There's something about Christmas time, something about Christmas time that makes you wish it was Christmas everyday….the song from Bryan Adams is played on the radio while we are writing the last Monthly Review of the year. Christmas is mostly about joy and smiles, magic and getting together, love and celebration. We hope that your holiday will be filled with all of this.
As we wrote in Monthly review in November we have asked our new and old member organisations to identify needs of activities within the network that should be prioritised during 2015. With these proposals as a basis the Steering Committee has now decided what to focus on in 2015 and 2016.
The proposals from the member organisations contributed to lively discussions within the Steering Committee. Thanks to a well prepared and structured meeting the Committee agreed upon the following activities
In addition, we will continue with what is set out in the Action Plan, i.e.
Maria Gustafsson, the NSU director, was invited by the Estonian network to participate in the meeting with their Cooperation chamber on December 16. It was a good opportunity to compare the Estonian Rural Development Program (RDP) with the Swedish RDP but also how their National Rural Network (NRN) operates compared to the Swedish NRN.
Compared to the previous programming period Estonia has a much stronger focus on its environmental measures, but compared to Sweden, it is still a lower proportion of the total budget allocated to environmental measures. Another difference between Sweden and Estonia is that Estonia is investing significantly higher proportion of their budget on priority 2 and 5, i.e. the competitiveness of agriculture and the "food supply chain". Unlike Sweden, Estonia also makes a higher degree of investments in forestry, with support from the RDP.
Estonia will not combine funds in the CLLD local development strategies while in Sweden most of the CLLD strategies will involve several funds.
Unlike Sweden, Estonia will introduce the possibility of financial instruments within the RDP.
Swedish Rural Network has much to learn from our Estonian colleagues. The Estonian network work with more campaigns and study visits than we do in Sweden. They will have more focus on lessons learn from projects in previous period and facilitate dialogues between researchers and practitioners.
Unlike the Swedish NRN, there is no Steering Committee for the Estonian NRN. They have neither a formal membership of the organisations.
A major difference between our networks is that the Estonian NRN has not in the same way as in the Swedish NRN worked with a special structure of the thematic working groups.
As in Sweden, the Estonian NRN is going to work with the support of innovations in agriculture and they have already implemented a number of information sessions.
We really appreciate the Estonian invitation and this initiative of exchange of experience.
From all of us to all of you,
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!