The European LEADER Association for Rural Development (ELARD) is an international non-profit making association set up in 1999 by the National LEADER Networks of different EU Member States to improve the quality of life in rural areas and to maintain their population through sustainable, integrated local development.
ELARD supports its members (national LEADER networks) directly in their efforts to carry out innovative work in the field of rural development and to network with each other in order to cooperate and disseminate good LEADER practices and know-how from one territory to another.
Last year gave us good opportunities to get to know better our members, the potential that we have among ourselves. Country visits to FYROM-Macedonia, Poland, France, Slovenia, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden and Spain enabled to learn how LEADER works in real in our member countries. Moreover we could share first experiences of CLLD implementation in the frame of ELARD seminar “CLLD – how does it really work?” in Brussels, where we learned from our Swedish, Portuguese and Czech colleagues.
Our associated members – Polish LEADER Network and Croatian Rural Development Network became our full members and we welcomed Austrian LEADER Forum and Network of German LAGs as our new associated members. We celebrated 25 years of LEADER at ELARD conference in Estonia and worked out LEADER/CLLD declaration to say our word for 2020+ rural policy making and help the LEADER areas to get less rules and create more trust and understanding in the LEADER way of working.
In 2017 we are continuing with the policy work, animation and dissemination activities and strengthening and expansion of ELARD members network. There will be also many important events organized by ELARD:
In spring: LEADER/CLLD seminar with introduction of LEADER/CLLD declaration. Special session will be organized for MEPs;
4-6 August: LEADER/CLLD seminar in the frame of Estonian Rural Parliament;
9-12 October: LEADER/CLLD seminar at Open Days in Brussels;
18-21 October: European Rural Parliament in the Netherlands, LEADER/CLLD and integrated development project;
In autumn: Kick-off meeting for ENPARD project.