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Junta's first rural development strategy to tackle major challenge of depopulation in parts of the region
Rural development

Junta's first rural development strategy to tackle major challenge of depopulation in parts of the region

According data from the regional institute of statistics, only 11.5% of the population lives in the rural areas of Andalucía, a figure that has been decreasing in recent years in favour of cities, metropolitan areas and large towns towns

José Luis Piedra

Seville

Friday, 29 March 2024, 08:21

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The Andalucía region in the south of Spain is to have its first rural development strategy', which will address the challenges of depopulation and making progress with digitisation, among other issues. It will also help with the promotion of actions taken by any organisations, institutions, groups, agents and socially-conscious individuals capable of influencing the rural world. The strategy, recently approved by Junta regional government, has the year 2030 as its target to have everything in place. The strategy is a roadmap for regional policies across this area, also meeting the objectives set by the European Union to create stronger rural areas.

According to the regional ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, this planning will also focus attention on key groups for the future of the rural environment, such as young people and women, as well as continuing the fight against energy poverty. In the case of young people, the aim is to get this group into work programmes and to receive specific training and even retraining.

With regard to women, the aim will be to broaden their employment and training opportunities, as well as to develop measures to find a work-life balance within their chosen profession and family commitments. Both young people and women are fundamental to keeping rural areas populated and thus avoiding a mass exodus from the countryside.

The strategy also plans to promote investment in digital infrastructure to close the current digital divide between rural and urban areas, and to promote training in this domain among the rural population. It will also help to promote food security based mainly on the consumption of local and organically-produced products.

The department headed by Carmen Crespo will open a participatory consultation process to incorporate the best available knowledge and the best proposals through various working groups, encouraging public-private collaboration as this develops.

It also aims to design projects and actions to be included in community policies in order to find lines of financing for their implementation with the objective of promoting environmentally- and socially-sustainable, economic development.

The role of the rural world is key in Andalucía because 528 municipalities have less than 5,000 inhabitants, a figure that represents 67% of the 785 existing localities in the region. In total, more than 900,000 inhabitants live in these municipalities, which represents 10.63% of the total population in this region. The lands they occupy also exceed 50% of the total surface area of Andalucía. According to data from the regional institute of statistics, only 11.5% of the population lives in the rural areas of Andalucía, a figure that has been decreasing in recent years in favour of cities, metropolitan areas and large towns.

This strategy aims to bring together various strands of work already included in different plans implemented by the Junta that relate to development in this area, as well as taking on board a sense of the European Rural Pact recently signed in Brussels.

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