The fifth meeting of the Thematic Group (TG) brought together around 40 stakeholders from 16 different countries and a wide range of organisations to exchange ideas on how to design Smart Village strategies to effectively empower rural communities in different national contexts.
The meeting concluded that becoming a smart village was something to aspire to rather than being a measure or a method. Digitisation was seen as a key tool, but not the only one. Participants argued that policies should be inclusive and flexible to deal with very different contexts and that care should be taken to avoid additional layers of strategies and structures.
The ENRD thematic work on Smart Villages was launched in September 2017 and since then, the momentum and interest in the topic has been growing at all levels.
Various thematic outputs – including a short video, editions of the EU Rural Review and EAFRD Projects Brochure, an online portal, briefings, case studies, and event highlights – clarify the concept and outline the wide range of initiatives that can form part of it.