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Rural Futures: the next 25 years for rural areas and research


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Professor Janet Dwyer discusses the implications of current issues and policies for rural areas and policy development in the next 25 years, in particular the issues around CAP reform, climate change, innovation and ongoing research needs.

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Rural Futures: the next 25 years for rural areas and research

  1. 1. Rural Futures : the next 25 years for rural areas and research Janet Dwyer Professor of Rural Policy
  2. 2. Outline• Challenges for agriculture and rural areas in Europe and the UK• Implications for rural spaces and places – the quest for innovation• Policy: key needs, ideas from research and elsewhere• Some reflections on tactics and directions
  3. 3. Challenges for European agriculture & rural areas• Increasing fossil fuel prices – higher global demand, lower / more costly / less secure supplies• Growing global food demand• Climate change - pressures north and south from temperature and rainfall shifts• Demographic change – shrinking workforce, pressure in south• Continuing austerity in public finances – reduced financing for land and people?
  4. 4. EU regions: climate change vulnerability highest negative impact medium negative impact low negative impact no/marginal impact low positive impact No data* reduced data* ESPON CLIMATE study
  5. 5. Population Change2000-2007Annual Average Change per1000 inhabitants - < -6.0 (193) - -6.0 - -3.0 (154) - -3.0 - 0.0 (226) - 0.0 - 3.0 (300) - 3.0 - 6.0 (249) - > 6.0 (341) - no dataSource: DEMIFER project, annex of maps: ESPON2012These trends are set to continue: pressure in some poor/water-stressed regions; decline in CEE & north, plusageing – reduced employment base to finance services…
  6. 6. Implications for rural activities & resources• Agriculture and the food sector must become much more resource-efficient: using fewer non-renewable inputs, conserving carbon, soil and water, and reducing or eliminating waste
  7. 7. • The multifunctionality of rural spaces must be maintained and increased, embracing energy generation and non- food products, plus sustained use for leisure and food production (all these demands will not diminish, but grow)• Ecosystem services will require long-term planning and much better spatial co-ordination
  8. 8. Communities of rural place will seereduced central support, but enhancedinformation:- Eroding transport options- Increasing scope for long-distance learning and exchange of ideas- Continuing challenges from demography: capacity to cope- ‘Renewal’ via in-migration – new scope for entrepreneurial action? (social, environmental and economic)
  9. 9. What will be needed – a ‘step-change’ in practice• Technological change• New knowledge• New ways of working• New (space & place-based) systems• New ways of doing policy• New institutional arrangements- INNOVATION is the name of the game
  10. 10. Innovation in spaces: Why?• To transform farm-level knowledge about best management strategies and sustainability planning• To raise standards of practice on farms, achieving a ‘step-change’ in approach• To develop new businesses / sub-sectors and successfully exploit market opportunities based upon sustainable resource management• To test and learn from the experience of successful pioneers
  11. 11. Innovation in places: Why?• To cope with continuing public funding restraint among local government and communities• To overcome the real issues of remoteness, ageing, rising housing and transport costs, and reduced service provision• To develop new approaches and successfully exploit opportunities, increasing self-reliance• To learn from the experience of successful pioneers
  12. 12. How best to promoteinnovation? It is not possible to force people to innovate, BUT there is evidence of value in fostering and promoting a climate in which innovation is encouragedKEY ingredients:• Stronger research-practice linkages• Communities of learning: advice, training and information, identifying new partners• Enhanced networking and collaborative action
  13. 13. Innovation in spaces
  14. 14. Innovation in places Ecology BS, AECB Lancashire Rural Futures Tools for self-reliance: • Google analytics, wiki, social networking, e-books, open-source GIS…..
  15. 15. Enabling policy is vital“a supportive and responsive government is required ata UK, devolved and local level. Action on all theselevels is needed to: address regional level inequalities;build capacity in local communities; and mitigateagainst any unintended consequences of macro levelpolicies at a local level.” Carnegie Trust, 2012- the UK is not strong on social learning…..
  16. 16. Better policy-making- consider the plumber…• We need smarter working with multiple goals, integrated planning & delivery - ditch the outmoded mantras• We need to control and reduce the weight of controls and bureaucracy – make policies closer to the beneficiary, more flexible• We need to incentivise experimentation - learning, doing things differently‘Better targeting’ does not have to mean moreconstraints and higher costs!
  17. 17. Smarter Policy: ideas fromresearch • Adaptive governance (Folke et al, 2005) seeks to address uncertainty through continuous learning, involving multiple actors in decision- making processes, and self-organisation of the governance system. • Polycentric institutional arrangements (Ostrom, 2010) are needed, that operate at multiple scales – linking top-down with bottom-up processes: we need both.
  18. 18. Smarter Policy: ideas fromresearch ‘Fit–for–purpose governance’ These ideas offer diagnostic tools and some conceptual re- framing, emphasising the key role of stakeholder Rijke et al, 2012 involvement in achieving change
  19. 19. Smarter Policy: modelsfrom industry• BPR – ‘business process re-engineering’, analysing processes to enable simplification, with a strong focus upon the experiences of all actors in the delivery chain• Lean Systems – to enable a move away from ‘one size fits all’ approaches, to programmes which enable tailored solutions for each individual situation, without leading to excessive bureaucracy or high costs local government has already begun to apply these models: can they teach the centre?
  20. 20. Reflections on directions• The UK ‘habit’ is to lead aspirationally, but be weak (laissez-faire) in the follow-through• Local and private sectors are probably doing more than central state, at present• EU capacity to lead may be weaker, post- enlargement / Lisbon / economic crisis• Inspiration may come from further afield…
  21. 21. Reflections on tactics„The lower the effectiveness of government, themore governance starts to appear attractive toother actors, but whose own effectiveness (andlegitimacy) is crucially dependent on the presenceof the state‟ (Borzel,2010, cited in Bulkeley & Jordan, 2012)The inspirational leaders and thinkers need to organise and change the politicsThe politicians need to (believe), commit and engage
  22. 22. Thank you