NEW! The 3rd European Rural Parliament is about to take place – Oct. 18-21. You can join the event through our live-streaming! This will be available during plenary sessions at the following times:
Thursday October 19 – 9.00 – 10.30 CET
Friday October 20 – 8.45 – 13.00 CET
Saturday October 21 – 9.00 – 15.00 CET
The hashtag on Twitter is #ERP2017.
The Third European Rural Parliament will take place this year on October 18-21 in Venhorst in the Netherlands. So what is the European Rural Parliament? What are the topics and themes? And where is Venhorst anyway?
Our Food. Our Energy. Our Nature. Innovative, community-orientated responses to challenges in these vital areas. And the role of the countryside in adapting to the crises Europe faces. If all of this interests you, then maybe the European Rural Parliament (ERP) will too.
This third ERP will be attended by participants from 40 European countries, as well as policy makers and European level institutions.
The Netherlands may seem like an especially urban country for rural event. Its rural areas are certainly distinctive, but there is no set template for the countryside. Indeed this balance between rural and urban, nature and people, farming and food processing will be explored in the surrounding North Brabant region as part of this four day event. At its core this event will “enable an updated debate about the state of rural areas in the wider Europe and the policy challenges and opportunities which must be faced in the coming decade” according to organisers.
Core thematic areas are food, energy and nature. The region is apt for an exploration of the role of extensive grazing in nature management conservation and in developing local food culture. It is also a good place to examine the growth and multifaceted impact of agricultural companies and changes in the natural, cultural and economic landscape. Importantly, this sort of region, with its mixed functionality “raises the question of how to work together with others to develop a better future, both by caring for each other and in providing a welcome reception for refugees and foreign visitors.”
Energy too is a fascinating topic for consideration, one where rural areas can play a spearheading role. “There is a social movement emerging in the direction of a more sustainable development: the ‘vital and resourceful society’ in which communities, cooperatives, and networks take on public responsibilities previously not actively taken care of by citizens; for example when it comes to energy supplies for the local community.
The use of solar, wind or waterpower, particularly in the countryside, provides excellent opportunities for de-centrally organized energy distribution systems that also manage to close financial loops at the local level.
The idea is to produce the renewable energy locally that is also required locally. Subsequently, the financial revenues can be used as leverage for achieving additional ambitions of the renewable energy agenda as well as for other social purposes” organisers add.
Moreover, rural areas – including in the region the event is to be held- offer opportunities for sequestering CO2. Nature too is fascinating in this reclaimed former heathland, a ‘very valuable nature area’ – Natura 2000 – region.
The ERP is an initiative developed by three entities. The European Rural Community Alliance (ERCA) – the network for the national and regional rural and village movements of Europe; PREPARE Partnership for Rural Europe – which aims to strengthen civil society in rural areas, especially in new member states, accession and neighbourhood counties of the European Union; and finally the European LEADER Association for Rural Development (ELARD). ELARD is an international non-profit making association set up to improve the quality of life in rural areas and to maintain their population through sustainable, integrated local development.
Previous ARC2020 articles about the 2nd European Rural Parliament