The Smart Villages Initiative and the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) held a one-day workshop focusing on “Smart Rural Development: the Sustainable Development Goals and the New European Consensus on Development” in Brussels on 20 June 2017. The New European Consensus on Development was proposed in November 2016 and the European Parliament adopted its position in February 2017. On 7 June 2017 at the European Development Days the New Consensus was adopted by the EU Institutions and member states. This New Consensus will play a central role in how the Sustainable Development Goals are approached via European Union and member state policies.
To this end, the workshop gathered together policymakers, civil society, private sector
representatives, researchers, scientists, and others for a series of presentations and open
discussions under Chatham House Rule regarding the direction of the New Consensus and the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly focusing on people living in rural areas of developing countries that are at the bottom of the pyramid and part of the “last mile”. The aim of the workshop was to move the conversation forward regarding the implementation of the New Consensus and Sustainable Development Goals, engaging both top-down and bottom-up perspectives from policymakers and practitioners. A central premise was that ensuring an integrated and holistic approach to development—with a strong focus on the people most at risk of being “left behind”—should be a central part of the implementation of the New Consensus and Sustainable Development Goals.