LONG-TERM VISION FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND CRITICAL ENABLERS FOR ACHIEVING IT - CASE OF MAZOWIECKIE REGION (POLAND)
Keywords:rural areas, rural development, long-term vision, participatory approach
Rural areas face significant challenges related to climate and demographic changes as well as green transformation of the economy. First step for such a transition is a long-term vision. Within the SHERPA projects multi-actor platforms were created and they discussed the vision for 2040 for their territories. This participatory process included representatives of science, society, and policy. The participants discussed development challenges, vision and enabling factors for achieving the desirable vision. The aim of the paper is to compare the results of the visioning exercise conducted by the Polish platform located in Mazowieckie region with the results of the other ones and the vision prepared by the European Commission. The results show that the characteristics of a desirable future vision are shared throughout the EU and call for vibrant rural communities and rural attractiveness. Improving availability and accessibility of public and private services as well as digitalization and diversification of rural economy accompanied by a sustainable use of natural resources are key elements of vibrance and attractiveness of rural areas. To achieve this vision not only financial support and more efficient public policies are needed but also greater empowerment of local communities is essential.