Our members are legally registered non-government organisations operating at international, national or regional level and based in Europe or in countries which maintain relations with Europe, who represent significant sectors of rural populations.
Currently we have 20 full members and 1 associate member.
Forum Synergies (Belgium)
Forum Synergies is a non-profit association of engaged citizens, organisations and active practitioners engaged in sustainable rural development. Network supports people and organisations who are engaging for a more sustainable, more democratic and creative rural life.
The Forum Synergies network was founded 1995 as “European network of experiences in sustainable development” by 35 organisations from 16 European countries.
The mission of the organisation is to enable the exchange of experiences, to promote synergies and to support a constructive dialogue between stakeholders.
The European Council for the Village and Small Town (ECOVAST) was set up in 1984 to foster the economic, social and cultural vitality of rural communities throughout Europe and to safeguard and promote the sensitive renewal of the built and natural environments.
We are organized as an international network that gathers academics, anthropologists, archaeologists, architects, economists, ethnologists, geographers, historians, industrial archaeologists, researchers, sociologists, town planners, and rural practitioners from the public, private and voluntary sectors. The membership is widely drawn, to include individuals, academic bodies, government and non-government organisations, from local to international level. ECOVAST can thus act as bridge between decision-makers and those who are active at local level, between experts and practitioners.
We have national sections in several European countries, which provide a focus for activities in individual countries to benefit its rural communities and rural heritage. We focus our work on landscape, rural buildings and heritage, small towns and rural tourism. We have organised events and developed position papers, strategies and publications covering culture, heritage, landscape, urban-rural linkages and tourism development in rural areas of Europe.
ECOVAST events always try to involve and encourage active participation of the local communities where they take place. Our conferences always include a study tour of the local area where we can look at relevant projects and meet local people from the rural areas visited. This makes our meetings a two-way knowledge-sharing experience. As we were one of the founding organizations of PREPARE network, this methodology was successfully further developed and can be traced in PREPARE’s travelling workshops and annual gatherings.
Kodukant, the Estonian Village Movement is an association of non-governmental organisations, structured at three levels – village, county and national. It started in 1990s, when Estonia’s rural areas began to suffer severely following the country’s independence. Rural enthusiasts made contact with “All Sweden Shall Live”, and learnt how to mobilise the rural population. Kodukant was set up officially in October 1997. It now has about 5,000 members. It embodies the spirit and values of the villages and is driven by a passion to retain rural life and traditions. Its aims are to give technical advice; to promote networking and communication; to arrange training and capacity building; to act as advocate for rural communities; to support local initiatives; and to foster co-operation at all levels. It has offices in each county, which organise events and act as intermediaries between local people and the national board of Kodukant, which deals directly with the Ministyry of Internal affairs and Ministry of Agriculture. Every second year, Kodukant organizes a Maapäev or Rural Parliament, at which delegates from across the country gather to debate issues, prepare declarations addressed to the government, and agree the association’s programme for the following period.
The tasks of the voluntary activities of the Village Movement Kodukant are:
- Promotion of volunteering;
- Provision of training and consultancy;
- Dissemination of information about volunteering, evolving the greatest portal of volunteers’ activities Volunteers’ Gate (vabatahtlikud.ee) and a volunteers’ e-newsletter published every other week.
The slogan of Kodukant is “All Estonia shall live!”
HELA SVERIGE SKA LEVA
All Sweden Shall Live (Hela Sverige ska leva) is a national civil society organization for rural development consisting of 5000 local community groups and 40 member organizations – many of these are large national NGOs.
There are 24 county networks, working with information and advisory services on the county level. These county councils are formed by the local community groups of the county.
A board consisting of representatives from the local groups and member organizations is responsible for current activities. A secretariat in Stockholm handles contacts, administration and information.
The vision is to have vibrant local communities all over Sweden. The organisation works towards balance between rural and urban areas, good rural development and fair conditions and terms for the whole country.
SUOMEN KYLAT FINDLANDS GYAR
Suomen Kylät ry collects Finnish local developers under one umbrella. The organisation represents about 4,000 village associations and committees, 19 provincial village associations, 54 regional LEADER groups, and a growing number of municipal level associations and neighbourhood associations.
The organisation carries out nationwide advocacy for the local level. We connect local actors into a nationwide network that utilises the existing expertise and develops new expertise in a common effort.
Our main goal is vibrant villages and communities whose inhabitants have the opportunity to influence their own living space. Our work includes securing livelihoods, good environment, adequate services and wellbeing for rural residents.
