Joint organiser: Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda

Organised concurrently with the 25th UNFCC Conference of the Parties (COP25), this Policy Lab explored the drivers of, and possible solutions to, the accelerating phenomenon of depopulation affecting small towns and cities in rural Europe. Known in Spain as “España Vacía” or “Empty Spain”, the phenomenon of rural depopulation represents a policy puzzle for Europe as a whole.

This event brought together experts from Spain, Slovenia and the Netherlands, whose presentations highlighted the need for de-ruralisation strategies to adapt to inevitable demographic and environmental trends.Five thematic working groups then delved into the key links between de-ruralisation and climate change, the economic and productive sectors, tourism and heritage, and reference policy frameworks such as the Urban Agenda for the EU, as well as leveraging innovation and systemic change to remedy rural depopulation.