On 1 & 2 June 2023, the SHERPA Final Conference took place in Brussels (Belgium), at the premises of the Committee of the Regions. This important event offered an opportunity to analyse the work done within the SHERPA project, identify the main SHERPA recommendations, and reflect on the methodology of using Science-Society-Policy Interfaces.
The 2-day conference gathered together more than 150 people: representatives of the 17 project partners, members of all 41 Science-Society-Policy interfaces, and external participants. Through a co-creative participatory approach, they had the chance to interact with each other directly, give their input in in both SHERPA’s contribution to the EU Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas and its recommendations for the wider policy framework, and explore how the Science-Society-Policy interfaces created in SHERPA can continue to contribute to rural policies after the end of the SHERPA project, which will take place in September 2023.
The SHERPA Final Conference represented an important moment for the future of rural areas in Europe
The Environment & Climate Hub of ALDA had an active role in the conference, with a contribution to the Science-Society-Policy interfaces session. Facilitated by Jorieke Potters, from NordRegio, the session aimed to discuss how to effectively design, support and run Science-Society-Policy interfaces, what are the benefits and added value of these interfaces, and how to sustain them in the long-run. The session also gave space to the experiences of the Multi Actor Platforms initiated in the project.
The session continued with a reflection and a reaction from a representative of Policy — Alexia Rouby (DG AGRI), a representative of Science — Karen Refsgaard (Nordregio) and a representative of Civil Society — Valeria Fantini, who is the coordinator of ALDA’s Environment & Climate Hub. The latter participated in the panel representing the Civil Society perspective and stressed the importance of the connection among the three sectors and the necessity for policymakers to include civil society’s inputs in their decision-making process in order to have a more resilient democracy also in rural areas.
The SHERPA Final Conference demonstrated the great work done by the whole consortium and represented an important moment for the future of rural areas in Europe.