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Active Regions – a short introduction

The competition “Active Regions – Shaping Rural Futures“ was initiated in 2001 by the former Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture (today Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection >>>) as a nationwide pilot project. To implement the competition regions were searched, which realize the aims “consumer orientation”, “ecologically- and environmental compatible land management”, “strengthening rural areas and creation of additional income sources” as well as “strengthening the urban-rural relations”.

Considering the above-mentioned aims, actors from different regions developed a concept, tailored on the endogenous regional conditions. According the different problems and potentials of the region, different content related focuses could be set. Especially the variety of the initial situation should strengthen the regional approach, which was pursued by the new orientation of the consumer protection and agricultural policies. It was important that respectively the concept of a quality orientated, on sustainability aiming, multifunctional agriculture becomes as clear as the strengthening of the rural area as a whole; e.g. due to the creation of competitive new jobs and income sources in the non-agricultural sector. For the realization of these regional concepts the Federal Ministry provided the chosen regions about 50 million Euros between 2002 and 2005. The choice of the funded model regions resulted from an independent jury in a two-step selection process. According to a sustainable development necessary socially consensus the jury was filled with actors and representatives of the rural areas.

For a strengthening and value set of the started processes and developed structures in the regions, the Federal Ministry decided in the end of 2005 to extent the pilot initiative and to fund the regions for two more years. In contrast to the first period just one regional theme field could be financed by the federal funds. For this the pilot areas of Active Regions had to concentrate on one field, with the best perspectives for the activities and regional added value and with which could be realized with help of the regional value added chain approach. For this implementation period the regions got provided another 8.5 million Euros. The regions were urged to use their experiences from the first phase of Active Regions to acquire additional funding for the realization of the other regional theme fields.

Detailed information of the pilot project and the chosen regions can be found on the website of the Federal Agency Active Regions >>>.