1. Key messages about local development and CLLD in this country
Activities, advice and funding – this is LEADER and CLLD!
The main idea behind CLLD is to harness the expertise, know-how and activities of local residents for the development of the area. In Finland, the Board of Directors which decides on the projects to be financed is elected on the basis of the fundamental tripartite principle, with one third of the members representing local public administration, the other third representing local associations and businesses and the remaining third representing the inhabitants of the region. The CLLD delivery system in Finland is extremely efficient, with projects being approved and paid within a few weeks of their selection by the LAG. This is due to a high level of trust and good cooperation between LAGs and the intermediate bodies (ELY Centres).
3. Possibility of multi-funding (linking several Funds in one strategy)
There is a high degree of cooperation between LEADER LAGs and EMFF FLAGs: usually the FLAG area covers several LAGs and one of them manages the EMFF funding; however, the strategies are separate so there is no formal multi-funding.
ESF and ERDF activities can be implemented by LAGs to advance the strategy’s objectives but only by funding of individual projects.
4. Number of LAGs
Number of LAGs using this Fund
Total number of LAGs
*The total number of LAGs is not the sum of LAGs using EAFRD and EMFF, because, as explained above, the EMFF is managed by the same organisations as EAFRD, even if the strategies are separate, so there are 64 strategies but only 54 LAGs.
5. Purposes, objectives for which CLLD is used
Under EAFRD, LAGs support a wide range of projects in line with the needs of the local communities. LEADER LAGs cover all the rural areas in Finland.
Under EMFF, CLLD is used to enable the development of areas situated on the seaside or lakesides with professional fishing and fishing tourism businesses. Also, in LAG areas with cities ineligible for EAFRD funding, ESF and ERDF are used on a project-by-project basis to support urban activities.
6. State of play
CLLD with EAFRD is at the moment in transition phase, i.e. due to delays in EU legislation, funding from the 2021-2027 period can be used until 2023 according to the rules of 2014-2020 period, and projects can be funded non-stop. EMFF CLLD is coming to an end with the expiry of the programming period 2014-2020 as most FLAGs have already granted all their funding for projects. Calls for ERDF or ESF have not been opened yet for 2021-2027 period.
7. Key achievements so far
In the 10,000 plus EAFRD projects, in addition to the public funding, over € 202 million worth of funding and work-in-kind has been invested in the development of rural areas by entrepreneurs and NGOs. Over 4 million hours of voluntary work has been done. In EMFF over 204 projects have been granted some € 8.1 million. With ESF, urban CLLD has started and has been developed further in several middle-sized cities and the participatory method has been tested with good success, even in the capital Helsinki.
8. Key barriers encountered
CLLD is not accepted that easily in all regions and programmes so in some areas it is relatively challenging for LAGs to, for instance, apply for ESF or ERDF funding. Sometimes the interpretation of regulations also varies a lot within the country which puts beneficiaries in an unequal position.
9. Some national specificities
It is easier for LAGs to run their activities as municipalities contribute 20% of the public funding for the whole programming period. This is paid mostly in advance and makes it easier for LAGs to plan their activities and cope with finances. Tripartite boards ensure the impartial balance in decision making in LAGs and FLAGs. The fact that board members have a limited term of office also contributes to impartiality. To assure continuity, one third of board members is changed every year.
Main author: Marjo Tolvanen
Series coordination and editing: Urszula Budzich-Tabor, Stefan Kah, Haris Martinos
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