THE CIVIL SOCIETY NETWORK FOR RURAL AREAS IN HUNGARY
One of the founding organizations of PREPARE, the Hungarian Rural Parliament (HRP) was established by two-hundred rural grassroots and 5-6 national NGO-s in 1997. The model came from the Swedish Rural Parliament. It was the second rural parliament initiative in Europe.
HRP was registered as a public association in 1998, and it existed until 2013, the year when its registration number was canceled by the state. HRP had been relatively silent since 2008. The reason of the less active years was that the association was not able to avoid influences of the divided Hungarian society, while bottom up citizen initiatives lost their self-organization opportunities in the whole country, especially in rural areas.
In 2013 a smaller, active group of the former HRP members decided not to stop working together. 16 rural citizen initiatives have been permanently involved, but the network decided to do not register the organization as a legal body. It works with an accountable body, which provide the needed legal background to the common activities, when necessary.
SLOVAKIAN RURAL PARLIAMENT
The Rural Parliament in Slovakia was established in 2000 as an informal platform for rural initiatives.
In 2001, the platform was added to the Civic Association of the Rural Parliament in Slovakia (OZ VIPA SK), which is the executive component of the platform.
The mission of the organization is to promote quality of life in rural areas and support rural initiatives in the management of rural development. Slovakian Rural Parliament proceeds to fulfill this mission mainly by supporting integrated rural development through professional advocacy and information and communication activities in the form of a dialogue conducted at the national level based on the identification of rural needs at the national level.
LATVIAN RURAL FORUM
The Latvian Rural Forum (LRF) was established on 22.12.2004. and registered on 27.05.2005. LRF unites rural non-governmental organizations for definite purposes: promote sustainable development of Latvian rural territories, strengthen civil society in rural territories, promote local initiatives and cooperation, represent interests of rural population at national and international levels, cooperate with government, municipalities, NGOs, business persons and other institutions.
The Latvian Rural Forum brings together 69 rural non-governmental organisations.
The main LRF activities are: development of NGO cooperation network, explanatory and educational activities for activating local initiatives, strengthening LRF position in the dialogue between politicians and organisations.
LITHUANIAN RURAL COMMUNITIES UNION
The Lithuanian Rural Communities Union has 38 umbrella organisations bringing together 1341 rural community organisations.
LRCU is an independent union of non-governmental organisations of rural communities registered and operating in Lithuania, coordinating and carrying out the tasks assigned by the members of the Union of Lithuanian Rural Communities and representing their interests.
Rural areas in Lithuania cover all types of villages and towns outside the city administrative boundaries. Rural areas make up 97% of Lithuania’s territory. The Union represents rural communities from various regions of the country and has a database of legally registered and operational rural communities
The objective is to make the Lithuanian countryside an attractive and safe place with good infrastructure, vital sectors of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and other activities, with healthy environment, preserved and cherished landscape.
All rural areas must be developed in a balanced way, combining social and economic policies.
NATIONAL NETWORK OF LOCAL ACTION GROUPS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
The National Network of Local Action Groups in the Czech Republic civic association (NN LAG CR) was founded at the beginning of April 2007, while the network itself had been established as early as in November 2005 as a informal grouping of Local Action Groups called “The National Rural Development Network”.
The objective of the NN LAG CR is first and foremost to support the activities of Local Action Groups, to promote their cooperation and transfer of experience.
The activities of the network are managed by the Committee made up of 13 members representing the Local Action Groups coming from individual regions. The NN LAG CR cooperates as a partner with other institutions involved in rural development activities.
POLISH RURAL FORUM
Polish Rural Forum (Forum for the Animation of Rural Areas – FAOW) is the first national platform of cooperation of rural organizations in Poland. The organizations cooperating within the Forum work together towards a more effective functioning of Polish rural communities within the European Union, through animation and increased participation in decision making.
The aims of the Polish Rural Forum are as follows:
- to work for the development of rural areas and their inhabitants;
- to support and promote sustainable rural development;
- to support civic society development and knowledge-based economy,
- to build partnership and dialogue for sustainable rural development, and
- to animate local communities in rural areas.
SLOVENIAN RURAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
Slovenian Rural Development Network operates as an NGO network for the development of Slovenian rural areas, with the status of an association operating in the public interest in the field of agriculture.
The mission of the Slovenian Rural Development Network is to bring together all individuals and organizations involved in the development of Slovenian rural areas at different levels. The main concern of the Slovenian Rural Development Network is informing and educating members and the interested public, thus pursuing the improvement of the life quality for the inhabitants of Slovenian rural areas. The Slovenian Rural Development Network acts as a focal point for coordinating and supporting integrated rural development, and for provision of hands-on project guidance.
