Cork 2.0: A new declaration on the future of EU rural development and agricultural policy
On 5-6 September 2016 more than 300 stakeholder-, EU- and Member State representatives gathered in Cork, Ireland for the second European Conference on Rural Development. Exactly 20 years after the first Cork conference, Cork 2.0 was organised under the auspices of Commissioner Phil Hogan and concluded with the adoption of the second Cork declaration.

The Conference was aimed at bringing together stakeholders to discuss current and future challenges of farming and rural areas, as well as potential policy responses - with a view to draft a new Cork Declaration.

The Cork 2.0 Declaration for “a better life in rural areas” sets out 10 points with a view to ensure a sustainable and economically viable future for rural areas:

1.     Promoting rural prosperity
2.     Strengthening rural value chains
3.     Investing in rural viability and vitality
4.     Preserving the rural environment
5.     Managing natural resources
6.     Encouraging climate action
7.     Boosting knowledge and innovation
8.     Enhancing rural governance
9.     Advancing policy delivery and simplification
10.  Improving performance and accountability

CEPF Secretary General Emma Berglund participated in the conference, as a representative of the millions of private forest owners who are a vital part of EU’s rural areas and indispensable for achieving the targets of the Declaration.

The Declaration highlights the importance of agriculture and forestry as engines of rural growth, and the need for investments in rural infrastructures and businesses. It also focuses on the need for simplified policies and reduced red tape.

A new element of the declaration, compared to the one from 20 years ago, is the recognition of agriculture and forestry as key for fighting climate change, especially through carbon sequestration and the delivery of sustainable renewable energy and bio-materials.

Commissioner Phil Hogan concluded that “a new Cork Declaration can raise awareness for empowering rural areas and make people understand that a sustainable urban development depends on the prosperity of rural areas.”

For more information, please see the conference website