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A Multi-Actor Framework for promoting new directions in agri-environmental governance in rural areas in the EU

Authors: Gerald Schwarz*, Thuenen Institute of Farm Economics, David Miller, James Hutton Institute , George Vlahos, Agricultural University of Athens, Kate Irvine, James Hutton Institute, Alexandra Smyrniotopoulou, Agricultural University of Athens, Johannes Carolus, Thuenen Institute of Farm Economics
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Rural Geography, Environment
Keywords: agri-environmental governance, multi-actor approach, rural development, farming
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2020
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual Track 9
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


There is an increasing acknowledgment that the complex sustainability challenges linked to farming need to be addressed by new modes of agri-environmental governance (AEG). Such new arrangements should be based on participatory governance and collaborative management networks that may enable to integrate different sources of knowledge and competences, as well as fostering collective learning amongst farmers and wider rural actors. Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) provide a mechanism to take into account local conditions and the needs, knowledge and initiative of rural actors including farmers, local policy-makers and civil society actors in AEG and in the development of strategies and policy recommendations promoting agroecological transitions to increase the sustainability of farming. The EU-wide projects ‘Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors’ (SHERPA) and ‘Understanding and Improving the Sustainability of Agro-Ecological Farming Systems in the EU’ (UNISECO) aim to co-construct new governance approaches for public good provision and rural development. The process of co-construction uses the transdisciplinary Multi-Actor Approach adopted by the EU agricultural research and innovation strategy. These MAPs are designed to enable ongoing involvement of actors at European and local levels and a two-way exchange of ideas for co-learning and co-creation of knowledge. The paper presents experiences and results from case studies in Germany, Greece, and Scotland, analyses the social dynamics in the Multi-Actor Platforms and discusses recommendations for future agri-environmental governance.
Acknowledgements: The projects SHERPA and UNISECO have received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements 862448 and 773901.

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