Outlook for networking in 2014-2020
An extended and strengthened role for networking
The proposals for networking in the 2014-2020 programming period are as to reinforce networking for rural development, through following networks:
- the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) providing an overall platform for EU rural development policy. Its scope includes rural development policy evaluation functions.
- the network of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP) which will seek to act as a bridge between research and agricultural development;
- twenty-eight national rural networks (NRNs) playing a key role in supporting the implementation of the RDPs, increasing the involvement of stakeholders in rural policy issues, and communicating with the broader public.
All together these networks will reach and involve all relevant groups of rural stakeholders, stimulate innovation, boost exchanges of good practices, reinforce access to information, and help improve the governance of the rural development policy. Partnership has been identified by the EC as key to delivering on the Europe 2020 Strategy. Partnership agreements and RDPs will have to be prepared after a consultation process. NRN have a potential to be used as broad consultation platforms and also as training bodies to increase the institutional capacity of partners.
- To enhance the coordination mechanisms of the networks and to facilitate interaction between levels and topics, including:
- to further specify and clarify the role of NRNs and their relationship with the EU networks, so that synergies can be more easily achieved and coordination be made more efficient at EU level;
- to ensure a working interface between the ENRD and the new network facility for the EIP, including common governance structures;
- to ensure regular liaison with networks of the Common Strategic Framework (CSF) [PDF ] funds.
- To further involve civil society in the EU-networks, notably by ensuring strong links with the DG AGRI Advisory Group for Rural Development.
- To encourage a more flexible approach among the rural networks, so that they can be adapted to evolving thematic priorities, respond to bottom-up needs, and take account of outcomes of any assessments of their activities.
- Considering the key role of the farm advisory services in agricultural knowledge transfer and their proximity to farmers, to integrate them into networking activities targeting advisors or their organisations at EU and national levels. The advisory systems as part of the rural network structure (at EU and national level) would also link to the EU and national research networks in support of agricultural innovation.
The objectives and tasks for rural networking in the 2014-2020 programming period, are elaborated further in articles 52, 53, 54 and 55 of the EU Regulation No 1305/2013 [PDF ] (17 December 2013) on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) in 2014-2020.