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The Cantabrian countryside

Cantabria has an official strategy to fight depopulation

Cantabria has an official strategy to fight depopulation

Levelling the provision of services across urban and rural localities is part of it

On 8 June, the Government of Cantabria published its formal Strategy against the Demographic Challenge and against Rural Depopulation in the regional Official Gazette. This includes 344 different actions, organized in twelve categories, that are aimed at achieving a sense of territorial cohesion in the northern Spanish region. It also seeks to provide equal opportunities to all residents regardless of their domicile – be it in an urban or a rural locality.

Addressing the urban-rural divide and discrepancies - main causes of the problem

The twelve lines of action bring together different interventions in rural areas to facilitate, in turn, their connection with urban areas through the consolidation and growth of the productive fabric, the promotion of the primary sector, the guarantee of public services of quality and better taxation.

Likewise, it establishes measures to improve the collective image of rural ways of life, favour the empowerment of the elderly population and, in relation to this, favour the social economy, support plans for minors and families, and ensure advances in long-term care.

Lastly, this strategy considers the advancement of governance, participation and coordination as crucial for the management of public policies on the demographic challenge, together with territorial cohesion, through urban planning instruments. It also sees the development of supra-municipal mechanisms, such as regions.

The regional Minister of the Presidency, Interior, Justice and Foreign Action, Paula Fernández Viaña, highlighted the importance of this document, which she described as an "essential political and budgetary commitment for the future of Cantabria".

The government that she is part of has already launched some of the actions contemplated, which have meant the provision of greater resources in the rural environment of Cantabria. Among them, the Minister has cited tax incentives, the extension of internet broadband, improvements in rural transport and the reduction of the teaching ratios to 10 students per teacher in these environments.

In her opinion, with this strategy, Cantabria has a “road map” to deploy the different projected actions with which to reverse the loss of population, population dispersion and low density, as well as overall demographic ageing. "We are going to work so that any Cantabrian, wherever he lives, has equal rights and opportunities," she concluded.

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