Sven Schreyer /

The Austrian Rural Network "Netzwerk Zukunftsraum Land"

Principles, aims and mode of operation

Ever since the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 1999, a support programme has been available to the rural areas of Austria which aims to develop an entire spatial category with many of its functional interrelationships. As a result of the content-related breadth of the programme, the circle of players and beneficiaries is very large and includes, for example, people from an agricultural and forestry background, the downstream business in the value chain, environmental protection, energy production, SMEs, and social organisations. In order to help these people benefit from the options provided by the LE 14–20 Programme, the programme will be assisted by a networking centre. While its scope of activity was limited to LEADER in the 2000–2006 period, it was extended to include the entire programme in the 2007–2013 period.

The aims of Netzwerk Zukunftsraum Land:
  • Building awareness for the challenges of rural areas
  • Facilitating new innovative solutions for current and future challenges
  • Wide participation in the implementation of the LE Programme
  • Strengthening the skills needed for programme measure utilisation
  • Reflection of learning experience and continuous improvement of the LE 14–20 Programme

Strategic approaches and networking principles

Innovation creates future!
All our measures and activities are focused on the topic of innovation. We see the other three networking goals, in particular the strengthening of participation and the improvement of implementation quality, as an "essential prerequisite" or as the result of the strategic focus on "innovation". In this context, innovation is defined broadly, ranging from technological to social innovation, from new business models to sector development.

Promoting social diversity and equal opportunities
An essential prerequisite for successful innovation processes in rural development is the integration of heterogeneous groups of players and thus the promotion of social diversity and equal opportunities.

Multipliers as partners
We consider interest groups and stakeholders in all relevant areas of the LE 14–20 Programme a particularly important target group when it comes to the support of sharing experience and networking or achieving networking goals. According to an evaluation performed by Netzwerk Land, the "multiplier approach" has proved its value and shall therefore be upheld.

Target group orientation – setting priorities – promoting initiative
The segmentation of target groups according to demand and interest in networking and experience sharing constitutes the basis for the development of target-group-specific measures. This means the range of measures must be very wide and include services of varying intensity and quality.

Working across sectors and in an integrated manner
Many rural development issues are related to all or several of the five aims of work. The aim is to develop targeted cross-sectoral integrative measures for them.