The long-term vision for rural areas

In over 20 different hubs all around Europe, rural policy, society and science representatives have been working on creating a vision for the rural areas as part of the SHERPA Horizon 2020-project. Now the position paper Long-term vision for rural areas is published and will feed into the ongoing debate at the Commission on the future of rural areas and the roles they have to play in the European society.

What are the desired visions for 2040? What will be the enabling factors and opportunities to seize? The Position Paper assembles the key issues from the 20 regional and national hubs, officially called the SHERPA Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs), and the EU level actors. Key messages can be summarized as follows:

European rural areas are attractive in their own right and, as a consequence of the high quality of life available, many such areas are appealing places to live, work and visit.

Long-term vision is of rural areas that are characterised by opportunity, innovation, modernity, liveliness, resilience and equality, their sustainable and multi-functional environments.

There is a need for mechanisms that ensure that rural matters are addressed in a coordinated and coherent manner in all areas of policy.

Key enablers to achieve their vision are enhanced multi-level & territorial governance that empowers local actors and communities, facilitated through flexible funding schemes that are relevant to the characteristics of different areas.

The European Commission plans to launch its Communication on the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas in the second quarter of 2021 – and the work of the SHERPA project will feed into this.

What is the SHERPA project?

Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA) is a four-year project (2019-2023) with 17 partners funded by the Horizon 2020 programme. The project aims to gather knowledge that contributes to the formulation of recommendations for future policies relevant to EU rural areas, by creating a science-society-policy interface. The multi-actor approach brings different representatives together and is meant to create more sustainable rural development by including stakeholders from different sectors and perspectives. Nordregio is a partner in the project.