Focus Group 1 of Leader Subcommittee, European Network for Rural Development (EN RD) 2010
The Implementation of Leader Approach
Length of report: Extended Report (42 pages); Supplementary Report (37 pages)
Abstract: The ENRD Leader subcommittee Focus Group “on the Implementation of the bottom-up approach” prepared two reports on “the Implementation of the Leader Approach” in the context of the Rural Development Programmes supported by EAFRD in the 2007-2013 period. The Group comprised representatives of Managing Authorities, National Rural Networks and Local Action groups and was chaired by Panagiotis Patras, ELARD, and Raffaella di Napoli, Italian NRN. Its work included two questionnaire surveys and workshops. The Group received expert support from Jean-Michel Courades of EC DG AGRI and Haris Martinos of the ENRD Contact Point.
The first report (Extended Report) covers the typology of Leader implementation models, the definition of responsibilities and decision making, collaboration between implementing bodies, characteristics of LAGs (status, experience, staff size), LAG decision making rules, project eligibility, financial issues (national public co-financing and LAG running costs), and comparison with Leader+.
The second report (Supplementary Report) examines in greater depth three specific aspects of the implementation of the Leader approach: LAG running costs; complex / integrated projects; and, small scale projects (programme and project based schemes).
Review and comments: These reports present the first overview of the implementation of Leader in the 2007-2013 which shows that its mainstreaming in this period has created implementation conditions which are out of line with the spirit of the bottom up and territorial approach of Leader. This negative conclusion is supported by a wide range of well documented problems, including the following: there is often no clear division of implementation tasks between managing authorities and LAGs; a significant number of LAGs have a very small staff and face many difficulties in performing the multiple tasks required; few programmes allow projects outside the defined measures and this is seriously limiting innovation; measure-by-measure is the predominant or exclusive approach creating serious constraints on operations seeking to combine several measures (integrated projects).