On 9 February took place 4. online workshop organized jointly by the Slovak POLIRURAL project team in which participated 25 stakeholders. It was dedicated to the gradual and participative foresight exercise leading to the preparation of „Vision for more attractive rural areas in Slovakia “. Experts from different fields and people from the ground dived deeper into three clusters of connected drivers that will affect the change in the Slovak countryside in the next 20 years.

The first two clusters dedicated to “Sustainable and resilient food system” and “Diversification of rural economy” were presented in the form of deep dives papers available also online for further comments and inputs. The third cluster focused on “Civil engagement” was discussed in the interactive form to gain input for the deep dive paper.

Education and training were highlighted as an area that requires additional attention. Response to the impacts of the current pandemic on rural areas will be discussed in the next workshop that will take place next week on 18 February. Participants were invited to be active in preparation of the next workshop and to provide ideas on how and around what topics to structure the discussion.

In times when people are not allowed to meet in person the Slovak project team has developed a special feature on national POLIRUAL website (https://atraktivnyvidiek.sk), where people can provide their inputs and comments and broader spectrum of views can be incorporated into the vision development. Inclusivity and participation are the key driving forces of the process and can guaranteed the outcome that is more effective, efficient and better centred around people and their future. Thematic groups were created in the online forum to allow structured discussion.

The representative of the European Network for Rural Development delivered presentation on the current status of preparation of the EU long-term Vision for Rural Areas until 2040, where participatory process and cross sectoral cooperation of different Commission services were highlighted. Slovakia was an active player in the public consultation which was appreciated.

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