a campaigning organisation, for the well-being of the people and the heritage of rural Europe; and
a networking organisation, which seeks to support, and to encourage cooperation between, its members as they pursue their activities in rural areas.
We offer services at international and national level.
ECOVAST has consultative status with the Council of Europe, and has taken part in the regular meetings of the Council's Rural and Environmental Interest Group. We played an active part in the Council's European Countryside Campaign 1987-88, and in the Council's Campaign "Europe : A Common Heritage"1999-2000.
We have consultative status with the European Commission. For many years until July 2014, ECOVAST attended the European Commission's Advisory Group on Rural Development, and was able to participate in detailed consideration of the Common Agricultural policy. The Commission revised the composition of the civil dialogue
groups on the CAP and PREPARE, as an umbrella organisation of which ECOVAST is a founder member, retains a place on the group, representing ECOVAST among other NGOs. We are represented at major European events related to European policy. We submit reactions to major consultative documents from the Commission and other bodies.
We have formal working relations with many other European rural and heritage organizations. We have taken a strong stand on certain crucial issues, notably the protest against the now discontinued systematisation programme in Romania and the review of brown coal mining in Central Europe.
We offer the following services to our members at European level:
Annual General Assemblies, with accompanying events (Symposia, Tours etc). These are held in Autumn of each year, each time in a different country.
Conferences, Symposia and other events. Each year, ECOVAST organises at least one major event, sometimes in association with other organisations. Events in recent years have included:
International Working Groups. We have two international Working Groups – Landscape and Rural Architecture. These Groups exchange experience and encourage informal contact between their members. See Contacts for the list of officers of these Working Groups.
ECOVAST News, published regularly in English, French and German.
News from ECOVAST, available on the Website.
The "Strategy for Rural Europe", now available in English, French, German, Croatian and other languages. This is the main statement of ECOVAST's policies, and has been widely circulated to decision-makers and interested groups throughout Europe.
ECOVAST Publications. These include the Strategy (see above) and a number of other policy statements or handbooks.
Technical missions. At the request of our members, or of governments and other organisations in different countries, we have been able to send experts from within the ECOVAST network to a number of countries to advise on aspects of rural development, rural tourism, heritage protection and other issues. Examples of such work include:
The national sections organise activities in each of these countries, according to their perception of the needs and priorities of the countries and the interests of the members there. Such activities may include:
translation and publication of the ECOVAST "Strategy for Rural Europe" in the national language;
translation of other ECOVAST literature, News etc into the national language, for use by their members and others;
campaigns on issues related to the well-being of the rural people and the rural heritage;
organisation of seminars, conferences, training events etc;
publication of reports, handbooks, tourist guides and other material;
organising of technical missions to, or exchanges with, other countries, often using the ECOVAST international network; and
practical initiatives, for example related to the restoration of traditional buildings and the creation of facilities for rural tourism.