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New Common Charter gathering of rural community development organisations from Northern Ireland and Wales

Posted On: 24 May 2023

East-West North-South


The Centre for Cross Border Studies was delighted to organise a gathering of rural community development organisations from Wales and Northern Ireland, as part of the New Common Charter project. The event was kindly hosted by the Consulate General of Ireland in Cardiff on 24 May.

Civic society organisations working on rural community issues in Wales, Ireland, and Northern Ireland have built successful cross-border relationships of cooperation, recognising the many overlapping concerns, challenges and opportunities for rural development within and between these islands.

However, this is not without its challenges. Differing policy contexts across all three jurisdictions and the UK’s departure from the EU threaten to put a strain on the capacity and resources of rural development organisations engaging in cooperation.

This gathering considered challenges and lessons for cooperation in a changing landscape as well as exploring existing and potential mechanisms for continued East-West cooperation. It also provided a chance for Welsh organisations to engage with their Northern Ireland counterparts on shared challenges and common opportunities between these islands.

Attendees received an overview of the context for rural development in Northern Ireland from Aidan Campbell of Rural Community Network as well as a presentation of the Looking Back to Go Forward report from Professor Ruth McAreavey (Newcastle University), which considers rural development funding processes and delivery now that the LEADER programme has come to an end.

Participants discussed the shared concerns they had about the future of rural development within and between these islands. In particular they expressed a strong desire for shared knowledge and cross-border networking opportunities to be included in any future programmes.

The gathering was an initiative of the ‘New Common Charter for Cooperation Within and Between these Islands’. The Charter is a set of agreed principles created by and for civic society organisations participating in north-south and east-west cooperation. It acts as an informal network of civic society groups committed to identifying cross-border opportunities to collaborate to solve shared problems or exploit common resources.

To learn more about the Charter and to find out how your civil society organization can become a supporter, email Nick at