European Commission published a study on the contributions of the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) and the National Rural Networks (NRN) to the implementation of the EU’s rural development policy. These two networks led to stakeholders being more involved in the day-to-day implementation of rural development projects in the period 2014-22. This resulted, among other things, in better implementation more suited to local needs.
The activities and increased exchange of information carried out by these networks ensured a higher capacity and quality administration and management of rural development programmes, strengthening the coordination of all stakeholders and addressing the real needs of beneficiaries. The engaged stakeholders represented a wide range of individuals, including policy and programme designers and implementers, interest group representative bodies (organisations representing farmers, forest managers, environmental organisations, rural communities etc.) and actors on the ground (farmers, project beneficiaries, Local Action Groups, etc.)
The Rural Development policy, the second pillar of the CAP, was implemented through rural development programmes, at Member State or regional level. In 2007, the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) and National Rural Networks became part of the Rural Development policy, along with the mainstreaming of LEADER in this policy. In 2014, the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) was also included in the second pillar of the CAP. Together the ENRD and the EIP-AGRI network form the European Rural Networks.
Lessons learnt in networking within these networks have informed the design and set up of the EU CAP Network, a platform where all actors involved in agriculture and rural policy can share knowledge and information. Networks play also an important role in clarifying concepts and communicating information of relevance for the EU, such as over the Green Deal, the new CAP or the Long-Term Vision of Rural Areas, and makes EU information more accessible. The study also outlines 14 recommendations for the EU CAP Network, building on the lessons learned during the previous period.
Powerful networking tools such as events, publications and good practices should continue to strengthening cooperation and supporting stakeholders engagement in the new performance oriented implementation, monitoring and evaluation of CAP.