Rural Territorial Development policy approach was launched in Europe to foster rural development under the LEADER initiative. It sparked off great interest in Latin America. We analyse the role played by RTD principles in the dynamics and evolution of four rural areas in Spain and Nicaragua. In doing so, we provideempirical understanding on the validity of the principles to boost rural change and contribute to evidencebased policy-making.Methodologically, we explore the use of participatory prospective tools that apprehend rural areas’ evolving and complex nature. The potential of Prospective Structural Analysis to describe rural dynamics, and to support social changes and decision-making is tested.