OECD's comprehensive review of rural policy in Italy. On average, rural regions in Italy have some of the highest GDP per capita among the OECD countries, yet unexploited potential remains. This analysis of rural Italy reveals heterogeneous economic conditions, an increasing elderly population and a diminished focus on environmental concerns. This suggests the need for a broader rural policy approach that reflects the changing demands upon rural resources and that considers other aspects of rurality including health, education and quality of life.
OECD's review of rural policy in Quebec. It finds that in rural Québec, both population and personal income are growing, on average, and the province´s economic base continues to diversify. Land occupancy is more homogenous than in the rest of Canada, due to the presence of denser networks of small and medium-sized communities. However, mirroring the situation at the national level, the province displays large regional disparities. The sustainability of some rural communities, especially if remote and resource-based, is challenged by demographic and economic decline. In this context, Québec has developed one of the most advanced rural policy approaches in the OECD, closely in line with the framework suggested in the OECD´s New Rural Paradigm. The province´s rural policy does not have a sectoral focus, and aims at community empowerment and land occupancy. To maximize returns on its rural policy investments, Québec needs to integrate social development more strongly with economic and entrepreneurial development, and further strengthen the supra-local level of government as the centre for rural and territorial development strategies. This should be combined with stabilisation measures in lagging areas, through the accumulation of human capital and enhanced access to land in predominantly rural territories. To address environmental challenges, natural resources should be protected both in the outskirts of metropolitan zones and in remote areas.
The radical transformation that Spanish rural areas have experienced in the past few decades suggest, as it has occurred in many OECD countries, a new approach to rural policy. Spain has recently undertaken a major reform of its rural policies, including the merger of the Ministry of Agriculture with the Ministry of the Environment and the recently approved Law on Sustainable Development of Rural Areas. This new framework creates a multi-sectoral and place-based "rural policy of state", making Spain better equipped to address the challenges and opportunities of rural areas.
This report - undertaken at the same time as the reforms were being implemented - will interest both policy makers engaged in similar reform processes and others working on issues such the "political economy" of reforms, rural tourism, renewable energies, rural clusters, development of peri-urban areas and public service delivery in remote rural areas.
The service sector, in aggregate, now dominates total employment and value-added in OECD countries, accounting for more than 70% of these two measures, and continues to increase in importance. While services may play a slightly smaller role in rural regions than in urban areas, they are the dominant component of the rural economy. It is clear that a vibrant service sector is both vital for a prosperous local economy and crucial for meeting the needs of rural citizens. This book provides an overview of the underlying problems in delivering services to rural regions. It contains a conceptual structure for thinking about rural service delivery problems and a strategy for thinking about the role of government in service delivery, as well as a discussion of the role that innovation and public management tools like co-design and co-delivery can play in designing better service delivery approaches. Also included are examples of different, successful policy strategies drawn from OECD countries.
Also available The New Rural Paradigm: Policies and Governance (2006) OECD Rural Policy Reviews: Germany (2007) OECD Rural Policy Reviews: Mexico (2007) OECD Rural Policy Reviews: Finland (2008) OECD Rural Policy Reviews: The Netherlands (2008) OECD Rural Policy Reviews: China (2009) OECD Rural Policy Reviews: Italy (2009) OECD Rural Policy Reviews: Spain (2009) OECD Rural Policy Reviews: Québec, Canada (forthcoming)
With more than 700 million residents living in rural areas, China is still a predominantly rural country. But despite substantial improvements in standards of living, the Chinese countryside is largely lagging behind. This report analyses the key socio-economic forces at work in China's rural areas and discusses the current government strategy for rural development. It argues that in order to bridge rural-urban divides the current policy approach needs to go further in recognising rural-urban complementarities beyond agriculture and that food-security targets need to be balanced with wider rural development objectives.