What may turn out to be a very important EU Commission Rural Development event is being held in Cork, Ireland, this coming Monday. Oliver Moore explains why.
Cork 2.0 brings together 250 delegates to examine the challenges rural Europe faces. A declaration will be produced at the end of the event on Tuesday 6th September.
This is important because 20 years ago, the first edition of this event produced a Declaration which became the foundation document of the entire Rural Development Pillar in the Common Agriculture Policy.
Specifically the 1996 Declaration said “The application of rural development programmes must be based on coherent and transparent procedures, and integrated into one single programme for rural development for each region, and a single mechanism for sustainable and rural development”.
That single mechanism became Pillar 2 of the CAP.
Cork 2.0 is a high level EU event with which Phil Hogan (Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development) Czesław Adam Siekierski (President of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development European Parliament) and Gabriela Matečná (Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Slovakia) opening proceedings.
The main focus areas are:
- Jobs, growth and investment in the agri-food supply chain and the wider rural economy.
- Rural environment, climate & water.
- Targeting innovation to farmers’ needs.
- Rural viability.
There is also a presentation on the Blue Economy by the book’s author Gunter Pauli and a panel on innovative and alternative delivery mechanisms.
Reading between the lines, and skimming across the usual language on innovation and knowledge and so forth, it is noteworthy that the following have been mentioned specifically in the programme:
“a more result-oriented delivery towards biodiversity, soil and water objectives”
“Rural areas also offer solutions for new societal challenges such as for instance the need to integrate migrants and refugees. Some rural areas have successfully turned this challenge into an opportunity, adding new skills and critical mass for the provision of basic services.”
In both areas, Europe faces huge challenges: to be more specific, Europe is failing miserably in these socio-environmental terms.
So will something as profound as the Rural Development Pillar, which came from Cork 1, emerge from Cork 2.0? Will a third Pillar emerge? Will results based schemes become a new norm? Will the farm income crisis – ostensibly a focus area in the jobs growth and investment – be grasped head on?
“Environmentalists won’t be fooled again” 01/09/2016 Faustine Defossez, senior policy officer for agriculture and bioenergy at the European Environmental Bureau, in Ireland’s only Cork-based national newspaper.