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  Latest edition of ‘Rural Connections’ now online  

The Autumn 2015 edition of the ENRD networking magazine ‘Rural Connections’ is now available on the website.

As well as the latest rural development news and updates from Europe, this edition brings you stakeholder perspectives on issues ranging from rural broadband to rural culture and from rural-fisheries cooperation to remote islands’ opportunities. The thematic section presents four national approaches to ‘Communicating the RDPs’.

If you wish to receive paper copies of future editions, please write to subscribe@enrd.eu. See previous editions in the publications section of the ENRD website.
Please send suggestions for topics and articles to editor@enrd.eu.



 
Call for Thematic Group members
The ENRD Contact Point is looking for individuals interested in participating in and contributing to its thematic work on ‘Smart and competitive rural areas’ and ‘Promoting the transition to a green economy’ between November 2015 and July 2016.

Thematic Group members are expected to attend three group meetings in Brussels and make a contribution of practical examples from their own background, region or country. Each group will produce a final report and feed into a European Seminar and an edition of the EU Rural Review.
For more information, contact David Lamb for the first topic and John Grieve for the second.


Assessing the rural networks 

An ENRD workshop on self-assessment developed and discussed frameworks, methods and indicators for ongoing monitoring and self-assessment of the results of rural networking activities.

Participants - including NRNs, ENRD Contact Point, Evaluation Helpdesk and EIP-AGRI Service Point - shared ideas and practices in assessing network activities such as the Scottish NRN report measuring the success of the network’s communications and events in the period 2008-2013.
The ENRD Contact Point will support further guidance and exchange on networks’ self-assessment in the coming months.

Refugees: rural responses

The variety of impacts and responses in rural areas to Europe’s unfolding refugee crisis has been recently highlighted within the ENRD network.


Watch this video to find out how small communities in Sweden and Finland are looking for ways to accommodate migrants, using “LEADER/CLLD as an ice-breaker between local people and newcomers”. Read also an interview on local people’s reactions to and initiatives related to the massive inflow of migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos.
These outputs show the challenges presented, but also the opportunities in certain cases for Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) to be part of the solution to migrant integration.


New good practices online

A new set of good EAFRD projects and RDP practices are now available on the ENRD website. The examples range from effective approaches to RDP delivery to innovative marketing and awareness-raising strategies.

Should you wish to propose a good practice in rural development, contact us at info@enrd.eu.


CAP communication funding available 

DG AGRI has launched a new call for proposals for information measures aiming to help explain, implement and develop the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and to raise public awareness of its content and objectives.

The deadline for submitting applications is 30 November 2015. Visit the webpage for more information on this year’s call and grants awarded in previous years.

Infographic: “How much greener is the new CAP?”

A new infographic by EurActiv illustrates the European Commission’s budgetary commitments for green policies in the CAP in the 2014-2020 period.

The infographics cover both direct payments (Pillar 1) and rural development (Pillar 2).

Implementing LEADER outside the EU 

Local Action Groups (LAGs) are being established in Georgia, empowering local people to develop their own regions by taking up and implementing the LEADER approach.

Watch this video to find out more.
 
Erasmus+ calls now open 

The EU’s Erasmus+ Programme has recently launched calls for proposals in support of education, training, youth and sport objectives, which can be used to support projects in rural areas.

See the general call for 2016 and a specific call aimed at building the capacity of organisations to support SMEs in offering apprenticeships.
Third Steering Group meeting

The third meeting of the EU Rural Networks’ Steering Group (SG) discussed the priorities of the ENRD and EIP-AGRI for 2015-2016 and opportunities for more active involvement in their activities.

SG members exchanged on current and planned actions around the themes of Smart and Competitive Rural Areas; Greening the Rural Economy; Capacity Building for LEADER/CLLD; and Simpler Programme Implementation. They also discussed preparations for the second Rural Networks’ Assembly to be held on 26 November 2015.

Networking and cooperating for innovation 

A joint EIP-AGRI – ENRD workshop supported networks to implement innovation actions under the cooperation measure in Rural Development Programmes (RDPs). Particularly, it explored ways in which Operational Groups (OGs) link to the rest of the cooperation measure and possibilities to create a network between EIP actors across Europe.


The workshop further provided an understanding of the state of play in launching OGs and a view of how they are mapped out across different Member States.

How to implement Financial Instruments?

A collection of guidelines, good practices and peer advice on setting up EAFRD Financial Instruments (FIs) is now available on the advisory platform fi-compass. Topics include investment through FIs, programming and implementation of FIs, as well as available EU guidance and support.


The resources were pulled together for a dedicated fi-compass event in Vienna on 1 October 2015 which aimed to promote the use of FIs in agriculture and rural development.

What works in tackling rural poverty?

The Public Policy Institute for Wales is looking for examples of what works in tackling rural poverty as part of a research project. If you know of any positive examples of projects or interventions in this area then please support the assessment of good practice in Europe by sharing them with Emyr Williams.

The study is particularly exploring interventions that have addressed four key themes: transport and access to services; the rural economy, employment and income; housing and homelessness; and the rural poverty premium (where things cost more for people in poverty in rural areas e.g. heating and fuel costs).

EU consultation on internet needs

In the context of the Digital Agenda for Europe, the European Commission is running a public consultation on European citizens’ needs for internet speed and quality beyond 2020.

The consultation, which closes on 7 December 2015, provides an opportunity to raise the specific concerns of rural communities in this regard.
 
