Based upon evidence emerging collected in the SIMRA project, this research project believes that smarter and more effective policies to support social innovation in rural areas have a vital contribution to make to have more resilient, innovative and attractive rural areas.
However, social innovation is insufficiently articulated in the European Commission’s Communication “The Future of Food and Farming” (published in November 2017), on the Common Agricultural Policy post-2020.
SIMRA Policy Brief presents what social innovation means, some examples and the lessons learnt from social innovation, the role of policy and how social innovation policy can be better developed to enhance positive outcomes.
This Policy Brief concludes that social innovation can provide a highly valuable means for delivering the objectives for the future CAP, but stresses that its role needs stronger recognition, mandatory inclusion and targeted policy support. It reiterates that there is a place for social innovation in rural community services and for engendering social learning and supporting collaborative environmental management in topics such as catchment management and biodiversity partnerships, and in better meeting the development needs of marginal areas.
Accordingly, the new legislative framework should include mandatory cross-cutting principle for social innovation to be used in relation to any nationally designed measure of the RDP (Rural Development Programme), alongside the wider application of CLLD (Community-led local development). Social innovation thereby provides a policy accelerator for any specified measure of the RDP to be used at the discretion of Member States, complementing other initiatives such as Smart Villages, results-based measures at ecosystem and catchment scale, and of especial relevance in marginalised rural areas.