Regional Development

10th OECD Rural Development Conference: Agenda


ExhibitorsMobilising assetsEvidence-based policiesQuality of life

Economic dimensionEnvironmental dimensionSocial dimensionIdea factory


 DAY 1
Tuesday 19 May 2015
  • Patrice Kunesh, Deputy Under Secretary, Rural Development USDA, USA
  • A. C. Wharton Jr., Mayor of Memphis, USA
  • Chris Massingill, Federal Co-Chairman, Delta Regional Authority, USA
  • Joaquim Oliveira Martins, Head, Regional Development Policy Division, OECD





Discussion of the artefacts in the showcase.

  • Patrice Kunesh, Deputy Under Secretary, Rural Development USDA. USA

Discussion with representatives from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Mississippi Band of Choctaw is one of the United States' original first nations, and is the only Federally-recognized American Indian tribe living within the State of Mississippi. The Choctaw Indian Reservation consists of 35 000 acres of trust land scattered over 10 counties in Mississippi. There are 10 000 members. The Tribe is a major contributor to the state's economy providing permanent, full-time jobs for over 5 000 Tribal-members and non-Indian employees.

  • Steve Hockins, Project Manager-New Choctaw Health Center Construction Project (MBC), USA
  • Jay Wesley, Cultural Director Chata Immi Program, Mississippi Band of Choctaw


The Poarch Creek Indians, unlike many eastern Indian tribes avoided removal from their land and have lived together for almost 200 years in and around the reservation in Poarch, Alabama. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized Indian Tribe in the state of Alabama, operating as a sovereign nation with its own system of government and bylaws. The Tribe operates a variety of economic enterprises, which employ hundreds of area residents. Currently, there are 3,074 members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

  • Mal McGhee, Director of Marketing, Muskogee Technology (PBCI), USA

 Pre-conference workshops 



Natural resources 
and rural development



Food security -
what role for rural policy?



Engaging with traditional settlements,
native communities, and socially
disadvantaged groups


Discussions focused around the challenges and opportunities present in rural regions with abundance of natural resources. In particular policy responses to deliver development goals and quality of life.

Moderator: Rhonda Koster, USA


  • Andres Moran, Chile
  • Thom Stubbs, Canada
  • Risto Poutiainen, Finland
  • Greg Halseth, Canada
  • Mikitaro Shobayashi, Japan

Food This panel discussed the possibility to adopt a territorial approach to food security and nutrition (FSN) policy. Promoting rural development in regional communities could be an effective way to deliver better policy outcomes that can address multidimensional challenges such as malnutrition. 

Moderator:  Raffaele Trapasso, OECD


  • Vito Cistulli, FAO
  • Maria José Uribe, Colombia
  • Christel Alvergne, UNCDF
  • Phil Karsting, USA

This panel discussed the main bottlenecks for development that are present in disadvantaged areas and traditional settlements. In particular, the discussions focused on how to promote bottom-up development approaches in co-ordination with top-down initiatives.

Moderator: Patricia Kunesh, Deputy Under Secretary, USA


  • Cornelius Blanding, USA
  • Margarita Flores, Mexico 
  • David Freshwater, USA
  • Reginald Shumaker, USA
  • Jay Wesley, USA



Telling the rural story: using data
to inform policy


Rural policies in Latin America


Land use in rural regions


How can data inform policy? This panel discussed the value of. data in understanding the diversity of rural regions.  Better information will lead to better policy responses. 

Moderator: Matt S. Erskine, USA


  • Alessandro Alasia, Canada
  • Emilia Istrate, USA
  • Teresa Capece, Italy
  • Earl Gohl, USA
  • David Shabzian, USA

Can a territorial approach to rural development be adopted in emerging economies? This panel focused on Latin American countries and discusses the way in which they are getting closer to the New Rural Paradigm policy framework. 

ModeratorArturo Nahle, Under Secretary, Mexico


  • José Antonio Rojo, Mexico
  • Jaime de la Mora, Mexico
  • J. Antonio Leos-Rodríguez, Mexico
  • Diego Mora, Colombia
  • Julio Berdegué,Chile

The interrelations between institutions and markets heavily influence the functioning of land-use markets and their impact on rural and urban development. This interface is complex, particularly within the fringes of urban and rural areas, in brownfield redevelopment zones, and in areas of social deprivation.

ModeratorRichard Cormier, Canada


  • Richard W. England, USA
  • John E. Anderson USA
  • Salin Geevarghese, USA
  • Fildelma Mullane, Ireland
  • Katsuhiko Yamauchi, Japan


Poverty and Mobility: The Rural American Experience 


The museum covers five centuries of history - from the beginning of the resistance during slavery, through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, and the seminal events of the late 20th century that inspired people around the world to stand up for equality. The visit ends with the events leading up to the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There is also a Legacy Building (the boarding house from where the shot that killed Dr. Martin Luther was allegedly fired). Guests will be treated to a complimentary tour of the Lorraine Motel and the Legacy Building before the reception.

Reception and Welcome remarks:  Chris Massingill, Federal Co-Chairman, Delta Regional Authority
                                                           Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary, Rural Development, USDA

Keynote: Poverty and Mobility: The Rural American Experience: Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary, USDA


 DAY 2
Wednesday 20 May 2015
Opening Session


Introduction by Ministers, conference hosts and partners:

Master of Ceremonies: Earl Gohl, Federal Co-chair, Appalachian Regional Commission, United States

Chair: Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, United States

  • Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD
  • Jesús Murillo Karam, Secretary SEDATU, Mexico
  • Brenda LePage, Assistant Deputy Minister, Western Economic Diversification, Canada
  • Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture, European Commission 
Plenary session: Improving the quality of life in rural areas: an integrated approach 

Finding the right balance between the three main pillars for an integrated approach to rural policy: the economic, social and evironmental dimensions.

