Rural Development Networking

Networks and networking are widely recognised and adopted as key tools for supporting and promoting sustainable rural development. Networking has proven to be a useful instrument for increasing the involvement of stakeholders at various stages of Rural Development Programme (RDP) implementation. At the RDP planning stage, it is often used as an instrument to bring all interested parties together to discuss relevant policy proposals. At policy implementation stage, it supports the work of various rural development stakeholders by creating opportunities to exchange ideas, information and knowledge. Once RDPs are more advanced, networks play an important role in the dissemination of good practices and contribute to improvement of the rural development policy.

Networking is to enhance its important role during the 2014-2020 programming period through the establishment of networks in the field of rural development at the European and national level.

Networking at the EU level – through the European Network for Rural Development – brings together National Rural Networks, organisations, and administrations active in the field of rural development to:

  • increase the involvement of all stakeholders in the implementation of the policy;
  • improve the quality of RDPs and support their evaluation;
  • inform the broader public on the benefits of the rural development policy; and
  • foster innovation in agriculture, food production, forestry and rural areas.

The European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) and its Service Point supports the networking of operational groups, advisory services and researchers.

Find here more information on networking as rural development policy tool in 2014-2020.

Access relevant ENRD and other resources, guidance documents, tools and examples of rural development networking by clicking on the below buttons.

Lessons from 2007-2013

Links to relevant ENRD work on understanding networking as rural development policy tool based on relevant experiences at EU and national level.

  • Rural Review 14: Networks and Networking in Rural Development Policy [PDF ] present the experience and role of networks as an effective means of informing, inspiring and empowering local people in rural communities
  • Lessons learned from the ENRD shows some of the milestones and achievements of the ENRD during the period 2008-2012.
  • Lessons from the NRNs presents important and useful lessons to be learned from the experience of the NRNs during the 2007-2013 period that can be built upon for the forthcoming 2014-2020 programming period.
  • National Rural Networks – the diversity of approaches delivers practical experiences and learning opportunities created by the NRNs’ vast variety of approaches related to rural networking.
  • Networks as a rural development policy tool for stimulating and sharing new ideas which contributes to the implementation of the rural development policy.
  • Capacity Building for Rural Networks is a seminar organised by the ENRD with the aim to contribute to the capacity building of national and regional networks and to present a valuable opportunity for those involved in the early stages of establishing an NRN to meet with other rural development actors across the EU.
  • NRN Self-Assessment Profiles informs about the general approach that selected NRNs have taken to self-assessment.
  • Potential Tools for Supporting NRN Self-Assessment is a collection of guidance documents provided for self-assessment of activities in NGO and socials change networks which contain practical examples and advice that could be also relevant to NRN self-assessment.
  • Principles and practice of networking provides resources and further reading on the background to, and key issues for, setting up and running the NRNs.
  • NRN Tool-kit is a dynamic on-line resource that aims to address the information / guidance needs of network support units (NSUs), Managing Authorities (MAs) and other relevant NRN stakeholders for strengthening and enhancing EAFRD-financed rural networks.
  • Guidance on Design of Surveys, Questionnaires and Feedback Forms makes available some general guidance documents for NRNs on preparing surveys for collecting and assessing the views and opinions of stakeholders and participants in various networking activities.