Plenary paper to Regional Studies Association Winter Conference, ‘Regions and the Environment’, November 2010

Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

Sustainable development is widely regarded as a necessary principle for the resilience of Europe’s rural regions. However, formulating a strategy for sustainable development involves the careful negotiation of multiple scales of environmental discourse, from the global down to the local. Global environmental issues such as climate change are instrumental in shaping the parameters of regional development, positing perceived new opportunities for rural regions in fields such as renewable energy production, but also presenting challenges for regions with a traditional economic base in activities such as mining or intensive agriculture. At the same time, regional development strategies need also to respond to local environmental concerns, such as pollution or landscape
despoilment, which can either amplify or conflict with global concerns. This paper draws on research undertaken as part of an EU FP7 project, DERREG (Developing Europe’s Rural Regions in the Era of Globalisation) to examine how these different environmental perspectives have been negotiated in the formulation of regional development strategies across five case study regions: County Roscommon (Ireland), Pomurska (Slovenia), Jihomoravský kraj (Czech Republic), Direktionsbezirk Dresden (Germany) and Saarland (Germany). The paper combines evidence from the analysis of policy documents and media reports, and from interviews with key actors, to discuss how strategies for sustainable rural development in each of these regions respond to different regional environmental concerns and priorities, and reflect differential responses to common global environmental issues.