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Rural areas are 'places of growth and opportunity,' OECD says

Author: FarmingUK Published: 16th April 2018 15:08

 Rural area

Rural areas are 'places of growth and opportunity,' OECD says

Rural areas are vital to national economies and addressing global challenges, according to the OECD.

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) held its 11th Rural Development Conference in Edinburgh this week.

The policy statement, which provides guidance to governments to support rural economic development, also declared that innovation will be critical to the future competitiveness and sustainability of rural economies.

The statement outlines the case for focusing on rural areas as engines of national prosperity and how policies should leverage this opportunity.

Jose Enrique Garcilazo, Head of OECD's Regional and Rural Policy Unit, said rural areas should be seen as "places of growth, opportunity and inspiration".

"Yet rural is still not central to government policy. Rural areas have a key part to play in some of our major global challenges," Mr Garcilazo said.

"They are best placed to develop new energy sources, to help sustain our natural environment and to ensure food security.

"In an increasingly interconnected world, opportunities are emerging to promote rural prosperity.

Mr Garcilazo added: "Digitalisation will propel rural economies forward, and the conference has highlighted that supporting innovation in rural areas will be key to the future prosperity and wellbeing of rural regions."

Rural innovation

The policy statement identifies 10 key drivers of change predicted to influence the future of rural economies and communities and their potential to prosper, including digital connectivity and drones.

The statement also recommends that, in addition to prioritising rural innovation, a robust rural policy should place social, environmental and economic wellbeing at the forefront of policy decisions and take an integrated view across policy sectors to avoid one policy detracting from another.

Alistair Prior said: "Scotland continues to be a world leader in rural development and innovation, and by bringing together the world's leading policy officials and international experts to map out a framework, we can take inspiration from around the world.

"We can continue to share effective practice and support our own rural communities - through policy decisions - to benefit from technological change and to promote job creation, economic growth and service delivery."





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