Rural environment prize

The deadline for applications for the 2015 edition of the Anders Wall Award is 31 December 2015.
The award recognises private enterprises that have contributed to improving the environment at the local, national and/or European level through the use of quality instruments and management practices.


 
   
 11-12 November 2015 
LEADER – the New Beginning
Raudondvaris, Lithuania
This international conference-forum will discuss social business opportunities in rural areas, relationships between agriculture and businesses, as well as cooperation opportunities under the LEADER approach in the 2014-2020 programming period.
 
12 November 2015 
Latvian Ruralab
Ozolnieki, Latvia
The Ruralab will focus on the Latvian Rural Development Programme (RDP) for 2014-2020, including planned NRN activities to implement it in the context of 2007-2013 RDP and NRN achievements.
 
17 November 2015 
Delivering on EU Food Safety: Promoting a Safe and Sustainable Agri-Food Chain
Brussels, Belgium
The symposium will bring together experts, policy-makers and NGO representatives to discuss the latest European regulatory policies on food safety and food labelling that aim to promote a sustainable agri-food chain.
 
17 November 2015 
3rd Innovation Sub-group Meeting
Brussels, Belgium
The meeting will discuss the state-of-play of EIP- AGRI in Rural Development Programmes and EIP priority work themes for 2016. It will further aim to facilitate links and information flows among partners and prepare for the European Rural Networks’ Assembly.
  
17-18 November 2015
A Practical Guide to the Common Agricultural Policy
London, UK
This Agra-Europe seminar will provide valuable insights into various aspects of the new CAP, including the new rural development regulation and how it impacts on the EU agri-environmental policy and the rural economy.
 
18 November 2015
1st Meeting of ENRD Thematic Group "Smart and competitive rural areas"
Brussels, Belgium
The Thematic Group will look at how to improve market access for rural producers, how to make rural areas competitive, and the tools required to support this, including ICT and advisory services
 
18 November 2015
Bulgarian Ruralab
Sofia, Bulgaria
The Ruralab will bring together members of the National Rural Network (NRN), Managing Authority (MA) and Network Support Unit (NSU) to discuss ways to improve the communication between European, national, regional and local stakeholders.
  
18 November 2015
Agriculture of the Future, the Future of Agriculture
Gembloux, Belgium
This conference will discuss the evolution of agriculture in the context of globalisation; possibilities for economic, social and sustainable reconciliation with agribusiness; and the integration of agriculture within the circular economy. 
 
19-20 November 2015
Rural Development 2015: Towards the Transfer of Knowledge, Innovations and Social Progress
Kaunas, Lithuania
The conference is the annual platform for international scientific interdisciplinary discussion on rural development and innovations.
 
24 November 2015
European Conference "Unlocking the Potential of RDPs"
Brussels, Belgium
The conference will present an overview of Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) across the EU and discuss questions relating to implementation bottlenecks, scope for simplification and good practice on programming and result reporting, including the role of networks.
 
24-27 November 2015
Info Week on Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2016-2017
Brussels, Belgium
This three-day event will overview the European Commission’s calls for projects under ‘Societal Challenge 2: Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, maritime and maritime inland water research and bio-economy’.
 
26 November 2015
2nd European Rural Networks’ Assembly Meeting
Brussels, Belgium
The Assembly will take stock of networks’ activities in the context of the strategic framework it set at its first meeting in January 2015 and make proposals for the Rural Networks’ priority activities in 2016.


 
30 November - 1 December 2015
Does Europe Need a Food Policy?
Brussels, Belgium
This seminar will bring together the scientific community and decision makers in business, politics and NGOs to discuss whether agricultural policy should develop into a food policy and how such a policy should regulate the retail and food industry and its increasing control over agriculture.
 
1-2 December 2015
EU Agricultural Outlook Conference
Brussels, Belgium
The event will discuss challenges facing the farm sector, including sustainable agriculture adapting to/mitigating the effects of climate change, the functioning of the food supply chain, and the latest projections on the outlook for EU dairy, meat and arable crop markets.
 
1-2 December 2015
Organic Innovation Days
Brussels, Belgium
The event will showcase the innovation potential of the organic food and farming sector. It will also explore opportunities and potential risks of innovations developed outside the organic sector. The results will be discussed with policy-makers to contribute to the implementation of the EIP-AGRI and Horizon 2020.
 
2 December 2015  
RETHINK Project Final Conference
Brussels, Belgium
The topic of the conference is “Rethinking the Links between Farm Modernisation, Rural Development and Resilience in a World of Increasing Demands and Finite Resources”.

 


16 December 2015  
1st Meeting of ENRD Thematic Group "Promoting the Transition to a Green Economy"
Brussels, Belgium
The Thematic Group will aim to identify practical and proactive ways of supporting the transition to a more sustainable green rural economy using rural development tools and supporting the use of energy and resource efficient investments to stimulate jobs and growth.
 
15-24 January 2016  
International Green Week
Berlin, Germany
The 81st edition of IGW will feature multiple exhibitions of the food, agricultural and horticultural industries, as well as events addressing topics such as organic agriculture, rural development and renewable resources.
 
27-28 January 2016   
Organic Producers' Conference
Bristol, UK
The 10th edition of the conference will bring together producers interested in ecological approaches to sustainable food production with researchers and advisers to share ideas on making agriculture perform better for their businesses and society.
 
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