with the aim of closing the gap between rural production and urban consumption. 
  
7-15 September 2015
Week of DG Agriculture and Rural Development stakeholders
Milan, Italy
Within the framework of Expo Milano 2015, DG AGRI will organise a series of seminars dedicated to topics raised by pertinent stakeholders in the aim of contributing to the global debate on food security.
 
24 September 2015
National Rural Networks’ Meeting
Milan, Italy
This ‘special edition’ NRN meeting aims to strengthen the capacity of National Support Units (NSUs) to provide support and guidance to LEADER/CLLD stakeholders through mutual learning and exchange of relevant experience among managing authorities, NSUs and Local Action Groups (LAGs).
 
25 September 2015
Strengthening Local Development through Co-operation
Milan, Italy
This conference will focus on improving LEADER/CLLD implementation as a way to boost inter-territorial and transnational co-operation within the EU and with third countries.
 
28-29 September 2015
Rural Matters International Conference
Aveiro, Portugal
The event will address the processes, dynamics, actors and institutions involved in the design and implementation of rural development policies and strategies. It will further explore the meanings of ‘rural’ in contemporary societies and consumption practices through leisure and tourism related activities.
 
29 September - 1 October 2015  
LINC Conference 2015
Maratea, Italy
The 2015 edition of the LEADER Inspired Network Community (LINC) Conference will promote exchange of experience and ideas for new co-operation projects in the context of the beginning of the new programming period.
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