The 3rd SHERPA Annual Conference “Co-creating rural futures” was hosted by our partner CIHEAM IAMM in Montpellier from 31 January to 1 February.
This was the first in-person meeting since the pandemic started and it was an opportunity to strengthen the links between the partners just as they prepare for the final stages of the project will build on SHERPA’s contribution to the European Union Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas (LTVRA) and the work undertaken by the SHERPA partners during 2022.
The conference focused on the role of Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) and multi-stakeholder governance in delivering the LTVRA and reflect upon the sustainability of SHERPA MAPs – as Science-Society-Policy interfaces – after the project’s end.
Keynote speakers included Alexia Rouby, from DG AGRI, which set out the ambitious plans by the Commission not only on the LTVRA but also the newly launched EU Rural Pact and EU Rural Observatory. She highlighted the specific added value of SHERPA as it was designed to keep in line with the evolving policy landscape as to ensure that its successive outputs were impactful in the policy arena. The LTVRA is in itself the best example, taking inspiration from timely and specific SHERPA ideas.
Mayor Nathalie Régond Planas is the President of the Pays Pyrenées Méditerranée, grouping 58 municipalities bordering Spain´s Catalonia region. She highlighted the added value of MAPs in testing and developing ideas that can eventually be turned into actionable public policies.
Moreover, highlights from the SHERPA and MAPs Position Papers were presented on the social dimension of rural areas, sustainable and resilient value chains, climate change and land use, and digitalisation.
This event, organised by SHERPA partner AEIDL, brought together over 100 experts, practitioners and rural stakeholders from all over Europe, including local French MAP members such as the representative from the PACA network, Christelle Caso.
There is still a lot of good Science-Policy-Society work to be carried out in the six remaining months of this project, whose highlight will be the SHERPA Final Conference at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels on the 1st and 2nd of June.