Report on Agricultural Policy Forum 2014: “Promoting Sustainable Rural Development through Agriculture in South Eastern Europe”, 14 – 17 October 2014, Kopaonik, Serbia

The 14th Agricultural Policy Forum (APF) “Promoting Sustainable Rural Development through Agriculture in South Eastern Europe was held in Kopaonik, Serbia in the period of 14th – 17th October 2014. This Forum provided an opportunity to review the accomplishments achieved by the APF process over the past period, while considering the challenges and opportunities for the development of agriculture and rural areas in South Eastern Europe (SEE) over the next decade up to 2020.

The Forum debated in detail on three policy topics relevant to the SEE countries and recommended the following:

Focus topic 1. Follow up to the sustainability of the project on streamlining of agriculture and rural development policies of SEE countries for EU accession

  • The report on “Agricultural Policy and Integration in SEE” be closely studied by all governments in order to explore the opportunities for monitoring of policies and fine-tuning these policies where necessary. It also recommends that means should be found to continue the collaboration between governments and faculties within the framework of SWG, with the help of international experts and support of Rural Development Networks.
  • The Forum sees particular urgency in clarifying issues and policies related to small-farming communities, with special attention to those in Less Favored Areas.

Focus topic 2.  Trade in agricultural goods among the CEFTA countries

  • Harmonization of national procedures, operations and documents with the EU acquis, and other international conventions, standards and practices contributes most effectively to facilitation of regional trade;
  • Identification of opportunities to strengthen regional supply chain and improvement of business cooperation by exchange of information and enhanced promotion of traditional and organic production.

Focus topic 3. Economic development of SEE rural cross-border areas implementing the Area Based Development (ABD) approach

  • The ABD closely meets the needs of local stakeholders, who in the past four years were empowered to define development needs of their regions in a way that other approaches have not been able to achieve;
  • The Forum recommends that the SEE Ministries of Agriculture and local authorities explore the inclusion of the ABD principles in national rural development policies.

The produced documents from this Forum can be downloaded on the following links: