The Southern Sparsely Populated Areas network participated in the event organized by the European Network for Rural Development and the European Commission to address the needs of rural areas from a global perspective, betting on the digital endowment of rural areas so that it be competitive.

The SSPA network shared its work and knowledge within the Rural Vision Week: ‘Imagining the future of rural areas in Europe’ addressing different issues to turn rural areas into sustainable areas, indicating the convenience of betting on the digital endowment of the rural environment as an aspect to ensure a prosperous future.

In fact, for SSPA, technology is a basic pillar to ensure a prosperous future for sparsely populated and rural areas, socially and entrepreneurially, so that they are competitive at a global level, as well as from a vital point of view, since the provision of infrastructure technological represents a minimum service to which all people should have access.

The ‘Rural Vision Week: Imagining the future of Europe’s rural areas’ is an activity organized by the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) together with the European Commission. This event is made up of several presentations and talks with the aim of debating and drawing conclusions on how to build a long-term vision that favors the future of rural areas in Europe. During the week different talks and workshops are being held, where relevant entities and personalities such as the Commissioner for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Suica, as well as different entities and organizations of the territory participate.

On the other hand, the SSPA highlighted other priority elements that must accompany the deployment of digital infrastructure, that is, the importance of providing people in these areas with the necessary training to use the technological tools that the territory needs. In the words of the coordinator of the SSPA Network, Sara Bianchi “if we want to transform rural areas into vibrant areas, we cannot continue applying 20th century solutions, but we have to take advantage of the opportunities of the 21st century, only in this way we can ensure the future from sparsely populated and rural areas ”.

Intergroup RUMRA & Smart Villages

During the European week, the Intergroup on rural, mountainous and remote areas of the European Parliament (Rumra & Smart Villages), of which the SSPA Network is part, and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) influenced the concern that the areas rural areas may be left out of the European Union Recovery Plans. The Intergroup and CoR affirmed that the pandemic is serving to exacerbate many of the already existing problems in rural areas and highlight once again the vulnerability of these regions, especially in terms of digital capacity, quality and delivery of health services, education, access to broadband, specific needs of the population, resilience of supply chains and innovation skills.

These elements have been part of the discourse of the SSPA network during its intervention and constitute the basis of the entity’s work in recent months, in which it is working to include a specific proposal for the territories in the Recovery Plan.