LEADER[i] is a local development method which has been used for 20 years to engage local actors in the design and delivery of strategies, decision-making and resource allocation for the development of their rural areas.
It is implemented by around 2 600 Local Action Groups (LAGs), covering over 54% of the rural population in the EU and bringing together public, private and civil-society stakeholders in a particular area.
In the rural development context, LEADER is implemented under the national and regional Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) of each EU Member State, co-financed from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).[ii]
In the 2014-2020 programming period, the LEADER method has been extended under the broader term Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) to three additional EU Funds:
- the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF);
- the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); and
- the European Social Fund (ESF).
Although LEADER is obligatory only under the EAFRD, a single action can now be supported under two or more of the four EU Funds at the same time through the concept of multi-funded CLLD. Where this is applied, it enables LAGs to comprehensively integrate local needs and solutions and helps to reinforce the links between rural, urban and fisheries areas.
EU guidance and legislation
- Common Provisions Regulation No 1303/2013 for the European Structural and Investment Funds
- Guidance on Community-Led Local Development in European Structural and Investment Funds (June 2014) [PDF ]
- Guidance on Community-Led Local development for Local Actors (May 2014) [PDF ]
- Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (Amended proposal adopted on 22/04/2013) [PDF ]
CLLD outside rural areas
- Community-Driven Development (CDD) programs, World Bank
- Urban-rural linkages & RURBAN, DG REGIO
- Implementing CLLD in cities, URBACT
- Cooperation between LEADER LAGs and Fisheries LAGs, FARNET
[i] The term ‘LEADER’ originally came from the French acronym for "Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l'Économie Rurale", meaning 'Links between the rural economy and development actions'.