Author: Carla Lostrangio (AEIDL)
Rural areas are a fundamental part of the European way of life. They cover 80% of the EU surface and represent 30% of its population. Yet, today we have very little knowledge about them. What is the current situation of rural areas in Europe? How do main socio-economic trends (such as demographics, COVID-19) and environmental ones (such as climate change and biodiversity loss) affect them? How do these trends have an impact on rural areas?
For all these reasons, the European Rural Observatory has just been launched and we are here to celebrate it!
What is the Rural Observatory?
The Rural Observatory is a flagship initiative of the European Union, foreseen in the European Commission’s Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas and developed by the Joint Research Center in coordination with the European Commission’s DG AGRI and DG REGIO.
This platform will provide more and better data about rural areas. In particular, the platform will help you to visualise how rural areas stand with respect to key economic, social and demographic indicators thanks to interactive maps and graphs.
Up to today, the rural Observatory is structured across four functionalities: Rural focus, My place, Trends and Analysis. In the future, new collaborative tools will be added to the platform, in order to serve the needs of rural areas and the Rural Pact Community.
How does the Rural Observatory relate to the MOVING project?
The sustainability and resilience of mountain value chains depend on several factors and trends. For instance, a wider access to broadband has the potential to impact on the modernisation of the sale of mountain products and therefore, the digitalisation of some parts or the entire value chains.
Other trends that have rather a negative effect on the sustainability of mountain value chains are ageing and outbound migration. Both put at risk the transferring of knowledge on how to produce mountain products, as well as they reduce workforce to keep these value chains alive.
The Rural Observatory gathers and monitors data on these trends as well as other indicators at European level, and therefore, can be used to further enhance MOVING’s results and policy recommendations expected by June 2024.