EU Rural Pact: A collective effort to empower rural communities

Jan 15, 2024

Author: Merveille Ntabushashe (AEIDL)

Editor: Miranda García (AEIDL)

In a move to address the diverse needs of rural communities, the European Commission launched the Rural Pact in 2021, a key part of its Long-Term Vision for EU’s rural areas. This initiative represents a collaborative framework designed to unify efforst from public authorities, civil society, businesses, academia, and citizens at various governance levels.

Key objectives

The Rural Pact’s mission is articulated around three core objectives, aiming to amplify rural voices in political discussions, structure networking and collaboration, and encourage and monitor voluntary commitments aligned with the vision. This strategic approach seeks to bring about tangible improvements by addressing the unique challenges faced by rural communities.

The Rural Pact Support Office

The Rural Pact Support Office (RPSO) aims to achieve the Rural Pact’s objectives and contribute to the broader Long-Term Vision for EU’s rural areas. Overseen by AEIDL – the European Association for Innovation in Local Development, the RPSO plays a vital role in coordinating and implementing networking activities.

As the Rural Pact gains momentum, it emerges as a promising initiative to strengthen governance in EU rural areas. With a clear focus on collaboration, inclusivity, and tangible outcomes, the Rural Pact stands as a beacon for addressing the unique challenges faced by rural communities, offering a platform for shared solutions and impactful policy shaping.

Rural Pact’s impact on EU policymaking

A testament to the Rural Pact’s influential role came from the High-Level Policy Forum in Siguenza, Spain. There, representatives from Horizon projects like CODECS, MOVING, SHERPA, and GRANULAR actively contributed to discussions with key decision-makers and rural experts, showcasing the Rural Pact’s capacity to shape EU rural policy landscape.

How to join?

Participation in the Rural Pact offers a range of benefits:

  • Visibility and Influence: It keeps rural issues prominent in political agendas.
  • Knowledge Sharing: Members can learn from diverse initiatives.
  • Collaboration Opportunities: It provides access to joint platforms and events.

Over 2,000 entities and individuals have joined by October 2023, evidencing a strong commitment to collaborative rural development.

Interested parties can become part of the Rural Pact by joining one of the Community Groups. There is for instance a ‘Community group on Mountain areas’, which aims to address these region-specific challenges in line with the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas and how to overcome them to become better connected, more resilient, and economically vibrant.

Engaging in a Community Group proves especially valuable for project partners and subscribers whose initiatives are reaching their conclusion. This facilitates ongoing collaboration beyond the project’s completion. Additionally, project partners and subscribers with active projects can join a Community Group to enhance the outreach and dissemination of their own project activities.

Additionally, community members are encouraged to express their intentions on how they plan to contribute to the improvement of rural and mountain areas.