To kick start its pilot activities at the national level the Slovak pilot partners co-organized a he recent joint national conference “More Attractive Rural Areas”. It was, held on 16 April 2024 in the rural mountainous areas of the central Slovakia. I, showcased innovative strategies for rural development were showcased, with a spotlight on Tthe first Slovak Vision for more attractive rural areas by 2040.

The Vision was developed in Polirural project using the mission oriented foresight in the years 2019-2022 and involved over 1000 stakeholders in 15 co-design stages. It strives for constitutional and administrative reform to benefit rural areas and was developed in parallel with the EU`s Long term vision for rural areas.

Inventory of existing methods and tools used in the design of CAP Strategic pPlans.

was presented at the national conference “More Attractive Rural Areas” Cco-organizsed by the PoliruralPlus partners, the Slovak University of Agriculture and Rural Youth Parliament, along with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Rural Parliament in Slovakia, and the Slovak Association for Rural Ttourism and Agritourism, the conference brought together over 60 participants, including students from specialized high schools in viti-viniculture and hotel management. on 16 April 2024 in the rural mountainous areas of the central Slovakia.

The conference was opened by thecommenced with an opening speech by Mr Stefan Kuffa, of the state secretary of the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Rrepublic. Mr Kuffa Mr Stefan Kuffa who highlighted the important role of agroforestry and underscored the need to simplify administrative burdens in support mechanisms. This is one of the aspects that PoliruralPlus will further develop the Vision document.

Among the highlights were updates on activities within Rural Pact as well as progress made since the termination of Polirural project in September 2022. Vision document as the output from Polirural project was an input into further consultation processes organized in the form of joint conferences with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (3 took place in 2023 covering all three main regions of Slovakia). This conference was its 4th continuation and the next one is planned for May. Serving also as contribution to the EU Rural Pact, they called mainly for braking the silos. Under the leadership of the Ministry there are on-going consultations with all Ministries having an impact on rural areas to explore the ways how to work better together and increase the cooperation.

A high-level round table set the stage for a collaborative discourse on amplifying the rural voice, empowering rural areas and its inhabitants, breaking down silos, and fostering a unified vision for more attractive rural areas by 2040 to address unprecedented crises and challenges effectively. Distinguished panellists included representatives from the Ministry of Environment, the plenipotentiary of the Office of the Government for Civil Society Development, director of Banska Bystrica Development Agency, Vice-President of the Association of Slovak Municipalities and Cities, president of Young Farmers Association, president of Rural Parliament in Slovakia, director of state company Forests of Slovakia and representative of Slovak Association of Rural Tourism and Agritourism.

Subsequently, the discussions were broadened to include all participants using the tool Rural Café, fostering inclusivity and diversity of perspectives. Participants were divided into 6 smaller groups, each assigned specific questions to deliberate upon, and with rotations ensuring that diverse viewpoints were heard and documented.

The outcomes of these discussions were presented in a plenary session, culminating in a summary report that captured the collective insights and aspirations for more attractive rural areas by 2040. It served as the first brainstorming with stakeholders on the proposals how to structure the pilot in the new project and brought some valuable new ideas and inputs.

High Level Panel discussion Plenary session of the conference Rural cafe Presentation outcomes of discussions