1. Key messages about local development and CLLD in this country
LEADER started in the early 2000s in Lithuania. In the 2004-06 period, 10 pilot local development strategies were successfully implemented under the LEADER+ measure. In the 2007-13 period, the LEADER approach was expanded to 51 LAGs covering the entire Lithuanian rural territory, with significantly increased funding.
In the 2007-13 period, LEADER mostly focused on the creation of public infrastructure and responses to the needs of local residents and communities, including public services. Less attention was given to the creation of jobs and the promotion of local enterprise. During this period, combining several Funds was not possible, but LEADER started being applied also under the EMFF in single-Fund fisheries LAGs.
Intense discussions started in 2013 about multi-funding LAGs, primarily regarding fisheries LAGs, also concerning CLLD implementation in urban territories. Yet, no agreement was reached about a combined implementation of CLLD between urban and rural territories. While rural and fisheries LAGs were more advanced, urban LAGs were only just being set up. In 2014-20, there were only three multi-Fund LAGs, between EAFRD and EMFF. The coastal FLAGs wanted to implement specific measures funded only through a mono-Fund local development strategy (LDS), while the three multi-funded LDSs are implemented by LAGs that are covering inland water territories.
The managing authority of those two Funds is the Ministry of Agriculture. Where more than one Fund is used, the more experienced EAFRD is the main Fund in terms of size. The LDSs were evaluated by independent experts, they were then appraised and selected by a project selection committee, consisting of representatives from other ministries, NGOs, research institutions and consulting bodies.
An active partner of the Ministry of Agriculture is the LAG network, an association that includes all Lithuanian multi-sector LAGs. The LAG network is engaged in communication activities, dissemination of information, organising educational and other events, and it is also taking part in legislative and monitoring processes.
3. Possibility of multi-funding (linking several Funds in one strategy)
Three LDSs use EAFRD and EMFF, but funding at the local project level is from one Fund only. Although there is the possibility to implement integrated local projects, attracting funding from both Funds, investments need to be clearly separated, with indicators also planned separately. In practice, this meant that such dual-funded projects were not implemented, as applicants found this approach too complicated.
4. Number of LAGs
Number of LAGs using this Fund
Total number of LAGs
Multi-funding is only used in three cases between rural and fisheries funding. The 39 urban LAGs operate separately.
5. Purposes, objectives for which CLLD is used
In Lithuania, the LDSs are covering three main themes:
- job creation and economic development
- reduction of social exclusion and poverty
Every LAG develops its specific measures independently.
6. State of play
The implementation of the EAFRD LEADER measure started on time. Payments in March 2021 stood at 46.9%. Support granted to local projects (signed support agreements) were at 68.1%, including also project applications currently in the appraisal phase increases this figure to 80.2%. The managing authority is confident that the allocated budget will be used by the end of the programme period. For the EMFF, the implementation of CLLD started with considerable delay and commitments and payments for fisheries beneficiaries are lagging behind those of LEADER.
The implementation of CLLD in urban areas is well advanced. By the end of March 2021, 58.6% of the funding had been paid out.
7. Key achievements so far
The implementation of 2,093 EAFRD and EMFF projects created 743 new jobs, resulting in a target indicator achievement of 77.39%. In addition, the projects that are currently being implemented are expected to create 681 new jobs. The number of people benefiting from implemented projects, e.g. using better infrastructure and receiving better services, is 227,584 (target indicator overachieved).
8. Key barriers encountered
In some cases, the understanding of the regulatory provisions by the local actors differs, thus the beneficiaries find themselves in different positions. Also, legal constraints concerning changes to projects often prevents innovative or pilot type activities. Under EMFF, the processes of project approval and payment were initially very slow due to administrative barriers and duplication of tasks; some of these barriers were removed in 2019 and implementation accelerated. However, innovative approaches are to a large extent limited by constraining national legislation.
9. Some national specificities
The possibility to apply prepayment methods from national sources accelerated LEADER/CLLD implementation and improved the financial situation for new organisations or businesses, especially the interventions are of a community or social type.
In some territories, local governments contribute to community projects by co-financing up to 20% of the costs, which helps communities to take positive decisions about participation in the LDS with service and business projects.
CLLD strategies in urban areas are coherent with regional development plans and Integrated Territorial Investments (ITI) focused on sustainable urban development. In order to foster the implementation of the CLLD mechanism in urban areas, all strategies are co-funded by 7.5% from the national budget and some municipalities are covering the remaining 7.5% of co-financing for projects.
Main author: Ilona Javičienė
Series coordination and editing: Urszula Budzich-Tabor, Stefan Kah, Haris Martinos
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