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Start date: Dec 31, 2009, End date: Dec 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Ruraland is the result of a high level of understanding between a series of European regions which have a long-standing tradition in cooperation between each other and with other territories. Ruraland was set up after various meetings with different entities sharing the wish to promote innovative and competitive regional rural development policies. The partnership is made up by 10 regional authorities at a Nuts II level or equivalent, from 9 countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Sweden), which, as a group, make up a very balanced representation of the current EUBehind this link between the regions, (the desire to promote said policies), the project main objective could not be any other than reinforce efficiency and innovation in regional rural development policies which have the economic diversification of the rural areas as their objective by means of regional cooperation as a means towards reaching a greater degree of cohesion & balancebetween the European regions.In order to reach this objective, a methodological base has been defined, which, apart from including the activities that are traditionally carried out in cooperation processes (seminars, studies, web site, etc.), include activities and tasks related to the transfer of experiences in 4 key areas in rural development: Economic competitiveness, new technology and renewable energy; new employment, ITCs and services to the population; natural and cultural economic valorisation. The good practices will be transferred reinforcing the network established by the project, as one same experience will be transferred by various partners at the same time, always guaranteeing trans-nationalityIn addition, activities addressed to the carrying out of a reflection and agreement task that contribute to the direct influence on the rural development regional policies by means of the drafting of regional policy recommendations and a Joint European Policy Recommendationare contemplated. The result of these activities will generate outputs such as thematic seminars, database for capitalised good practices, visits to the territories in order to see the experiences in situ, feasibility studies to assess and adapt the experience to the territory receiving them, publications with conclusions and results in each one of the thematic areas, a final publication, and policy recommendations for rural development policies of the participant regions. Regarding the results produced, the exchange of experiences will become a permanent acquisition for the regions as a whole, these results being immaterial and collective given their nature. The result of the reflection work will strengthen the dialogue and agreement capacity of the authorities from the regions, as well as the relationships between the regions in the future. The publications, publicity and material published will be permanent and will stimulate the dissemination of the results in the long term Achievements: Ruraland is a cooperation project in rural development issues carried out by 10 European regions. The partners decided to work together with the main objective of contributing to the innovation of regional rural development policies and to achieve the economic diversification of rural areas.During the first semester, 57 good practices were identified on the territories of the partners. From these, a total of 20 good practices have been exported which have represented 46 transfers and 26 Action Plans finalised.To start with the process of transfer, 2 Fact Sheets were made for each GP. In the 1st, there is a description of the good practice; in the 2nd, an assessment of the transferability.Once the GP chosen by partners, a calendar was set up in order to organise the site visits that have taken place during the 2nd and 3rd semesters.A brief description of the methodology for the transfer: each importing region must organise a preparatory meeting with the stakeholders, agents,technicians or external experts of their territory that would participate on the process of importation in order to prepare the visit: study the contents of the Fact Sheets, prepare key questions that may help to understand the GP and, most of all, contribute to the final transfer on their territory. These key questions were sent to the exporting partner in order to be answered during the visit. They also help the exporting region to better understand the expectations and needs of the importing regions.Concerning the visits, a common framework was defined: the agenda should include at least 1/2 day of concrete on-site theorical presentation of the GP, 1/2 day with practical training and meetings with different stakeholders involved and, finally, at least 1h30 for final conclusions and brainstorming with operational discussions targeted to the transferability issues, analysis of possible adaptation of the GP in the context of the importing region.All visits were evaluated both regarding the quality of their contents (1 evaluation form for each importing region) as well as the quality of the practical organisation (with an individual questionnaire). A total of 20 good practices from all partners regions have been visited during 2nd and 3rd semesters, resulting into 45 exchanges and 28 Action Plans confirmed and launched during the 4th semester .Besides the exchange of experiences work, Ruraland partnership has concentrated its efforts during the 4th semester in the elaboration of Strategic Recommendations to Rural Development European Policies. This represents one of the major outputs of Ruraland project and have signified an important collective work and networking, which has involved all partners in the project regions. Actually, the obtention of the PR was scheduled for the 5th semester, but taking into account the key moment of discussions in the EU regarding the future of the European Rural Development Policies, the partnership decided during the 4th Steering Meeting to advance the work in order to disseminate the results during the 5th semester. To obtain them, partners have met in total 3 times: one preparatory meeting btween the LP and the regions organising the intermediate workshops (P03 and P08), and P02 as the responsible of C3, where the strategic recommendations are framed. The 1st Workshop took place in Corsica (P08) in october, and the 2nd in Wallonie in november 2011; in the 1st WS partners defined a participatory methodology that considered the participation of all partners in all stages of the work. Also, as a result of this 1st workshop, a draft version of 10 strategic recommendations for improving public policies relating to rural development were formulated. These recommendations are inspired in the good practices exchanged in Ruraland and the experience of the 10 regions with competences in rural development. In the 2nd WS, the 10 recommendations were discussed and agreed and reducted finally into 8.

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