Michael Dower

WhatsApp Image 2022 11 10 at 16.18.42

Our wonderful friend, mentor and supporter, Michael Dower, sadly passed away on Monday November 7, 2022, just a week before his 89th birthday. In his lifetime, Michael was a force in European rural development. He was instrumental in developing the European Rural Parliament partnership and process, including co-ordinating and writing the foundational document ‘All Europe shall Live’, based on a survey of all of our European Partners, from which he developed the first ERP Manifesto at the 2nd ERP Gathering in Austria in 2015. These have remained our baseline documents.

In addition to the ERP, Michael’s work in rural development was extensive. He co-founded and served as coordinator of PREPARE - Pre-accession Partnership for Rural Europe, supporting the launch of many national and regional rural movements and rural parliaments in Central and Eastern Europe. He founded and served as President of ECOVAST – the European Council for the Village and Small Town. He co-founded and animated the European Agricultural Convention (EAC), now ARC2020. He was a very active member of Forum Synergies and many other European civic initiatives. He was co-creating the CURE - Convention for Urban and Rural Europe.

Prior to his post-retirement activism in European rural civil society, Michael managed the Peak District National Park in England; was Director General of the Countryside Commission for England and Wales; and was Professor of European Rural Development at the University of Gloucestershire. He edited and promoted the European Landscape Convention for the Council of Europe.

Michael was passionate about rural areas, their people, landscapes, land use and ecology. In the later years of his life, he worked tirelessly to advocate on the climate change emergency, and led local woodland management projects, working with school children, where he lived in Dorset, England.

Michael was, and is, an inspiration to us all. He urged us to be bold and brave and urgent in our work. His legacy lies within us and our continuing, collective work to support and develop rural Europe – our wonderful home.

Thank you Michael!

The 4th European Rural Parliament 2019

Over 300 participants from 38 European countries, met during the 4th European Rural Parliament at the village of Candás Asturias, Spain, from 6 to 9 November 2019. Participants included rural people, representatives of civil society organisations, researchers, national governments and European Union institutions. The 4th European Rural Parliament published the Rural People´s Declaration of Candás on the 9th of November. Working together towards a common real Rural Agenda with all stakeholders can be considered as the main message. Find attached the final version of the Declaration.

Documents attached:


Preparations are well underway for what will be our biggest gathering yet – 400 people from around 40 countries are anticipated to be present in Candás, Asturias, Spain on November 6-9.

You can follow everything about the event at:

ERP 2019 official website:     www.erp2019.eu

Facebook page:                   4th European Rural Parliament - ERP 2019

Twitter:                                @erp_2019

Instagram:                           @erp_2019

The last newsletter of ERP2019

The News page for the ERP2019 is: https://erp2019.eu/news/

One popular feature will be the Market of Initiatives: https://erp2019.eu/news/market-of-initiatives-erp-2019/

We are uploading interviews with some workshop leaders to explain a little of what we can find in them. eg:

Giorgio Ambrosino, of workshop 'The role of policy in improving mobility services in European rural areas' https://erp2019.eu/news/giorgio-ambrosino-shared-mobility-is-an-essential-part-of-the-solution-set-to-deal-with-rural-challenges/

Bill Slee, of 'Connecting with the 'hard-to-reach' in rural areas' https://erp2019.eu/news/bill-slee-social-innovation-is-most-important-where-markets-and-state-have-limited-scope-to-make-positive-changes/

Hoping to see you there!

The ERP Steering Group &
Red Asturiana de Desarrollo Rural (READER)

The 4th European Rural Parliament will take place in Asturias in Spain on November 6-9, 2019. The host for the 4th ERP will be READER the Asturian Rural Development Network and their partners, in association with ERP Partner REDR, the Spanish Rural Development Network.  It will be held in the village of Candás in Carreño municipality in the region of Cabo Peñas. Asturias. This is one of the most mountainous regions in Europe, also coastal. Naturally and culturally rich, it a pioneer in tourism and rural development, with issues of depopulation, ageing, remoteness and loss of industry. This is the first time the ERP has been taken to southern Europe, a region with its own particular rural issues, which will be demonstrated and discussed through field visits and workshops.

The special theme for this ERP will be the rural-urban interface, which is an increasingly key topic for rural development. This will be additional to the core business of the ERP, which will focus on the messages coming from the thematic projects undertaken under the 2018-19 ROAD Project, and from our ERP Partners and the national Rural Parliaments. 

We will be posting more detailed information on this page, as plans develop.


The host for the 4th European Rural Parliament – Asturias in Spain


The host for the 4th European Rural Parliament – Asturias in Spain


The host for the 4th European Rural Parliament – Asturias in Spain


The host for the 4th European Rural Parliament – Asturias in Spain

Previous Next Play Pause
1 2 3 4