This Framework was developed in partnership with a wide range of stakeholder organisations including the public, private and voluntary and community sector. The Framework provided an opportunity to review the approach to rural policy and what is needed to support rural communities in the context of formulating a policy response to the cessation of the NI Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020, identifying rural needs and opportunities for rural communities going forward. We must now look to a post Covid-19 future and embrace the opportunities that green growth, globalisation and technological innovation present. Given the challenges presented by climate change, a focus on the environment and sustainability will be key in the delivery of future programmes.
The Department will now establish a Rural Stakeholder Oversight Committee to ensure the continued involvement of key stakeholders and rural communities in helping to design programmes. There will also be a range of sub-committees established covering equality, the environment and the thematic pillars of the Rural Policy Framework. As Rural Champion, DAERA fully appreciates the importance of working in partnership with other public bodies, the private sector and rural stakeholders to ensure the best outcomes for our rural communities. Work will also commence on drafting a new Rural Business and Community Investment Programme.