The XII European Mountain Convention organised by Euromontana took place in the Sila National Natural Park, Italy, on 25 – 26 – 27 October 2022.
The Convention aimed to define a sustainable strategy for the development of smart mountains towards 2050, and outline the economic, social and environmental challenges faced by European mountain areas and provide innovative solutions to these. It showcased smart initiatives for key sectors in mountain areas, such as tourism and agriculture, and will provide the basis for more integrated and effective public policies, contributing to the sustainable development of mountain areas and the quality of life of mountain communities.
AEIDL – with Enrique Nieto (Head of the Policy Unit) – was invited to participate and provide a presentation on “research and innovation as drivers of vibrant, sustainable, and attractive rural areas”. He explained that a transition is needed in rural areas to respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead. In this respect, local innovation driven by communities is key to support social, green, and digital transitions through incremental innovations. Researchers and academics need to engage more effectively with local actors and implement practice-oriented research that results in action within local communities
According to the latest report from the European Network for Rural Development on rural revitalisation, the creation and support of partnerships between rural communities and research and innovation actors (multi-actor partnerships) is a key enabling factor for local innovation. For these partnerships to emerge, policy makers should invest in building social capital in the rural territories, particularly in those where it is absent, in order to ensure all rural territories, benefit from policy measures supporting local innovation, and to avoid increasing the development gap between rural areas that already thrive and those lagging behind.
Enrique concluded by introducing some of the research projects in which AEIDL participates, such as MOVING, DESIRA or SHERPA, which exemplify the value of research and innovation in rural areas, which also help build modern policies that contribute to the EU’s Long Term Vision for Rural Areas.
See the presentation from Enrique Nieto at the convention here.