Research calls for rural and island communities to be seen in a new light following Covid.

Research led by CoDeL and funded as part of the Northern Periphery and Artic Programme has found that while the health and economic disruptions caused by Covid-19 are undeniable, on balance many rural and island areas have performed relatively well during the pandemic by drawing on a wide range of resilience factors both for health and the economy.

The 12 partners from Ireland, Finland, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Canada (universities and research institutes, public, private and third sector organisations) and led from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland make 18 recommendations for a new approach to policy and action for rural and island communities challenging traditional perspective on peripherality.

Far from regions defined by their vulnerability and disadvantage and the need to ‘catch up’ with more developed central regions “the picture that emerges from the extensive evidence of this project demonstrates peripheral communities have often shown remarkable resilience, drawing on many local assets and strengths, demonstrating significant flexibility and adaptation, generating much innovation and creativity (from technology to sustainable living) and many localised solutions. Often borne out of necessity, peripheral communities have tapped into their long history, rooted in generations of experience, of having to respond and adapt to changes and crises.  They have turned what are often regarded as the challenges of peripherality to their advantage during Covid-19 as resilience factors”.

A series of 10 reports based on extensive desk research, 80 interview and almost 30 case studies across a range of sectors, the “analysis is rooted in the lived experience and voices of rural and island communities during the pandemic. The analysis is not seen through the lens of researchers who have little experience of life in remote areas, but was conducted and evaluated by researchers, many of whom themselves live in rural and island communities”. Thomas Fisher, Project Manager and Director at CoDeL.

Read the Citizen’s summary here: CovidEcon Citizen Summary

Access the full reports on the CoDel website:http://www.codel.scot

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