Moderator: Justin Hanson, Mayor of Covington, Tennessee, United States

  • Doug O’Brien, Chair of Working Party on Rural Policy 
  • Rolf Alter, Director of Public Governance and Territorial Development, OECD

High-level speakers:

  • Marceli Niezgoda, Deputy Minister, Ministry for Infrastructure and Development, Poland
  • Hisao Harihara, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, Japan
  • Lee Seung Ho, Deputy Minister for Land, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Republic of Korea
  • Lisa Mensah, Undersecretary, United States Department of Agriculture, USA


Pillar 1 - The economic dimension 
Creating jobs and economic opportunities
Linking rural and urban places



The aim of this session was to foment discussions to better understand the characteristics of rural firms and the main drivers that make them competitive. In addition to presenting data and evidence, the session also dedicated discussions to policy responses that can help the private sector flourish in rural areas and create jobs and economic opportunities.

Moderator: Enrique Garcilazo, OECD


  • Mihail Dumitriu, DGAgri, European Commission
  • David Freshwater, University of Kentucky, USA
  • Frederic Laurin, Université de Québec, Canada
  • Alvin Simms, ACOA, Canada
  • Lori Ries/Diana Jedig, CFNC, Canada 
  • Tim Wojan, USDA, USA
  • Julian Pace/Julia Latto, Scottish Enterprise, United Kingdom
Most rural areas interact with cities of all sizes. This session discussed governance systems, policy delivery and service accessibility taking into account the presence of territorial networks of rural and urban areas and challenges in terms of regulation, policy frameworks, etc. 

Moderator: Betty Ann Bryce, USDA, USA


  • Ana Marie Argilagos, Ford Foundation, USA
  • Julio Berdegué, RIMISP, USA
  • Aleksandra Zakrzewska, MIDD, Poland
  • Taebyung Kim, MLIT, Korea
  • Roman Haken, EESC, Czech Republic
Pillar 2 - The social dimension
Increasing citizen engagement and trust
Improving access to services

This session addressed the importance of citizen participation and trust for rural development policy and how it is delivered at the regional level by involving citizens in policy cycles. It discussed the need to involve citizens in the definition of new rural definitions to support rural development by improving visibility of rural issues at the national level. It looked at how the level of trust might be improved by engagement with and participation of the public sector. As trust is essential to implement public investment in a given region, citizen participation is a way of promoting rural development. 

Moderator: Raffaele Trapasso, OECD


  • Tom Murphy, MCOR, USA 
  • José Ramón Sobrón, Kaleidos, Spain, 
  • Francesco Mantino, INEA, Italy
  • John Grieve, Rural Development Company, Scotland
  • Chuck Fluharty, RUPRI, USA
  • Raúl Hernández, Mexico

Access to adequate public and private services is crucial for the quality of life of citizens and the competitiveness of firms. Service availability is thus a central feature in rural development policy and strategy. However, rural regions face particular challenges in the form of relatively higher costs of service delivery due to a number of factors. The discussion aimsed at identifying strategies for national and sub-national governments to work better with civil society and the private sector to improve access to services in rural areas. 

Moderator: Karen Maguire, OECD


  • İbrahim Kuzu, Ministry of Development, Turkey
  • Cristell Åstrom, Ministry of Employment & the Economy, Finland 
  • Teresa Capece, Department for Development and Cohesion Policy, Italy



 DAY 3
Thursday 21 May 2015


Pillar 3 - The environmental dimension 
Climate change: building resilience in rural areas
 Connecting the bio-economy to rural policy



Rural communities are vulnerable to climate change. Many rural communities depend highly on natural resource activities. These in turn are affected by climate change. These impacts will progressively increase over this century and will shift the locations where rural activities can thrive, including agriculture, forestry and recreation. Building resilience will require policy responses and strong co-ordination amongst rural stakeholders and levels of government.

Moderator: Joaquim Oliveira Martins, OECD


  • Mikitaro Shobayashi, Gakushuin Women’s College, Japan
  • William Hohenstein, USDA, USA
  • Jorge Galo Medina Torres, SAGARPA, Mexico

This session discussed how the bio-economy can become one of the drivers of rural economies in the coming years. It will look at how the adoption of a smart diversification strategy in rural economies could promote jobs and income by promoting industries within the bio-economy global value-chain (agro-industry and forestry, among others). It also looked at the risks associated with public support to industrial specialisation.

Moderator: David Freshwater, U. Kentucky, USA


  • John Bryden, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
  • Risto Poutiainen, Regional Council of North Karelia, Finland
  • Peter Nelson, AIDG, USA

Idea Factory on Modern Rural Policy


Moderator: Carol Guthrie, OECD

This animated session invited participants to gather in groups to brainstorm around ten key issues on Modern Rural Policy. Online participants were also invited to provide input.


  1. From the New Rural Paradigm to the New Rural Policy
  2. Competitiveness
  3. Well-being
  4. Natural resource development and rural growth
  5. Bio-economy 
  6. Rural-urban interactions
  7. Citizen engagement and trust
  8. Climate change
  9. Land use
  10. Food security


Each group identified key words for each topic to easily communicate the related issues. The results will be used to develop taglines and develop awareness.



The way forward

  • Closing remarks by Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD 
  • Chair’s statement by Lisa Mensah, Undersecretary of USDA, United States.




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