The main field of operation are: Information, training and promotion, National CLLD contact point, Cooperation, representation and nationwide networking, International cooperation.
CROATIAN RURAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
Croatian rural development network – HMRR is an organisation and a network of organisations that promotes sustainable development of Croatian rural areas since 2006. By working together, networking, partnership and knowledge transfer we aim to improve conditions for sustainable development and high-quality life in rural communities. At this moment, the Network counts 43 members.
We advocate an evenly developed Croatia, in which residents of rural areas actively contribute to developing their communities by their social and economic activities.
HMRR’s areas of activity are: (1) advocating interests of rural stakeholders in creating and implementing public policies, (2) networking and informing our members and contributors to rural development, (3) education, exchange of knowledge and experiences and (4) organisation development.
SERBIAN RURAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
The association “Network for Rural Development of Serbia” is a voluntary, non-governmental and non-profit organization, based on freedom of association of natural or legal persons, established to improve the quality of life and promote balanced regional development in rural areas of Serbia.
The Network for Rural Development of Serbia is a young organisation in the sector of rural development in Serbia. However, a strong advantage of the network is its members, having a significant experience and remarkable results in rural development. The area of activity is the territory of the Republic of Serbia.
MACEDONIA RURAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
The Rural Development Network of the Republic of North Macedonia builds partnerships and realizes strategic cooperation to influence rural development policies locally and nationally, supports and engages the rural community through activities to build and utilize their abilities, skills and knowledge, and promotes and advocates attitudes that promote conditions for equal development and sustainable use of natural resources.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA RURAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
The Rural Development Organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina (MRRu BiH) is an organization of civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina rural areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The aim is to address this issue in an unambiguous way, so as not to reduce the level of interest in the organization in the rural sector.
The aim of the network is to increase the capacity of rural and rural development, partnering with the private and private sectors in the field of rural development and rural development.
MONTENEGRO RURAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
The network was founded by 11 NGOs in 2012 and currently consists of 22 rural development NGOs. The network has already developed a good relationship with all the local governments in Montenegro, as well as the majority of ministries, of which the most productive is the collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, with which it has signed an agreement on cooperation and mutual support. MNRD is one of the network initiators and founders of the Balkan Network for Rural Development (BNRD). Since its founding MNRD, in addition to the day-to-day work, had several activities such as: organisation of the international conference “The role of civil society in rural development of the Western Balkan” (2012); establishment and continuous work on the “Rural Portal”; co-organisation of “Traveling workshops Montenegro – Macedonia – Serbia” (2014); organisation of the international conference “The role of family agriculture in the development of rural areas” (2014). MNRD has also participated in all major domestic, regional and international events that have been organised since its founding.
ALBANIA RURAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
Albanian Network for Rural Development (ANRD) is a genuine initiative of civil society that strives to contribute to sustainable development of rural communities by taking up an active role in the reforming process of the agriculture and rural development, especially in approximating EU policy of Community Led Local Development (CLLD). At the end of 2015, fourteen CSOs agreed to network to advocate and lobby for effective rural policies which are closer to rural communities’ residents, designed with the participation of local communities, understood and implemented with people on the ground. To date, ANRD counts twenty seven member organizations which are active and visible at local level across Albania and contributing in various themes of rural development.
ANRD is making intensive and continuous efforts to build an active, inclusive and participatory national rural agenda including LEADER/CLLD, civil society empowerment, policy engagement, green economy, agri-tourism, gender equality, family farming, sustainable agriculture, youth and VET education, etc.
Locally-led development based on the EU LEADER approach is at the centre of Network’s activities. In this light, ANRD is putting a lot of efforts in introducing LEADER approach, capacity building and know-how transfer on LEADER LAGs from different European countries and of those in the region to a broad spectrum of Albanian stakeholders
KOSOVO RURAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
NATIOANAL RURAL NETWORK OF MOLDOVA
The National Rural Network of Moldova is a union of civil society established in 2018 aiming to support and enhance rural development by promoting fair and inclusive policies, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and information and ensuring constructive dialogue between all partners involved in the implementation of rural development policy.
A wide range of stakeholders with a stake in agriculture and rural development are members of the Network. Presently, the network unites 103 organizations and individual members from national and regional level, including national-wide umbrella organisations representing: women, youth, local public authorities, farmers, local action groups, SMEs, rural tourism, etc.
The network is already recognized as a dedicated partner in rural policy dialogue, with effective collaborative relationships with local public administrations and targeted ministries. The Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment is an active partner of the network with which a cooperation agreement has been signed