Belgium: Flemish Rural Network

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The Flemish Rural Network aims at being the driving force that generates group dynamics and gets rural areas 'on the move' by informing stakeholders on RDP and fostering innovation in agriculture and forestry.

Contacts

VLAAMS RURAAL NETWERK
Koning Albert II-Laan 35
1030 Brussels
Belgium
Telephone number: 
+32-2-552-77 39
Contact persons: 
Ariane Van Den Steen
(Coordinator, Communication, Innovation/ EIP, NRN self-assessment / evaluation)
Alexander Spriet
(LEADER/CLLD)
Julie Mariën
(Action groups)

NSU operation

The Flemish Rural Network established its strategic objectives in line with the mandatory NRN objectives set by the EU Regulation.
-Informing more stakeholders on RDP in order to have them participate in RDP
-Ensuring a (more) appropriate coordination between RDP and the Flemish rural area
-Informing the general public on the Flemish RDP and on rural development
- Fostering innovation in agriculture and forestry and on the countryside

Who can join the network?
The Flemish Rural Network is open to everyone. Both organisations and individuals can become members and membership is free.
How to become a member?
There is an informal membership, i.e. no application or selection process. Our activities are open to everyone, so interested stakeholders can always join our events. Our publications are also published on our website, and open to everyone.
Who are the members?
Since there is no formal membership, it is not possible to define the exact number of NRN members. However some indications (up to the end of May 2016) can be given:
± 850 people (different types of stakeholders) subscribed to the newsletter;
± 1.100 farmers who have participated in one or more network activities;
A large variety of other stakeholders involved in action groups, Learning Networks, events

The NSU and the Managing Authority
Both the NSU and the MA are delegated to a ministerial agency. This results in close cooperation between the two institutions.
Every two weeks there is a meeting between the NSU and MA.
The NSU and the Monitoring Committee
Each year, the NSU presents its annual planning to the Monitoring Committee (MC).
Every month there is a meeting where we inform the MC on past and upcoming activities.
All communication are also sent to the MC (for example newsletters, invitations to our seminars, field visits, etc.)

Two regional Network Support Units (NSUs) in Belgium
In Belgium there are two regional NSUs: the Flemish Rural Network and the Walloon Rural Network. The Flemish NSU also operates as the national NSU.
The Flemish and the Walloon NSUs meet on a regular basis in order to follow up on each others’ work and to identify possible joint activities. Occasionally, the two networks co-organise events and other activities.
Examples of joint activities of the Walloon and Flemish Networks are:
a debate in 2011 on young farmers
field visits to farms in order to share good practices
co-organisation of an event for LAG coordinators

No formal governance bodies
The NSU was planning to set up an assembly, where stakeholders could give input for the annual and long term planning of the network; however the response rate was too low.
Stakeholder meetings
About twice a year the NSU will organize a stakeholder meeting on a specific topic, that is chosen together with the stakeholders. One topic can be the subject of more than one stakeholder meeting. It depends on the needs of the stakeholders
Stakeholder consultation
Each year, the NSU organises an online survey for network evaluation and to collect input for its annual planning of future activities.

Budget (€)
Total NRN public funds: 2 800 000
Out of which national co-financing: 1 400 000
Out of which EAFRD: 1 400 000

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