Community-Led Local Development

Since it was launched in 1991 by the European Commission as a Community Initiative, the LEADER approach has evolved into a mainstream rural development policy tool that has attracted a high level of interest within the EU and beyond, not only in rural but also in urban and coastal areas.

See the LEADER infographic [PDF ] for more information about how LEADER has evolved and the latest achievements.

In the new programming period, Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) has been proposed as a tool for involving citizens at local level in developing responses to social, environmental and economic challenges. It is expected that CLLD will facilitate the implementation of integrated approaches among the European Structural and Investment Funds (ERDF, ESF, EMFF and EAFRD). Member States will need to specify in their partnership contract how they intend to support CLLD and indicate in which programmes and areas CLLD may be used. While CLLD is optional for the ERDF, the ESF, and the EMFF, it is compulsory for the EAFRD. Thus key LEADER components, such as Local Action Groups, Local Development Strategies, and area and population coverage are being maintained.

The new CLLD approach allows LEADER-type support to be better coordinated with local development support from other EU funds and should reinforce the links between rural, urban and fisheries areas.

For a general overview of CLLD consult the specific section of the ENRD website.

Access relevant ENRD and other resources, guidance documents, tools and inspiring examples of LEADER implementation by clicking on the sections provided below.

Lessons from 2007-2013

A selection of links to relevant ENRD work that provides a deeper understanding of the LEADER and CLLD approach to rural development.

Examples of LEADER implementation

Find below examples of LEADER and TNC projects, relevant case studies and stories of successful RDP implementation

  • The EAFRD projects brochure on LEADER [PDF ] illustrates and underscores the added-value of LEADER, by means of concrete EAFRD-funded project examples.

  • The Info-sheet series “Better LEADER practices for Local Development Strategies across the EU” shows relevant practice examples that Managing Authorities and Local Action Groups have used while implementing the LEADER approach in the 2007-2013 period. The series aims to highlight what works well in the design and delivery phase of Local Development Strategies (LDS). For more detailed information follow the links to each info-sheet below:
    • Multi-step LAG Selection Procedure (FI) [PDF ]
    • Multi-stage Project Application and Continuous Monitoring Scheme (UK) [PDF ]
    • Clear rules and methodologies to ensure multi sector integration in local strategies (GR) [PDF ]
    • Making LDS goals easily measurable to capture LEADER’s added value (IE) [PDF ]
    • Practical checklist for LAGs preparing their Local Development Strategies (SE) [PDF ]
    • Supporting LAG independence and objective decision-making (FI) [PDF ]
    • Inter-LAG evaluation process (FI) [PDF ]
    • Enhancing LEADER’s regional flavour (FR) [PDF ]
    • Integrating Corporate Social Responsibility into LEADER projects (ES) [PDF ]
    • Integrating LDS into wider territorial planning (ES) [PDF ]
    • Better monitoring and evaluation of LEADER (IT) [PDF ]
    • Using participatory methodologies to design quality Local Development Strategies (IT) [PDF ]

Find inspiring real-life examples of LEADER and TNC projects supported under the 2007-2013 RDPs

Preparation for 2014-2020

Useful information regarding preparations for programming and implementation of CLLD in rural and non-rural areas.

  • Information on the EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020
  • The Guidance on Community-led Local Development in European Structural and Investment Funds [PDF ] (developed by DG AGRI, DG EMPL, DG MARE and DG REGIO) is aiming to help the MA in MS in creating conditions for effectively using CLLD in their Partnership Agreements and to design it in their respective programmes. In complementarity to this, the Guidance on Community-Led Local Development for Local Actors [PDF ] provides some practical tools and suggestions for Local Action Groups implementing CLLD.
  • The NRN Thematic Initiative on CLLD serves primarily as an exchange forum for National Rural Networks. The updated version of the mapping CLLD report (December 2013) supports the work of the NRN thematic cluster on CLLD and describes the state-of-play of CLLD implementation in Member States, including planning, multi-funded models and approaches for funds harmonisation.
  • Initiatives relevant to CLLD implementation including its application in non-rural areas.
  • Community-Led Local Development workshops were organised by DG AGRI and ENRD CP in the context of 10th European Week of Regions and Cities - OPEN DAYS. The aim was to generate discussions on the preparation, design, implementation and management of Local Development Strategies (LDS), to create an understanding of how networking can be used as a tool to mobilise actors, and to publicise widely the added value of transnational cooperation between local territories.
  • Factsheets on “Community-led Local Development” [PDF ] (By DG REGIO) highlight key elements on the future approach.
  • The Seminar on Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) in ESI funds 2014-2020 organised on 6 February 2013, provided guidance and advice on CLLD regarding the programming aspects within the parameters of the Common Strategic Framework 2014-2020
  • Workshop on Community-Led Local Development was organised by the ENRD with the objectives to exchange information and ideas for the future programming period and to identify the needs of stakeholders in this context and the possible role of networks in the preparatory phase.
  • The workshop on Financing for LEADER/CLLD: Opportunities and relevant practices was organised on 12 November 2013 as part of the ENRD activities supporting the preparation of the 2014-2020 programming period. The workshop outlined specific funding challenges of LEADER/CLLD and identified effective funding mechanisms for LEADER/CLLD and how these can be integrated into the relevant policy delivery mechanisms.
  • Guidance on the LAG selection process adopted by the Scottish government which is key to the implementation of the Scottish LEADER approach in the 2014-2020 period, providing support for the introduction of CLLD in the Local Development Strategy (LDS) preparation, and including other ‘tips and tricks’