In the current European context, 'rural development' is now a much over-used and misunderstood term. Far from denoting a specific concern for the particular social and economic problems of 'peripheral rural communities', since the Cork Declaration of 1996, European policy making, both at central and regional levels, has more meaningfully adopted broader principles of 'integrated rural development'. However, while many member states are beginning to move away from a sectoral 'silo' approach with regard to the management of their rural areas, in recent years the parallel arenas of environmental, cultural, regional and economic development agendas have all become much more vibrant. Looking at the rural regions of Wales in the UK and Ostrobothnia in western Finland, this paper examines some of these contemporary and parallel arenas with regard to their influence in shaping the nature of rural governance. While a rural development policy network is seen to be developing, major questions are raised about how this will position itself in the unfolding multi-level governance structure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development