On 8th June 2022 took place the closing national conference of the Slovak pilot in the heart of the country, in Low Tatras mountainous region, under the title “Let’s unite ourselves for the rural areas – Vision for a more attractive rural areas”. Conclusions in Slovak are available here.

The Vision document for increasing the attractiveness of rural areas in Slovakia until 2040 was shaped over three years in a very complex and participatory foresight process within which the definition of rural attractiveness is gradually being developed. The Zero Draft was endorsed by stakeholders and actors at the national Conference in Nitra in December 2021. Since then, four rounds of physical consultations with stakeholders took place. All the comments gathered will now be included in the new Frist Draft version of the Vision document.

The whole process of Vision development kickstarted in September 2020 in the Slovak National Parliament and the outcome of it will be presented again to the parliamentarians in October this year. Right from the beginning, the intention was to enshrine the Vision into the Rural Doctrine in the form of the constitutional law in order to ensure long-term stability, continuity, clarity and a clear strategic direction of the Slovak rural areas, agriculture and the rural economy, and to prepare the fertile ground for a sustainable future for all.

Besides constitutional reform, governance reform also needs to be undertaken hand in hand, in parallel. This is part of the Action plan developed for the implementation of the Vision.

The Monitoring Committee was officially established and the first members were nominated at the June Conference, including one of the former ministers of agriculture. It will start its proceedings in September this year. This could substantially support policymakers and contribute to avoiding constant changes of priorities by each new government and thus maintain the overall strategic direction of agriculture and rural areas in the long term.

Several case studies from different regions were featured. Rural regions have a major impact on addressing current challenges and can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the European Green Deal by responding to climate change, biodiversity loss and decline; providing measures related to mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, habitats and economic opportunities through sustainable production of food and energy from renewable sources.

In addition to these unique challenges, this period also represents a unique opportunity to reassess current systems and re-orient them towards sustainability and resilience to future possible shocks and shocks.

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