On 14th-16th September 2022 the PoliRural partners took part in the conference “Cooperation and experience of science in support of policies for rural development” organised in Mielno (Poland) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the European Rural Development Network (ERDN). The conference was attended by the ERDN members and sympathisers, rural researchers and practitioners representing Poland, Italy, Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Turkey, the UK, Kosovo, Moldova and Ukraine.

The aim of the conference was to exchange methodological experiences and research results as well as to integrate the different approaches to rural systems in European countries. The conference speakers addressed the most current issues that affect social, economic and environmental development in rural areas in Europe. Special attention was given to visions for rural and agricultural development in the face of the challenges of climate and demographic change, green transformation of the countryside and agriculture, as well as alternative and innovative activities in rural areas.

The conference was an opportunity to summarise and discuss the main achievements of the PoliRural project, and to present the unique tools developed as part of the project, including Semex, System Dynamic Modelling and STEEPV Inventory of Drivers of Change, show best practices we collected, but also the results of PoliRural deep dives’ exercises related to the most current global challenges.

The members of both pilots introduced the specifics of Mazowieckie (Poland) and Apulia (Italy) regions, related lessons learned during the project and presented technical and foresight tools intended to use after the project. The examples from Poland and Italy were of great interest as possibilities to support the planning of future development at regional and local level in other EU countries, but also found very useful as a general support to rural planning in the Candidate and non-EU countries.

The meeting was a good summary of the project, but also a fine example of the increasing cooperation between the actors forming the pilot regions under the PoliRural project.

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