European Association for Rural Development and Village Renewal (ARGE)
The European Association for Rural Development and Village Renewal was founded in 1989 as a non-bureaucratic association of government representatives, scientists, as well as village renewal experts, local politicians and representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). With its network of partnerships, it promotes measures intended to improve quality of life, ecconomic opportunities and leisure factors in rural areas.
Structure, key stakeholders and partners
The ARGE is a registered association, headquartered in Vienna. At present, it has 23 European member/partner countries and member/partner regions, namely Bavaria, German-speaking Community of Belgium, Burgenland, Hesse, Carinthia, Luxembourg, Lower Austria, Woiwodship Opole, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Salzburg, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Tyrol, Styria, Thuringia, Tyrol, Czech Republic, Hungary, Vorarlberg, Woiwodship Silesia, Switzerland and the community of Hinterstoder. Member organizations are also the „Europäisches Bildungsforum für ländliche Entwicklung“ and the „Arge Ländlicher Raum“.
Priorities and activities
ARGE’s main aim is to promote an international exchange of knowledge and experience, on a vertical level between decision-makers and citizens and on a horizontal level between European states, regions and villages. Further, it strives to motivate the rural population to contribute to decision-making processes and to commit to initiatives creating their own living environment and to strengthen their identity as locally rooted Europeans. Not least, ARGE sees its tasks in forcing the meaning of rural areas and the issues of their inhabitants for society as a whole through publicity, media ans poltics and thus give the best possible support to the preservation and formation of viable, attractive villages.
Apart from international congresses, conferences, symposia and regular study trips, the organisation organised the European Village Renewal Award held on a biannual basis.