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!
Other thematic work
ERP theme work
ERP is about the voice of rural people and communities, theme work should support it
ERP is about advocacy for rural people and communities, theme work should collect ideas, processes, cases, support systems, obstacles, research, legislation supporting the well-beeing of rural people.
ERP is a partnership and friendship where you meet others, learn from each other, cooperate with others. The ERP theme platform provides the place for networking, learning and project partnerships.
1. Choose a theme you would like to coordinate yourself or with others. The aim is to create and develop the theme within the ERP platform
2. Keep in mind that it must be an open network for participants
3. Invite others to join the network
4. Follow thematic (policy) activities in EU
5. Collect information, cases aso… for potential use in ERP advocacy work
6. Follow and report shortly on thematic events
7. Inform others on positive, negative changes (EU/National)
8. Look for project partnerships and funding opportunities
9. Participate and contribute to the ERP biennial Gathering
The theme coordinator should be in contact with the coordinators and the steering group about possible reports, policy suggestions or papers resulting from the theme work. This is a phase of establishing and developing the thematic discussion/advocacy/partnership networks. Each theme should aim at the above mentioned objectives, principles and tasks, each participant keeping their own independant activity.
Contact the ERP-team if you want to initiate and develop a theme within the ERP-partnership