On 2 September 2022, European Rural Development Network organised the closing meeting with local actors and stakeholders of the Polish pilot in Mazowieckie region. The aim was to summarize the research and activities undertaken in the PoliRural project, discuss the sustainability of the pilot and gather experience from the implementation of the project. Also in terms of collecting useful lessons learned, we could share with other project members at the consortium meeting in Athens a few days later (see here) and as an introduction to the presentation of the project results to the broad international ERDN community, during a conference organised on 14-16 September 2022 (more in the PoliRural Newsletter #14).

The meeting was attended by representatives of local NGOs, community activists, residents (including new entrants), representatives of local authorities, local action groups and entrepreneurs involved in the creation and implementation of the Action Plan for the region.

The discussion focused on how the results obtained could be used in the planning of local activities in the coming years, including ideas for using the project results in the activities of the local action group, as well as how the results of the pilot correspond to the “Development Strategy of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship 2030+”, especially in terms of improving rural attractiveness through the promotion of job creation with adequate pay and with a view to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, eco-firms and sustainable business.

Sharing their general impressions, the meeting participants pointed out the need to preserve the links and networks created, through which many development ideas can be put together, but also, by building on the strength of the community, to influence local development plans so that they better reflect the needs of local communities, take into account the specificities of the area and the rapidly changing external conditions for development, such as climate change, demographic trends, covid-19 and the current war in Ukraine contributing to the current refugee crisis.

This has been an important project helping to stimulate social inclusion in the local planning process, but also creating sustainable networks of local actors, without whom long-term rural and local development cannot be imagined.

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