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Conference: The Revitalisation and Resilience of Rural Areas

Climate change
13 Feb 2024
Clock 10 : 00 - 15 : 00 CET
Location Hybrid | Kalavryta, Greece
By Project Down to Earth
Thematic Conference Western Greece

University of Patras organised the First Down to Earth Thematic Conference in Western Greece, to discuss the Theme of Year 1: Environmental risks related with depopulation and ageing population in rural areas.

On the topic of "Revitalisation and Resilience of Rural Areas facing challenges of depopulation and climate risks", it took place in Kalavryta in the Region of Western Greece, on the 13th of February 2024 at 10:00.


The conference focused on following key themes:

  • Policies for rural revitalization
  • Legal instruments and tools to address depopulation and risks related to climate change
  • Natural resources management for forests, and protected areas
  • Land use management practices such as land banks
  • Best practice examples of regional projects

Mr. Theodoros Skylakakis, Greek Minister for the Environment and Energy, emphasized the need for action in the face of climate change-induced challenges, such as wildfires and water supply disruptions in the country. The government's efforts include substantial resource allocation for fire prevention zones and reforms in forest management laws to enhance resilience and promote biomass valorization for energy needs.

Representatives from regional and local authorities highlighted the comprehensive approaches undertaken to revitalize rural areas. Strategies include leveraging EU funds to support farmers, promoting alternative forms of tourism, embracing renewable energy, and developing multifunctional approaches for sustainability. Moreover, the conference addressed specific challenges faced by mountain municipalities, advocating for comprehensive public policy frameworks and local plans to combat demographic decline and unemployment.

The first Thematic Conference was also the occasion for Down to Earth Partners to present their initial results based on the first Thematic Report. Partners identified around 100 initiatives across various fields, with 12 identified as good practices.

Key lessons learned include the importance of strategic planning for basic services, integrating primary productive sectors with sustainability initiatives, promoting multifunctionality, considering ecosystem services in decision-making, valuing cultural and leisure initiatives, and prioritizing training and knowledge transfer for enhanced public policies. Additionally, the report emphasizes the significance of technology, entrepreneurship, urban-rural linkages, and addressing population flows and migrant integration.

The conference served as a platform to exchange insights and formulate recommendations aimed at addressing environmental risks and fostering sustainable development in rural Greece and discussed the relevant of the issues for all European rural areas.

Collaborative efforts at national, regional, and local levels are imperative to effectively tackle the challenges ahead and ensure the well-being of rural communities!