The influence of the work of Rural Policy working groups of the OECD on the national and international discourse: Guest post by Thomas Dax

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Rural development, the focus of the OECD Working Party on Rural Policy, emerged as an increasingly influential policy field as soon as the majority of “rural” spaces had lost their economic dependence on land management, and the predominant focus on agricultural activities started to recede in the 1980s. While the features of agricultural structures and patterns of economic activity evolved very differently for different regions, from a historical perspective we can observe intensified debates on rural spaces and the need for a ‘genuine’ rural policy throughout OECD countries (and beyond).With continuous shifts in land management, appreciation of the main features of the economy of rural areas and a rising concern for securing environmental benefits and other public goods from appropriate socio-ecological systems gained attention.
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Linking Indigenous communities with regional development: summary reflections from the second mission to Canada

Mississauga's of New Credit First Nation

This is a summary reflection note from the OECD’s mission to Canada in September. We are providing these notes to support knowledge-sharing and learning between countries on Indigenous economic development.

During the mission we engaged with Indigenous communities in Ontario and Nunavut. The mission again reinforced the importance of place as a lens to understanding Indigenous economic development. We observed very different conditions for Indigenous communities between those close to metropolitan areas, and those in remote areas. As a result, very different policy responses Continue reading “Linking Indigenous communities with regional development: summary reflections from the second mission to Canada”

Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development, mission to New York, USA

720641GAam2017On 16-17 April, Chris McDonald (OECD analyst on the Regional and Rural Policy team) had the opportunity to participate in the 17th meeting of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and participate in a side-event on the Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development Project (LICRD) with the Sami Parliament of Sweden. The Permanent Forum was established the key coordinating mechanism for matters related to Indigenous peoples. The 17th Permanent Forum focused on the theme of “Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories, and resources”. Continue reading “Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development, mission to New York, USA”

OECD Mining Regions and Cities – mission to Alaska, USA

The regional and rural team is now implementing a project for regions and cities which are specialised in mining and extractive industries–this work emerged from an event held in October 2017 in Antofagasta. The project is guided by 3 objectives

  1. Provide a framework for the OECD, the mining industry, national and sub-national governments, and non-government organisations to cooperate on addressing shared challenges related to mining, extractive industries and regional development.
  2. Produce a series of publications that deliver regional specific recommendations and implementation support, and a global tool-kit (benchmarking and guidance, indicators and data, and best practices) to support the implementation of better regional development policies in a mining and extractives context across countries.
  3. Develop a global platform for mining regions and cities through events and peer-review that enable knowledge sharing, advocacy and dialogue between public/private sectors and local communities on better policies to enhance regional productivity and wellbeing.

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How one Polish town delivers high quality of life and a competitive business climate—learning from Środa Wielkopolska

Image result for środa wielkopolska mapaThe town of Środa Wielkopolska in central Poland has had a remarkable turnaround. With poor infrastructure, a weak economy and high unemployment in the early 1990s, it’s now a place that delivers high quality of life for its residents and a competitive business climate. There’s a free public transport system that links surrounding rural areas to the town; all families have access to low-cost child care; attractive public spaces and bike lanes are a draw; businesses have grown and so has the population—from around 22 000 inhabitants in 2009 to 31 000 in 2016.

So what’s the secret? How has the town managed to delivery high quality of life and attract businesses—a standout among its peers? Continue reading “How one Polish town delivers high quality of life and a competitive business climate—learning from Środa Wielkopolska”

Technology, innovation and rural futures– The 11th OECD Rural Conference

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A machine component in a food processing plant in eastern Poland breaks down and is quickly fixed thanks to 3D printing of a new part…

A remote Canadian community in Newfoundland keeps the lights on with its decentralised energy system…

Thanks to remote diagnosis technologies, a resident of Okinawa, Japan gains quick piece of mind that their medical condition has stabilised…

These are some examples of how new and emerging technologies are changing rural lives. From innovations in transportation—like driverless cars—to the potential of robotics to help the elderly age in place in their communities, technologies are breaking down the barriers of distance and remoteness in new and exciting ways. The potentials are thrilling to imagine and they’ll test rural policies to adapt to changing circumstances and needs. The 11th OECD Rural Conference — Enhancing Rural Innovation — identified 10 key drivers of rural change that are likely to characterise the 21st century and shape how rural areas can succeed in a more complex, dynamic and challenging environment. Continue reading “Technology, innovation and rural futures– The 11th OECD Rural Conference”

Going digital—what’s next and what’s new

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Contrary to common expectations, the rural-urban digital divide in terms of basic Internet access the OECD is not large, with the exception of a few countries such as Mexico and Turkey. Reducing the urban-rural digital coverage gap has been a policy priority of many OECD countries in recent years, with many setting national targets to meet this objective. Many countries are now looking to enhance connectivity to other areas of economy and society that are “going digital.” For instance, Canada, the United Kingdom, and European Union refer to railways, highways and roads in their connectivity plans. Many feel vulnerable while travelling without any coverage and so expanding coverage to these areas also a matter of emergency and security on roads. Other areas where enhanced connectivity are important are  anchor institutions, such as schools and hospitals, which often require more intense capacity in terms of bandwidth and reliability, given the sensitivity of the activities performed (such as telemedicine) and the number of users serviced.

Going forward, rural users will have a more prominent role to play as data producers. A central question is how to match the evolving demand for digital services when people are no longer only consumers of data but also producers of data. Forthcoming work by the OECD’s Science and Technology Directorate provides an overview of some of the policy tools, technological trends, and good practices on this matter (including those that may emerge from pilot studies currently ran by digital companies such as Google and Facebook).  You can follow @OECDinnovation for updates.

For more information on this work please contact Lorrayne Porciuncula, Internet economist/policy analyst STI Lorrayne.PORCIUNCULA@oecd.org