Managing the Network
Support for transnational, inter-territorial and other forms of cooperation
In accordance with Article 54(3) of the Rural Development Regulation (RDR) No 1305/2013 [PDF ] National Rural Networks (NRNs) are required to provide technical assistance to Local Action Groups (LAGs) for inter-territorial and transnational cooperation. The scope of provision of technical assistance required has been extended compared to 2007-2013 period, and now includes assistance for partner-search according to Article 35 (on co-operation) within the same regulation.
According to the Draft NRN Guidance Fiche, technical assistance for inter-territorial and transnational cooperation is expected to particularly contribute to the NRNs objectives set by the RDR on (i) improvement of stakeholder involvement; (ii) improvement of the quality of RDP implementation; and, (iv) fostering of innovation.
Experience from the 2007-2013 programming period demonstrates that setting-up cooperation projects, especially TNC actions, is not always easy. There are several challenges to overcome, including differences in regulatory frameworks between Member States, different languages and cultures, differences in experiences (with some countries or LAGs being more experienced than others) and identifying the right partners. It has been particularly challenging to identify partners who share similar needs, aspire to the same goals, have relevant competences/experience for working on the chosen cooperation topic and have the necessary experience to engage in transnational cooperation. It is also very important to ensure that the projects focus on using the cooperation to help each partner gain added value from the project, in terms of achieving development outcomes that they could not have achieved by working just on their own. The cooperation needs to produce synergy.
NSUs can provide different forms of support to LAGs at the different stages of transnational and inter-territorial cooperation development: starting from the search for partners, through the planning, implementation an monitoring of projects. Support may include:
- Online assistance with partner search
- Study or exchange visits
- Organisation of events
- Guidance documents , studies and publications
- Cooperation coordinators
- Facilitating exchanges, technical meetings and trainings
“European LAG Exchange programme”
In 2007-2013, ELARD (European Leader Association for Rural Development) launched an initiative to foster peer learning. The initiative offered European LAGs the possibility for international staff exchange, and to cooperate and network on an international level without necessarily having to create their own TNC project yet. The international staff exchange involved educational visits (of some three weeks), arranged between two participating LAGs. The exchange was reciprocal, meaning that the same LAG sent and received a visitor. In order to learn about the exchange of experiences, the participants in the LAG´s Staff Exchange Programme submitted “Exchange diaries” that can also be found online