UK: Northern Ireland Rural Network
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The UK - Northern Ireland Rural Network is focusing on increasing the involvement of stakeholders, improving the quality of the RDP, fostering innovation and informing policy development by gathering evidence on the economic and social needs.
The Northern-Ireland Rural Network defined four objectives in line with the mandatory objectives set by EU Regulation No 1305/2013, and a further NRN-specific objective:
Increase the involvement of stakeholders in the implementation of rural development;
Improve the quality of implementation of rural development programmes;
Inform the broader public and potential beneficiaries on rural development policy and funding opportunities;
Foster innovation in agriculture, food production, forestry and rural areas;
Inform policy development by gathering evidence on the economic and social needs of rural areas and raising awareness of the need for rural proofing.
How to become a member?
The Northern Ireland Rural Network is open to any individuals and organisations with an interest in rural development. Members can apply online or via a short form detailing their name, e-mail address and area of interest.
Members are asked to select one or more areas of interest from:
1) agri-food and farming
2) agri-environment and forestry
3) rural economic and community development
How are members involved?
Communications with them are targeted according to their choice while registering.
All LAG members are automatically signed up to the Network. As of May 2016 the Northern Ireland Network was considering whether all programme beneficiaries could automatically be signed up.
The NSU and the Managing Authority
The Managing Authority (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, DAERA) chairs the Network Steering Group and manages the Network Support Unit (NSU) contract with the external provider (for more information, see under “Governance” heading).
The NSU and the Monitoring Committee
The Network Steering Group, chaired by the Programme Managing Authority, meets prior to each Programme Monitoring Committee (MC) meeting.
The MC members, as well as NSU representatives and DAERA/MA representatives from each programme priority, are represented in the Network Steering Group.
An update from the Network Steering Group is provided at each Monitoring Committee meeting.
The Northern Ireland Network forms part of the UKNRN. However, there is no overall UK RDP and, like each region - England, Scotland, Wales - also Northern Ireland has its own Programme and NSU.
At UK level there is regular informal collaboration with the NRNs in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, which includes working together to deliver a small number of UK level events, and co-ordinating participation in the EU Rural Networks events. Training sessions at UK level have been held with the ENRD, and Ireland has joined the UK for an Evaluation Helpdesk training session and some sessions on co-operation.
A Network Steering Group directs the activities of the Network and approves the Network Support Unit work plan (see also above).
Total NRN public funds: £1 1 million
Out of which national co-financing: £880 000
Out of which EAFRD: 20%