In rural areas, local initiatives were closely connected with the creation of new firms and development in agriculture processing, other industries, tourism and business, personal, social and public services. They have been supported, in several Member States by setting up Rural Development Agencies, the creation of priority areas for specially deprived areas and preparation of local rural development programmes, including a strategic statements and annual work programme. Such approach was based on the concept of integrated development and conceived as a bottom-up approach since it was largely based on application for project funding from individuals and community groups as well as local councils, and responded creatively to the needs of each rural area. Emphasis was given to industrialisation of the rural area, to farm diversification and then to tourism and environmental development. Such approach was legitimated by the EU report on the future on the rural society and boosted by the LEADER Community Initiative. Technical assistance and the Rural Observatory brought in experts, produced descriptions of good practices and tools presented in fact sheets, Leader Magazine special focus, etc.
More recently the OECD has defined a new rural paradigm, based on the competitiveness potential of rural areas, their ability to value local assets and to exploit local unused resources.
CEC – DG Agri 1989 The future of rural society,
LEDA 1991 Orientations for Local Employment Development Strategies: Rural Areas, Local and Regional Development Planning, London, U.K.
Literature produced by LEADER observatory and contact point especially under Leader 1 and 2 of definition and design of the ‘leader method’ among which can be quoted :
LEADER Observatory ( 2000 Territorial, economic, social, environmental and global competitiveness(6 vol), Innovation notebook n°6,
OECD 1992 Businesses and jobs in the rural world
OECD 1994 The contribution of amenities to rural development,
OECD 1995 Niches market and rural development,
OECD 2006 The new rural paradigm
M. O’Cinneide and M Cuddy 1992 Perspectives on rural development in advanced economies, Centre for Development Studies University College Galway
Dargan L. and Schucksmith M. 2003, Innovatory economic development – comparative report, in 2nd rural development conference in Salzburg 12-14 Nov 2003
J. Bryden and K. Hart (Eds.) 2004 A new approach in rural development in EuropeEdwin Mellen Press
The Countryside Agency; 2004 Local strategic partnerships in England