A well-funded support plan in favour of rural sustainable development can play a decisive role in ensuring a genuine just and ecological transition in Spain’s rural areas.
In a nutshell:
- Spanish rural areas face severe demographic challenges
- €10 billion of investment from the Spanish Recovery Plan is set to promote sustainable, innovative and resilient local communities
Spanish rural areas lack opportunities and public services; this is creating a growing social and economic gap in Spain. Without adequate investment and careful planning, rural areas risk being left-out of the ecological and just transition. In this regard, it is a welcome step that the Commission for the Demographic Challenge has identified a total of 130 measures dedicated to rural areas, which will mobilize more than 10% of the Spanish Recovery Plan.
Some of the most important actions should guarantee a fair and inclusive ecological transition. Among them are the promotion of more sustainable, innovative and resilient communities through the energy transition, including measures to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy generation projects; and the promotion of the bioeconomy and the conservation of biodiversity to contribute to a better quality of life for the population, including measures for the conservation and restoration of ecosystems.
This package of measures is the result of a broad participation and collaboration between all the social agents from rural areas, including town councils, municipalities, neighbours and social organizations.
Two major decision criteria are outstanding: the gender perspective and the support for the younger generations, who are very much affected by the lack of opportunities and public services. The aging trend and masculinisation of rural areas require policies for the integration of young people and women into the labor market. Municipalities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants concentrate 5.7 million people and serving that population is a matter of territorial and generational justice.
The Spanish Recovery thus carries new opportunities for its rural areas and its inhabitants to truly benefit from the just and ecological transformation.
Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition (MITECO), El Plan de Medidas ante el Reto Demográfico destinará más de 10.000 millones y 130 políticas activas a luchar contra la despoblación y garantizar la cohesión territorial y social (March 2021)