There were many workshops on CLLD in this year’s OPEN DAYS. The LDnet workshop had three distinguishing features in aiming to illustrate local development in action in both urban and rural areas; both past and the present challenges: how different local approaches were conceived and evolved over many years; under various EU and national policies and programmes.
The workshop used case studies from different countries, presented by LDnet members, to demonstrate the deep foundations on which CLLD can build in both urban and rural areas. It showed how different local approaches and strategies were conceived and sustained over many years under various EU and national policies and programmes, progressively coming to represent a European movement. It culminated in a discussion on the main challenges facing CLLD in the post-2013 period.
The workshop was introduced and chaired by Haris Martinos. It was attended by a large number of participants and was followed by a networking session which gave the opportunity to many of the participants to discuss informally with LDnet members the “CLLD Declaration”, the Local Development E-Book and, generally, the activities and initiatives of LDnet.
CLLD: Experience and challenges in an urban setting
Eileen Humphreys, University of Limerick
Eileen’s contribution drew on experiences of local development based on a spirit of self-help, multi-sectoral partnership and community organisation in the city of Limerick, an old industrial city which restructured out of old industries into new sectors in manufacturing and services, to create a diversified economic base. Now the city is facing serious challenges linked to a legacy of social problems (severely disadvantaged neighbourhoods) and the impact of the economic recession. Local development initiatives developed strongly in the 1980’s at a time of very high unemployment in the city. Over the years, LD has been strongly promoted and supported under different waves of European Programmes – pilot programmes, Community Initiatives and in the mainstream Structural Funds. The local partnership company in the city, supported under the national Local Development and Social Inclusion Programme, was one of the first in the country. Collaboration across organisations in the public, private and community sectors has produced innovative LD initiatives with positive results in terms of economic and social development, and sustainable local institutional infrastructures.
Building and Sustaining CLLD in a City Region
Andy Churchill, Network for Europe
In his contribution Andy focused on the LD experiences and approaches in the Liverpool City Region. They have taken place against a background of 30 years of decline but strong communities and strong NGOs. The Structural Funds provided extensive support in the 1994-99 and 2000-06 periods with ERDF and ESF working together in 38 worst off communities. Local residents, local firms, local and central government, training colleges, NGOs and others worked together and the result is a success story. The whole conurbation is revitalised, the population is not reducing any more, and there is a new belief that we can do it, together. The 2007-13 period is more risk adverse and process driven, with the ESF programme centralised and the ERDF programme characterised by long delays and reluctance to work in partnership, but the preparations for 2014-20 have seen a revival of partnership working.
CLLD: Building on the experience of Territorial Pacts in urban and rural contexts
Rosalba La Grotteria, CODEX sc
Rosalba’s contribution was based on the experience of Territorial Pacts with specific reference to the experience and approaches of two areas in Italy: first, the Provincia Autonoma di Trento TP and the on-going processes leading the local development process in this largely rural and “rurban” context; and, second, the more industrial context of the Torino, and the rich experience of local development initiatives that sprang up twenty years ago from the LEDA programme and have since evolved, contributing to today’s framework. These are two different territorial contexts offer good examples of the wider experience. They also offer a good basis for considering the potential for future support to local employment initiatives and territorial employment pacts, and to broader Community-led Local Development.
CLLD and Rural Development
Robert Lukesch, ÖAR Regionalberatung GmbH
In his contribution Robert did not attempt to tell the whole story of LEADER, from the early beginnings as a European Community Initiative in 1991 to an integral part of the second pillar of the CAP (Rural Development), but zoomed on the experience of an Austrian Local Action Group which for many years integrates Structural Funds (ERDF including ETC) into its remit of regional development support. This is an explicit policy of the Tyrolian State Government, although not uncontested by funding administrations which claim that local development managers co-funded by the CAP are not supposed to operate on behalf of other funding authorities. This customised delivery of funding does not occur only in Tyrol but also in other advanced LAGs, from which another example (in Upper Austria) was cited. Robert closed his contribution with an overview of opportunities offered by the fact that CLLD can now be implemented in urban areas, and with a plea to Member States to make use of this opportunity to open a new chapter in European participative urban and rural development.
The four presentations were followed by discussion with several contributions from participants. These stressed, on the one hand, the great potential of CLLD for innovative solutions to the huge economic and social problems facing most European countries and, on the other hand, the many bureaucratic constraints that need to be swept aside if this potential is going to be realised. As things stand, the only certainty is that CLLD will be implemented in EAFRD, but even there it will be necessary to rejuvenate LEADER, which is suffering from fatigue. But if CLLD is rolled out in all CSF Funds it could become the gem of European cohesion policy. And that’s worth the effort.