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Successful Conference on Europe's Multi-Purpose Countryside
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RISE Conference on Europe’s Multi-Purpose Countryside

June 22nd 2015

EU Pavilion – EXPO Milano

P1060208On the 22nd June, the RISE Foundation held a Conference on Europe’s Multi-Purpose Countryside in the EU Pavilion at the EXPO Milan. 

The event was the first of two events prepared upon request of the European Commission’s EXPO Scientific Steering Committee whose aim is to generate discussion on key topics around the EXPO’s theme: ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’

The thinking behind the conference was to discuss the different ways by which the diversification of rural activities can help land managers to invest and support the environment.  One of the greatest challenges of our time is to incentivise the more careful management of our biodiversity and the ecosystems it provides, especially in areas where there is limited capacity for profitable farming. Therefore RISE sought through the conference to exemplify the environmental care role of rural land managers in both the intensive food producing areas as well as the more marginal remote regions and in doing so, highlight examples which demonstrate how jobs and incomes can be generated through environmental care programmes, rural tourism and recreation.

PanelThe day was one of lively and animated debate amongst the speakers and the audience and the interaction between all of those attending, who were clearly passionate about the issues, added real depth to the subject.  The conference was opened by Dr Janez Potocnik, former European Commissioner for the Environment, and since April this year, the new RISE Chairman.  Dame Helen Ghosh, CEO of the National Trust, one of the world’s largest membership organisations, gave a holistic overview of how the Trust combines productive, sustainable farming and access for the public.  She argued that if we are to develop a workable support for rural areas, we need to educate and communicate about the importance of nature for society – a theme than ran throughout the sessions which all addressed both the policy and practical implementation sides of the issues: rural environmental management, rural recreation and tourism and local regional and traditional foods.

PotocnikThe results of the conference will be fed back to the EU EXPO Scientific Steering Committee who will integrate the discussions into a recommendations report to support decision makers on future priorities for research and development and innovation in the food and agricultural sector. Ultimately, these recommendations will serve as a major contribution to the EU legacy of Expo 2015 as it guides its future policy actions.  

A copy of the conference programme is available here.

 

The presentations of the three main opening speakers are available below:

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