European Commission Countryside Exchange Bottom-up impulse for Rural Development Aly Wisse, Netherlands
Countryside Exchange • Countryside Exchange : a method that fits LEADER principles • preparation, bottom-up lead question, international team recruited, 1 week visit, advice, publicity, follow-up serves a double aim: • stimulates social dynamics with the people involved - in - and also outside - the hosting area • offers the visiting team of experts an interesting learning experience • since 1987 more then 100 exchanges have taken place in UK and USA
First Countryside Exchange in NL Why in the Netherlands? • to find out, if Countryside Exchange could have an added value in the Dutch setting of RD • to test a bilingual exchange (english + dutch) Try out in Noord-Beveland: ‘island’ a municipality of 7000 habitants 6000 hectares of agriculture land a lot of tourist accommodation in the South-West of the Netherlands The initiator: Societeit Noord-Beveland is ...(bottom-up)
Key steps of an Exchange • Local Organising Committee (LOC) takes the lead • meetings to involve the Noord-Beveland community • formulate “the assignment” for the international experts • prepare the Exchange week program for 5 - 12 September • The international Expert Team is recruited and selected by ETC • partners in the UK (CEI) and the USA (Glynwood) • the CE team Noord-Beveland : 2 Americans, 3 British, 3 Dutch • who had not met before and had an exciting learning process • LOC hosts the team and guides the whole week visit • Thursday the team presented advise to the islands’ community • and visitors incl. the Min of Agriculture + the Provincial Governor • Saturday the team writes its draft report and leaves home • Local organisers (+ ETC) prepare the action plan for follow up
The core question in Noord-Beveland How to give an impulse to the economic development of the island (improve quality of life in the rural communities) while using and improving the existing qualities of the specific nature, landscape and scenery? • Our experience : a Countryside Exchange can give an impulse to the development of an area in many ways
Five working groups were formed for immediate follow-up 1.joint marketing of the island on a much larger scale. logo ... • 2.set up farmer markets with regional products • Agrifair a region product market in June 2 days and 9 Thursdays in the summer. 3000 visitors in 2005. www.agrifairzeeland.com • 3. direct cooperation province + municipalities + civil org’s • by this cooperation more subsidies (of Leader+) to the area • 4. National Park Oosterschelde + island entrepreneurs • the foundation Promotion Colijnsplaat-Kats has been set up • sea boat trips with robot camera, diving courses with education, guided tour in the fish auction, special routes for bicycle or ferryboat • 5. season lengthening for more tourists • Internet application which workshops and hotel- and camping accommodation
Our Exchange was successful!! • The Countryside Exchange was good for Noord-Beveland, useful and brought us a lot of new cooperation bonds • The group which organised everything, the LOC, is still active in the area and it has been involved in a lot of new initiatives • Many impulses for economic development have started. • The “helicopterview“ of new people is good for a region • The position of Societeit Noord-Beveland was strengthened
Countryside Exchange for Transnational Cooperation • to overcome bottlenecks in Transnat. Coop. • to give an impulse to make quality first priority of area program In start-up phase • to get wide international advice on key issues for cooperation • to select best partner(s) for cooperation project Or Mid-term advice on lead question • to monitor with fresh eyes • to re-orient program and activities • to initiate unexpected projects Potential quality impulse for mainstreaming Leader ...?