‘networX’ aim was to recognise the value of networking for rural development, demonstrate the results of the past ten years of rural networking and proactively look at its future. It was designed in an interactive format ensure plenty of space and time for informal discussions, inspiring conversations and sharing of experiences, reaffirming the value of human connections in the digital world
Over 400 people participated in this event organised in Brussels by the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) in order to meet, exchange and start cooperation. The key features were workshops, speed dating for cooperation, price-award ceremony for great project for rural development, and mingle opportunities. An important element of the programme was evaluating the actual ENRD Contact Point and developing ideas on the future CAP network.
PREPARE had a stand in the market hall, presented PREPARE and ERP activities to visitors. Around 50 people discussed current policy issues with the stand personnel.
There was a strong call for real rural policy (reflecting the rural reality) in local development in order to stop rural exodus (services, digitalisation, infrastructure, education) while supporting local economic strategies. The current system is not very supportive of small (and medium sized) farming, important in many PREPARE member countries. Everybody agreed there was too much bureaucracy and lack of communication between actors and decision-making.
PREPARE facilitated a workshop on engaging marginalised stakeholders in the future national CAP networks. The main outcome was that unless the network has marginalised rural actors (eg. elderly, migrants, the economically weak…) explicitly on its agenda with a clear strategy and a person working on it, the engagement will not be possible. Another pre-condition is to really have engaged people among the marginalised groups.