The First National Rural Parliament was organized in the Republic of North Macedonia in the period between 12 and 14 June 2019, following the positive example of the European countries that have been organizing rural parliaments for many years as an efficient process of inclusion and discussion among the rural population and the policy creators for the purpose of improving rural policies and addressing certain challenges related to rural development.
More than 90 representatives of local civil organizations, international organizations, the business sector, the local self-government, the National Extension Agency, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy met in Krushevo for the First National Rural Parliament in North Macedonia, having an opportunity to share knowledge and experience in various topics in the area of rural development, addressed at a panel discussion and work in groups. The goal of the Rural Parliament was to create a rural civil organizations national platform to be actively involved in creation of strategies and policies on rural development at national and local level.
‘We hope to include the Ministry of Agriculture in the future organization of the National Rural Parliament, because a united approach of the civil sector and the national government is the only way to jointly contribute to improving life in rural areas’, stressed Petar Gjorgievski, President of the Rural Development Network of North Macedonia.
The participants at the Parliament, working in thematic groups, discussed and addressed different issues related to the opportunities for employment of young people, women and other vulnerable categories of people in rural areas; LEADER Programme; rural diversification and sustainable agriculture and practices.
The conclusions and recommendations adopted as a result of the group work were further included in the final product – the Manifesto of the National Rural Parliament. This Manifesto, to be officially submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, as well as to other relevant institutions, provides the major directions and priorities to guide rural policy.
The First National Rural Parliament ended by field visits, in the course of which participants had opportunities to see positive examples for rural entrepreneurship, rural and alternative tourism, natural potentials and resources in the regions of Prespa and Mavrovo-Rostushe, as well as to taste specialties of the traditional Macedonian cuisine. These meetings provided opportunity for sharing experience with the rural population and views and opinions regarding sustainability and welfare in rural areas.