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EU Organisations

European Council for the Village and Small Town (ECOVAST)


ECOVAST was set up in 1984 to further support the well-being of rural communities, and the safeguarding of the rural heritage, throughout Europe. Its formal aims are:

  • to foster the economic, social and cultural vitality and the administrative identity of rural communities throughout Europe;
  • to safeguard, and to promote the sensitive and imaginative renewal of, the built and natural environments of such communities.

Structure, key stakeholders and partners

ECOVAST has over 500 members in 20 countries in East and West Europe. The membership is widely drawn, to include individuals, government and non-government bodies, from local to international level.

ECOVAST has consultative status with the Council of Europe and also with the European Commission.

With Forum Synergies and other non-government organisations, ECOVAST contributed to launch the PREPARE programme - Pre-Accession Partnerships for Rural Europe - to strengthen civil society and to promote multi-national exchange in rural development.

Priorities and activities

ECOVAST is offering services at international and national level.

As a campaigning organisation, ECOVAST seeks to express the concerns of its members throughout Europe to policy-makers, official bodies and others. ECOVAST has active working groups on landscape and rural architecture. They organise conferences, seminars and other events, including training programmes in integrated rural development and they send technical missions to advise on rural development and heritage protection at local level.

The national sections organise activities in each of the members’ countries, according to their perception of the needs and priorities of the countries and the interests of their members.

Further information