Liaison Entre Actions de Developpement de l’Economie Rurale
“Links between actions for the development of the rural economy”
What is LEADER approach?
LEADER is the EU initiative that began in 1990s.
LEADER approach is a mechanism for implementation of rural development policy measures of the European Union. It is based on the implementation of local development strategies that are managed by local action groups (LAG).
The approach is based on sustainable rural development, which involves environmental, social and economic aspects of development in rural areas.
It connects the public, private and civil sector which have common goals and priorities, with the mobilization and transfer of rural development into their communities.
In this approach, the area implies geographically homogeneous entity that shares some common characteristics, such as social cohesion, sense of common identity, common history and common needs and expectations.
LEADER is different from other rural development policy because it shows us HOW to act, and not WHAT we should do.
LEADER is based on seven basic principles that work as a guideline for local development, considering the particularity of the rural area where it was founded and for which is responsible:
- The approach based on the characteristics of the area – any rural area has its own characteristics, resources, uniqueness and recognition on which we have to build our future.
- Bottom-up approach – including all available forces in local communities to contribute to the development of new ideas and possible solutions.
- Establishing local partnerships – connecting, establishing partnerships and developing culture of cooperation have a crucial importance. LEADER΄s original idea is creation of local public – private partnerships in the form of local action groups – LAGs.
- Innovation – the tradition is certainly the basis for sustainable rural development, but innovations are necessary to present traditional values in a new and competitive way.
- Integrated and multisectoral approach – connecting different sectors, as well as connecting local, regional and national institutions, which is particularly important in achieving sustainable rural development.
- Networking – connecting, learning best practices, transfering and exchanging of knowledge and experience are of particular importance in the implementation of LEADER principles, because in this way the individual cases create a common web development of European rural areas and provide mutual help and support.
- Cooperation – one step foward from networking, important for launching and implementing joint projects of two or more LAGs within a country, region and / or the European Union.