The World journal has published a new article entitled “CLLD in the 2014–2020 EU Programming Period: An Innovative Framework for Local Development”, by Stefan Kah, Haris Martinos and Urszula Budzich-Tabor. The paper builds on the country summaries and horizontal analyses developed as part of LDnet’s CLLD in Europe initiative, and includes extensive reflections on ‘The Experience with CLLD Implementation’ (Purpose, Barriers, Achievements, The urban dimension of CLLD).
We present here the abstract and conclusions of the paper. The links to the paper online and the PDF version are below.
This paper presents an overview of how the Community-led Local Development (CLLD)
instrument has been used in the EU in the 2014–2020 programming period. It provides a typology
of countries applying the options offered by CLLD and illustrates the various ways in which the
different eligible EU funds were contributing financially. The article discusses the experiences made
with CLLD implementation, focusing on the purpose for which CLLD was implemented, the barriers
encountered, and the achievements so far. A particular look is taken at the urban dimension of CLLD
as one of the innovative elements of the 2014–2020 programming period. Overall, CLLD can bring
significant added value for the targeted territories and can foster an increased policy integration.
However, challenges remain, particularly around administrative complexities, and these impact on
the willingness of policy-makers to make use of the full range of options offered by CLLD. Indeed,
looking into 2021–2027, there are countries discontinuing CLLD, but, at the same time, the CLLD
model is being expanded where experiences have been predominantly positive.
The CLLD seems now to have reached the status of a well-established policy instrument
in different EU funds and different types of areas. The diversity of its application
models makes it difficult, on the one hand, to draw general conclusions about its impact
at the EU level, but—on the other hand—shows its extreme flexibility and adaptability to
national, regional, and local contexts.
In the 2021–2027 programming period, CLLD will continue, albeit with some loss of
regulatory integration of the various EU funding sources that can be used. Purely EAFRDfunded
CLLD will continue to be referred to, as LEADER and the EAFRD are no longer
covered by the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) that governs the other funds eligible
for CLLD, although the operation of LEADER LAGs is still governed by the CLLD rules
set out in the CPR). For LEADER, the compulsory minimum allocation of 5% remains, but
there is no compulsory CLLD allocation under other funds.
Some Member States are abandoning the cohesion policy-funded element of CLLD
(Portugal, Slovakia, and Sweden). The reasons for this are diverse and not always purely
related to experiences of inefficient implementation. Others will continue existing models
(e.g., Austria, Czechia, and Germany), some will expand the use of CLLD (e.g., Lithuania,
the Netherlands, and Poland), and Estonian LAGs will start using ESF funding in addition
to rural and fisheries funding. At the time of writing (December 2022), it was not possible
to present a comprehensive overview of CLLD uptake.
As one of the most innovative elements, urban CLLD will also continue, and it will
be expanded to more LAGs, in, at least, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Romania. A new
element is that funding allocated to urban CLLD will count into the mandatory ERDF
earmarking of at least 8% to sustainable urban development. Although CLLD budgets tend
to be comparatively small, adding CLLD as one possible framework to fulfil the regulatory
requirement could encourage its uptake in urban areas.
Administrative effort and perceived delays to funding absorption remain crucial
concerns for programme managers, resulting in a cautious attitude to the use of CLLD.
Instead of multi-funding, which is often considered challenging, focusing on mono-fund
models—beyond EAFRD and EMFF—could provide a way forward. This is something
that is a common approach in urban LAGs, which are sometimes mono-funded by ERDF
(Netherlands) or ESF (Lithuania, Poland).
One of the main ways to avoid a (further) delay in starting the 2021–2027 programming
period is to ensure continuity and limit change. Programme managing authorities as well
LAGs can build on the experiences made in 2014–2020. For instance, LAG managers can
work with established local stakeholder networks, and LDSs can be updated instead of
being written from scratch.
For those starting a CLLD model beyond LEADER and fisheries, learning from the
experience of others should be encouraged. This can be carried out nationally but also
internationally. However, the available frameworks for the exchange of experiences are
targeted either towards rural (LEADER) actors, via the former European Network for
Rural Development (now rebranded as EU CAP Network), or towards fisheries actors, via
the former FARNET (now rebranded FAMENET). Those LAGs that do not (also) make
use of either rural or fisheries funding risk a “fall through the cracks”, as there is no
similar knowledge exchange and support offer. As most of these purely cohesion policy funded
LAGs are urban, the newly launched European Urban Initiative might be a suitable
framework to close this gap.
The web link to the article is HERE.
For the PDF version click below.