Regional development

Rural Development


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The issues

Rural regions in OECD countries are important economically and demographically. They account for about 75% of the land and almost a quarter of the population in OECD countries. Gains in agricultural productivity have led to a dramatic reduction in farm employment, rural regions across the OECD now depend on a wide range of economic activities for growth.

Increasing globalisation, improved communications and reduced transportation costs are also drivers of economic change in rural areas. However, traditional policies to subsidise farming have not been able to harness the potential of these economic engines.

Promoting rural development poses numerous policy and governance challenges because it requires co-ordination across sectors, across levels of government, and between public and private actors. Several countries are therefore shifting their approaches to a focus on places rather than sectors and an emphasis on investments rather than subsidies.



Reinventing Rural Policy



The OECD’s Working Party on Rural Policy (WPRUR) discusses ways to develop a modern, rural development policy to account for these important economic changes and a new strategy for governance that these policy approaches require. OECD work on rural development has led to a number of thematic publications, case studies and, from 2006, a series of national rural policy reviews to deepen international knowledge in this field. It has also led to a series of OECD Rural Development conferences and workshops where policy makers from around the world gather to discuss rural policy. 


Rural events


RURBAN events

Past events



National Prosperity through Modern Rural Policy: Competitiveness and well-being in rural regions, Memphis, Tennessee, United States, 19-21 May 2015



Workshop: The Governance of Land Use Policies in OECD Countries

15-16 May, 2014, Prague, Czech Republic

Rural-Urban Partnerships: an integrated approach to economic development

23-25 October 2013, Bologna, Italy

Innovation and Modernising the Rural Economy

3-5 October 2012, Krasnoyarsk, Russia

2nd European seminar on sustainable urban rural partnerships

24-25 April 2013, Warsaw, Poland

Linking Renewable Energy to Rural Development Policy

14-15 June 2012, Paris, France


Understanding Growth in Different Types of Regions

26-27 March 2012, Newcastle, United Kingdom


Remarks by Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD at high-level event on a new rural development paradigm and the inclusive and sustainable new communities model in New York, 26 September 2015.


The complete list of past conferences on rural development can be found on our conferences on regional development web page.


Key messages from Rural Development Conferences

 Policy brief


 Governance of Land Use in OECD countries

Linking Renewable Energy to Rural Development


The Governance of Land Use in OECD Countries



Rural Policy Reviews

OECD Rural Policy Reviews: Chile 2014

Modernising the rural economy

Rural-Urban Partnerships

Rural Policy Reviews: Chile

Innovation and Modernising the Rural Economy

Rural-Urban Partnerships:
An Integrated Approach to Economic Development



Rural Publications

The full list of publications on rural development can be found at the publications on regional development web page. 


Contact us

For information and queries about OECD work on Rural Development Policy please contact Follow us on :