Seminars and Conferences
Brussels, Belgium - 27-28 April 2012
Following on from the successful event for ‘new’ LAGs in January 2011, the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) organized the “LEADER Event 2012: Local Development Strategies and Cooperation” in Brussels on 27-28 April 2012.
The event brought together around 400 participants – including representatives of over 250 LAGs - to share their experiences, explore further co-operation and take a first look at the possible future of LEADER.
The overall focus of the event was upon three themes: improving the quality of the implementation of local development strategies; integrating co-operation as a key component of local development strategies, and; encouraging a new wave of transnational cooperation (TNC) projects. The format of the event was active and participatory with the aim of encouraging maximum interaction between participants.
On these pages you will find the documents and resources that were available to participants as background for the main topics of discussion, as well as the programme and main outcomes from the event.
For photographs of the event see here
For a video about the event made by the French National Rural Network, click here (in french)
Local Development Strategies
All Local Action Groups (LAGs) have responsibility for designing and implementing a Local Development Strategy (LDS) – this is a key principle of the LEADER approach. However, in practice, designing a high quality LDS can prove to be demanding.
The 2010 special report of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) on the implementation of LEADER highlighted a number of weaknesses in relation to LDSs and emphasised the need for improvement. These findings prompted the establishment of an ENRD Focus Group (so-called Focus Group 4) on ‘Better Local Development Strategies’ in order to advise the EU-27 Member States on supporting improvements in the quality of LDSs prepared by LAGs in the current and future programming period.
The work of Focus Group 4 is divided into two phases:
- Phase 1 is focused mainly on the design of the LDSs – the Phase 1 report can be downloaded here [PDF ]
- Phase 2 on implementation and monitoring and evaluation of strategies (work still in progress)
For further information on Focus Group 4 visit the following page.
A dedicated issue of the EU Rural Review on LEADER and Cooperation (April 2012) was prepared to support the event and can be downloaded from here.
|Issue 11 - LEADER and Cooperation (April 2012)
This issue focuses on the inter-relationship between two key elements of the LEADER approach - local development strategies and cooperation.
Further tools for supporting transnational cooperation (TNC) between LAGs can be found on the ENRD website:
EU Rural Development Policy after 2013
The future of LEADER after 2013 is still (May 2012) under discussion, but some information is available from the European Commission on the future framework for rural development and on the proposed approach to Community-Led Local Development.
The following presentations were made during the workshop on '2014-2020 Strategic Programming and RDP Monitoring and Evaluation' on 14-15 March, 2012:
The LEADER Event 2012 was organised using a participatory approach. All of the activities in the programme were carefully created to facilitate meaningful and practical discussions about the need to strengthen Local Development Strategies and the opportunities to develop a new wave of transnational cooperation projects.
DAY 1 (27 April 2012)
Opening Plenary Session
Panel Discussion – Why Local Development Strategies and Cooperation? - representatives from DG AGRI, ELARD, Focus Group 4, LAGs, ENRD Contact Point and FARNET
DAY 2 (28 April 2012)
Workshop A - DESIGN of stronger Local Development Strategies
Workshop A - Posters for ‘Show-casing’ of relevant practices for the design of stronger LDS
Decentralisation of LAG selection Procedure - Hanane Allali Puz, (French National Rural Network)
Some of the key messages which came out from workshop A on the “Design of stronger Local Development Strategies”:
- The preparation of the LDS should be considered as multi-stage and iterative process. It should be interactive, include dialogue between MA, LAGs, evaluators etc. and foresee reviewing and updating of the strategy if needed, divided into shorter time periods;
- The LDS should be flexible, simple and concrete with clear guidelines that make simplicity possible;
- The LDS should not be based on funding or be developed just as combination of measures, but on well-defined goals / targets, and be based on analysis of the territory, needs, capacities and assets;
- Developing a stronger LDS will require better coordination of existing partnerships (e.g. LAGs and FLAGs etc.) under the principle “One partnership, one area”;
- Linking rural and urban economies - concerns exist on the complex administrative and delivery system so there is a need for simplification and cooperation between actors in different funds;
- “LEADER II come back”! The LDS should be again innovative and supportive with less bureaucracy;
- Strengthen the bottom-up approach and involve as many diverse stakeholders / local actors as possible in the preparation of LDS;
- Using multiple funds will create the opportunity for designing better and more integrated strategies. However, this will require harmonization of EU rules for all funds in all MS;
- A combined and coherent approach at both funding and strategic level is necessary. The work should start from now and not at the beginning of the next programming period in 2014;
- Clearer and more practical guidance. Informing the LAGs what funds can be used for what and when.
Workshop B – IMPLEMENTATION of Stronger Local Development Strategies
Introduction to Workshop B presentations
Panel discussion “Sharing experiences of the implementation of LDS and measuring LDS performance”
During Workshop B the following elements of the LDS implementation process were reflected upon:
- beneficiaries are active partners in the LDS implementation, therefore mobilising the stakeholders at all levels and involving them in the design and implementation of the LDS is key to success;
- clear division of tasks and competences between actors involved is needed;
- an LDS should be dynamic and regularly reviewed with the possibility to adjust it to changes that occur with the time;
- it is important to evaluate the LDS performance on an on-going basis;
- monitoring and evaluation aspects should be considered in early design of the LDS, with the focus being on objectives that are measurable;
- dialogue between Managing Authority (MA) and LAGs is needed in order to identify “smart” M&E indicators which are really suitable for demonstrating the benefits of the LEADER;
- project have to be selected in line with the LDS objectives, therefore effective selection criteria should be defined accordingly;
- capacity building of actors in all level is considered to be very important (training, coaching and mentoring);
- animation as a tool should be also reinforced in the future;
- communication aspects should not be neglected, including: communication of LDS objectives to potential beneficiaries; communication of results to LAG members and local community; developing and maintaining contacts between the various levels;
- self-evaluation done by LAGs is a good tool for the assessment of the LDS progress;
- a hybrid evaluation model that combines both internal and external approaches to measurement was proposed as a solution.
Closing Plenary Session
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