Smart Villages are about people.
Smart Villages are communities in rural areas that use innovative solutions to improve their resilience, building on local strengths and opportunities. Our forum will help you make this concept to reality, by bringing rural areas into the 21st century.

Why a smart village?

In recent years, smart villages began to flourish, revitalize and empower rural communities. The concept implies the participation of local people in improving their economic, social, or environmental conditions, cooperation with other communities, social innovation, and the development of smart village strategies.
Courtesy of the European Parliament Research Service (EPRS)

The vision of the European Smart Villages Forum (ESVF) is a resilient, just, democratic and cohesive Europe, in which citizens re-focus on their local face-to-face communities and take pride and ownership in their remote and rural communities. Technology is implemented in a smart way, meaning it is coherent, sustainable, and synergetic, in order to improve the quality of life of every citizen and empower people to concentrate on what is essential for their families and self-fulfilment. When smart technology tools are interconnected and in constant communication with each other, the resulting new smart infrastructure will be larger than the sum of its parts and constantly improve thanks to its ability to self-adjust.  

Rural areas are the fabric of our society and the heartbeat of our economy. They are a core part of our identity and our economic potential. We will cherish and preserve our rural areas and invest in their future.”
– Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

With these words, on 30 June 2021, the European Commission put forward a long-term Vision for the EU’s rural areas, identifying the challenges, as well as highlighting some of the most promising opportunities for these regions. The Vision proposes a Rural Pact and an EU Rural Action Plan, which aim to make rural Europe stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous, and a series of flagship initiatives, amongst which, Smart Villages. 

European Commission Vice-President Dubravka Šuica endorses the European Smart Villages Forum

The mission of the ESVF is nothing less than to change the way we live in Europe. A sustainable lifestyle in which we are in touch with our natural environment and food production and live our life consciously with the help of smart, synergized technology that helps guide our daily behaviour towards a healthy and sustainable life. We want to generate a political milieu in the EU, which is conducive to the application of smart technologies in a rural environment. Thereby battling the pressing demographic challenge of land flight. 

The path of the ESVF will be bridging the gap between politics, businesses, and civil society, with the aim of smartly developing rural, remote, scarcely populated, and mountainous areas and elevating them into the 21st century. By bringing together diverse stakeholders under the umbrella of one single organization, with a defined goal, we believe we can build the case for a renewed interest in those areas.

The ESVF understands itself as a horizontal organization encompassing 5 pillars

The 5 Pillars

The ESVF will become a hub for all European Smart Villages initiatives. Connecting and supporting all relevant players in the area. It will promote its vision within the EU, national, regional, and local institutions and with multinational stakeholders and investors.

The ESVF’s politics are inclusive: solidarity, freedom of choice, family values, and ecological consciousness will go hand in hand, thereby unifying the core visions of our main European political families. 

The legal form of the ESVF will have a non-for-profit purpose of international utility with the aim to: 

  • Bring together and create synergies between diverse political, industry, academic, and civil society stakeholders.
  • Promote national, European, and international policies and initiatives that strengthen the full development of European and global Smart Villages.
  • Promote and coordinate research, development, and innovation in and of Smart Villages.
  • Be the leading and united voice of European Smart Villages.
  • Encourage external actors to develop concrete models and blueprints for the creation of pilot Smart Villages.
  • Develop collaborative measures of communication, which can be applied and useful to the citizens of European regions, in which model villages shall be established, in order to guarantee a participatory bottom-up approach.
  • Seeks to develop and maintain relations with international public and private institutions interested in Smart Villages.

In order to fullfill its purpose, the European Smart Villages Forum will:

  • Effectively and convincingly communicate and engage in political decision-making processes; 
  • Promote the interests of Smart Villages to stakeholders in politics and business;
  • Be a key information source of high quality, credible and accurate data; 
  • Organize and arrange congresses, conferences, seminars, workshops and other programs, convening and events which are key meeting points for the Smart Villages Community, setting the political agenda as well as providing the best networking and business opportunities; 
  • Support the creation of other entities, like public-private partnerships and consortia with the purpose of creating pilot Smart Villages;
  • Furthermore, support the efforts towards the creation of pilot Smart Villages by third parties, at all levels, including with the European institutions and in the Member States, in cooperation with its Members;
  • Collect and analyze statistical data;
  • Disseminate information and issue publications; and
  • Cooperate with and assist other initiatives and/or organizations having a purpose similar to the purpose of the Association, as well as other regional and/or international initiatives and/or organizations.

Revitalising Rural Areas

Smart villages are about people from rural areas who take the initiative to find practical solutions – both to the downsides and to the exciting new opportunities arising locally.
Courtesy of The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD)