The General Assembly of LDnet took place online on 14 February 2023. As in previous years, it was open to LDnet members, friends and contributors.
The full recording is available HERE. Key points from the presentations and discussions are summarised below.
Capacity building for Community Led Local Development
Its main theme was devoted to debate on capacity building for local development moderated by LDnet vice-president Peter Ramsden. Peter opened the session by raising the question “What is capacity building” and more specifically: What capacity needs are there in Local Action Groups and Managing Authorities? And, what are the most effective methods to build capacity to deliver high-quality local development?
Stefan Kah presented the the geography of CLLD with graphs and tables based on the analyses published on the LDnet site. Monica Veronesi talked of the extensive experience in capacity building of FARNET, highlighting the the flexible and enabling framework provided by DG MARE and the importance of sound needs analysis. Catalin Tiuch stressed that the Romanian urban CLLD federation was created very quickly and started addressing the many capacity building needs. He also referred to big variations between Member States and the great value of good practices in capacity building.
Responding. LDnet president Urszula Budzich-Tabor stressed the importance of building capacity of national and regional managing authorities. She also said that one of the reasons why it is so difficult to convince decision-makers to use CLLD is the difficulty of measuring its achievements in a way that could be compared between areas and member states. Jean-Pierre Vercruysse lamented that we still fail to explain to policy makers what is the added value of CLLD and, in a sense, still lack the capacity to do so effectively, thus this is a key aspect of capacity building to be addressed.
A lively discussion ensued including interventions from: Simona Pascariu, emphasising that continuity is essential and transferring knowledge is a very delicate matter; Maria Joao Filgueiras Rauch, suggesting that a broader reference framework is necessary such as the SDGs; Luis Chaves, that the added value of CLLD and capacity building could be linked; Milan Hagovský, stressing that local capacity is important in integrating support from cohesion and other funds via CLLD; and, Joanna Storie, proposing that capacity building should be linked to ecosystem services, bio economy and other such perspectives.
General Assembly – Annual report and priorities for 2023
The normal annual business of the assembly focused on the presentation and discussion of the annual report of the association. The main points of the report were presented by the LDnet secretary-general Haris Martinos and other members of the board provided additional information and responded to questions and comments from the assembly.
Several participants – some them attending an LDnet event for the first time – had also the opportunity to present themselves and their work or made interventions, including Carlo Ricci, Artur Cristóvão, Clémentine Gravier, Josefina Syssner, Cristina Draghiciu, João Almeida, Terry Stavropoulos, Angela Loporchio, Réka Horeczki, Bojana Markotic Krstinic, and Joppe Feys, alongside LDnet board members and regular contributors, including Giuseppe Pace, Alex Brad, Rosalba La Grotteria, and Loris Servillo.
The main points covered in the presentation of, and discussion on the annual report were as follows:
- The ‘Mission statement’ adopted by the previous assembly has provided the framework of the LDnet activities in 2022, including:
- CLLD in Europe: 23 country profiles published and several overviews/horizontal analyses – LINK. A wrap up article has been published in the ‘World’ journal to reach a wider audience.
- ‘REBOUND’ project: First stage results of this Erasmus+ project on fostering resilience in rural communities are now available – LINK
- Urban CLLD initiative: How to build capacity-building support in urban CLLD is in exploratory stages – LINK
- LDnet website: Flow of information & original articles, reviews, critical feedback.
- Cooperation: With other networks and projects (RSA, AEIDL, EUI, LAGs, universities, research centres).
- Board of Directors: Elected in February 2022 for two years, held several meetings, plus small working Groups of members and friends of LDnet progressed the various initiatives.
- Finally, the LDnet treasurer Jean-Pierre Pellegrin, presented the financial summary for 1.1.-31.12.2022: Expenses €713, Income €50, Balance €3,504
The full annual report is available HERE.
The discussion on priorities for 2023 followed from the debate on capacity building for local development. Two main themes were highlighted by participants’ contributions:
- The need to view and present CLLD not a a mere delivery mechanism competing with more conventional EU policy funding mechanisms, notably stressing its links with endogenous, sustainable and resilient development.
- The need to advance on common indicators for CLLD, including on measuring perceptions.
In terms of activities for 2023, the board was request to consider organising working groups and debates on these topics, as well as to explore fund raising for the production of suitable material (such as videos and podcasts) using in part material from recent LDnet webinars etc.