Cork 2.0 conference and declaration

Cork 2.0 conference and declaration

Zelie Peppiette
Other Organisations


Large stakeholder conference as follow up to Cork conference in 1996, bringing together 340 rural stakeholders from across the EU to explore their vision of the potential, challenges, opportunities and aspirations of rural and agricultural communities, and to enable the stakeholders to co-create a declaration incorporating this vision and recommendations to policy makers. Many of the sessions were organised in a participatory manner to maximise exchanges between those present.

Participation Spectrum

When and Where

Start Year

Policy Context

Specific Topic
Rural Development. Initiated by Commissioner Hogan and DG AGRI, to provide an opportunity for rural stakeholders to come together and articulate their hopes and aspirations for rural areas, and the associated policy needs.


Communities or representatives involved
Full spectrum of rural and agricultural stakeholders from across the EU, Member State and Regional authorities, academics, local development organisations, farmers’ organisations, environmental organisations, politicians, advisory services, plus some.
How were the Participants selected?


Methodologies used
Methodology description
Some presentations in plenary. Series of parallel themed workshop sessions, designed in participatory fashion, facilitated to maximise exchanges between participants, draw them together, and to enable.
Tools Used
Spaces Used


Main Outcomes and Lasting Achievement
"Cork 2.0 Declaration: A better life in rural areas" - This document has served as a guideline for policy development
How were the outcome taken up within the process they were carried out?
The Cork Declaration has been much discussed, presented and followed up. It was used for example as input to the OECD rural conference in Edinburgh in April 2018. It lead to increased efforts on rural proofing other policies, at EU and national level.
The policy recommendations fed into the process of development of the post-2020 CAP proposals.
Feedback provided
Other Feedback
The Cork Declaration was developed during the conference and at the end of the event was presented.


Main Challenges
Reason for such challenges and solutions
- Had a big and dedicated logistics team.
- Large and skilled facilitation team, and relevant experts, with much preparation (video conferences and team days etc) beforehand.
- Tight design focused on objectives, and constant coordination between those involved.
- We built in space (evening entertainment for participants, meal breaks and plenary presentations) which gave time for the facilitation team to draw together the outcomes of the different parallel workshops and prepare for following sessions, and for drafters to formulate the declaration. Very complicated choreography!!
Lessons Learn
- It is worth it!
- It needs to be very carefully designed, keeping the objectives and desired outcomes in mind. This takes time!
- Such a process needs to be undertaken in good faith, with genuine intention to listen to the stakeholders and give them scope to formulate their ideas.
- Support development of this type of activity – training for staff etc.
- Design participatory approach in from the start and ensure all involved in planning and organisation are on board.
- Allow sufficient time for the event.