What is RISE?
The Rural Investment Support for Europe (RISE) Foundation is an independent foundation which works to support a sustainable and internationally competitive rural economy across Europe, working to find ways to preserve the European countryside, its environment and biodiversity, and its cultural heritage and traditions.
The RISE Foundation works as a think tank, bringing together experts across Europe to develop projects which aim to support stakeholders to create a more sustainable yet productive European agriculture. The Foundation produces high quality research reports with key targeted recommendations, provides a platform for debate on issues that affect rural communities and highlights innovative practises developed at the farm level.
The work of RISE is ever more important today as the world is confronted with the challenges of growing food insecurity, notably, the continuing population and economic growth in the face of scarcities of agricultural land and water and dangers posed by climate change, agricultural pollution and biodiversity loss.
The Foundation holds the unique position of working at a European level, based in Brussels, close to the European policy makers, yet has direct access extensive networks of land mangers so ensuring that the work is always grounded in the reality of applying change at the grassroots level.
RISE is supported in its work by the RISE Advisory Committee and its member organisations.
How was RISE born?
Keen to promote rural development and improve the rural environment, and worried about the future prospects of continued depopulation and dwindling public support for rural areas, former Agricultural Commissioner Franz Fischler and his former Chief of Staff Corrado Pirzio-Biroli set up the Rural Investment Support for Europe Foundation - in short RISE - with the support of the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO) and the Friends of the Countryside (FCS). Together, they all endorsed the International Charter for Rural Conservation and Renewal (“The Rural Charter”), drafted by Dr Pirzio-Biroli. The primary aim of this charter is to support initiatives undertaken and directed by private investors aimed at preserving and enhancing the countryside and the living conditions of the rural communities.
RISE was thus created to implement the goals laid down in the Rural Charter. It is a non-profit Public Utility Foundation established by notary deed on 10 July, 2006 (pursuant to Title II of the Belgian law of 27 June 1921). Articles of Incorporation (PDF). .
Why this initiative?
The overexploitation of natural resources, urbanisation and globalisation constitute a very serious threat to food and environmental security, and to the physical integrity of the countryside and rural communities. This is aggravated by two factors: firstly, public budgets are under stress and tend to neglect rural development, Secondly, rural actors are increasingly marginalised from the public decision-making process. Fostering rural communities needs to rely on more private initiatives, appropriate market mechanisms and incentives, and adequate financing.
In the beginning, RISE has primarily focused on policy and think tank work. However, the connection between RISE policy and project work has been growing. Therefore, RISE aims to make a difference by investing in pilot projects which bring innovative solutions to a variety of rural development and agri-environment issues. We believe the best way to create legitimacy and impact in a policy area is to use concrete experience from the field which can create visibility and act as innovative drivers for later policy changes.