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National Networks continue to cooperate through regional clusters

2023 will see the launch of new national networks for the new CAP period (2023-2027), with EU Member States using National Network regional cluster meetings to share their experiences and ideas.


2023 will see the launch of new National Networks for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) period. NNs have been working in their EU Member States, consulting on the new proposals and NN regional cluster meetings have been useful for helping NNs to share their experiences and ideas.

National networking support for innovation has been a common theme for discussions in recent monthly cluster meetings. Links between the new networks and innovation remits of LEADER Local Action Groups, EIP Operational Groups, Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) and farm advisory services are networking topics that continue to be explored and progressed in EU Member States.

Communication is another mutual topic that the networks exchange about during their online cluster meetings. This has been driven by their interest in involving more agricultural stakeholders and in widening their outreach opportunities for awareness raising about CAP networking possibilities. Portugal’s National Network (NN) shared an example in the Mediterranean cluster about using video for this purpose to facilitate agri-food actors in efforts to promote traditional, healthy diets. Estonia told the Nordic Baltic cluster about a new podcast series being started and a Slovenian example was shared in the Central & Eastern European cluster, highlighting the potential of working with journalists as multipliers. These examples build on advice from the 2020 NRN workshop outcomes dedicated to reinforcing NRN digital communication capacities.

Cluster meetings are also gathering knowhow about how to involve regions and about how to help ensure that no one is left behind by networking activities within the new national CSP frameworks. Sweden’s NN, for instance, is planning a Rural Week in May 2023 to showcase its country-wide operations. Regionalised countries such as Spain and Italy have also been using the cluster meetings to reflect on options for keeping regions involved in their work.

In addition to the cluster meetings, experts from the NNs have also been reviewing how best to monitor their new wider extension services during the new CAP period. Indicators and methodologies for this are being advanced with inputs from the CAP Network’s Evaluation Helpdesk.