Rural areas are home to one-quarter of the population of OECD countries. They provide vital food, energy, and environmental resources that are crucial to the prosperity of urban and rural dwellers alike. They are a growing source of manufacturing and service-sector production. They provide employment and have quality of life attributes that are increasingly valued by citizens.
We need to adopt a rural focus because these areas also face specific challenges. Rural regions are consistently over-represented among the best-performing regions in the OECD on a range of socio-economic indicators, but they are also over-represented among the worst-performing.
Rural regions are diverse and highly influenced by their specific natural environments.
Their development path is substantially different from standard urban models.
The success or weakness of rural regions is more affected by changes in economic conditions than urban areas.
Rural regions employ different development models adapted to reflect specific features of having a low density of population and economic activity.
This variability calls for different definitions of rural:
REDEFINING RURAL - NEW DEFINITIONS
rural areas inside functional urban areas
rural areas adjacent to functional urban areas
rural areas that are far from functional urban areas / remote
DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS DEPEND ON THE DEFINITION OF RURAL
Rural regions close to cities:
are more dynamic than rural remote regions
are more resilient, displaying an economic performance similar to urban regions.
registered an average annual productivity growth of 2.15% (2000-07) - higher than any other type of region.
Productivity growth in rural regions was mostly accompanied by employment growth. (2000-07)
2/3 rural regions recorded positive employment growth (2000-07)
Since 2008, this pattern has been difficult to maintain
Rural remote regions:
Are particularly vulnerable to global shocks.
Post 2008, their average productivity declined by 0.61% per annum over the period 2008-12
RURAL POLICY 3.0
Rural development policies need an upgrade to "Rural Policy 3.0". Progress has been made to move rural development approaches beyond farm supports to also recognise the diversity of rural regions and the importance of connectivity to dynamic areas.
Rural Policy 3.0 puts the focus on enhancing communities’ competitive advantages, through integrated investments and appropriate local services, and by encouraging local participation and bottom-up development.
The main objective of rural policy should be to increase rural competitiveness and productivity in order to enhance the social, economic and environmental well-being of rural areas.
Policies should focus on enhancing competitive advantages in rural communities
Policies should draw on integrated investments and the delivery of services that are adapted to the needs of the different types of rural areas
Promotes a partnership-driven approach that builds capacity at the local level to encourage participation and bottom-up development.