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.

10 key driversThe Conferece adopted the Edinburgh Policy Statement on Enhancing Rural Innovation which was shaped by delegates of the OECD Working Party on Rural Policy and Ministers and high-level officials present at the event. The Statement stresses the need for rural policies to adapt to the changing conditions of the 21st century in order to boost rural economies and improve wellbeing of rural dwellers. It also highlights the importance of defining rural development beyond agriculture, recognising that rurality is not synonymous with decline, and adopting rural policies that leverage regional assets rather than pursuing a compensatory approach. The Statement recognizes the value of further strengthening OECD comparable data on rural areas and welcomed the current work done at the OECD to develop principles for a robust rural policy.

For more information on the conference outcomes please visit the conference webpage http://www.oecd.org/rural/rural-development-conference/resources/

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