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With increased urbanization, more and more people decide to leave rural areas to seek better opportunities in big cities or abroad. This shift is making life harder for those— predominantly older people—who stay behind. In addition, for governments, it is costly to maintain infrastructure and services in sparsely populated areas. However, the sudden rise of remote working, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, has given many people greater choices regarding the environment in which they live. Property is more affordable in rural settings; high-speed Internet makes communications seamless and the rural environment is a more attractive place to live for many.

This session will showcase examples of rural revitalization and strategies designed to change the perception of rural areas. We will examine different experiences related to rural revival, explore existing mechanisms designed for rural recovery and look at the roles stakeholders can fill to help reinvigorate rural communities.


H.E. Narek Mkrtchyan, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Armenia
Desa Srsen, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Dubravka Suica, European Commission
Sabrina Lucatelli, Senior Expert at the Prime Minister Office, Italy
Juana Lopez Pagan, Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Spain
Dr. Matilde Molina, Deputy Director of the Center for Demographic Studies of the University of Havana, Cuba
Sandra Eimane, Latvian Young Farmers Club
Francine Pickup, Resident Representative, UNDP Serbia


Tim Judah, The Economist
Alida Vracic, Think Tank Populari