Already many interesting ideas and proposals are coming out on the future of local development as seen and supported by EU policies and funds. They offer reflections on both the long experience of LEADER (from the days of the ‘community initiatives’ to the mainstreaming of LEADER) and the lessons from the much shorter experience of applying CLLD in rural, urban and coastal areas under the ESIF 2014-2020.
Some of these contributions focus on better management and funding of CLLD and making the multi-fund approach, which was introduced in the 2014-2020 period, work better.
One of the workshops led by Kristiina Tammets during the 3rd European Rural Parliament discussed and co-designed a new model for the post-2020 period with a new CLLD-fund at its core – to be funded by 10% of each of the existing ESI Funds (ERDF, ESF, EAFRD and EMFF) – as the solution to the perennial multi-fund problem.
Some contributions touch on more fundamental aspects of local development and the ‘community’ and ‘territory’ as central pillars of LEADER/CLLD.
At the most basic level ‘What does community-led really mean?’ is still a question many people ask – see the responses of Katalin Kolosy and Jean-Pierre Pellegrin.
The CARMEN proposal has placed this community-led approach centre stage, calling for Europe to show that it trusts its people and to put in place the principles of collaborative governance.
Similarly in What future for LEADER? José Luis Peralta Pascua focuses on participation and answers the question Does the LEADER approach have a future? by predicting that the LEADER approach, whether it is called LEADER or CLLD or something else, is going to continue: “It makes no sense, when society demands more participation in all aspects of political life, to renounce the most ambitious known experience of public-private cooperation in the countryside …”.
Another contribution, by Yves Champetier, makes the case for Reinforcing the territorial approach, “an approach aimed at the most disadvantaged groups and territories”. However, the centrality of the territorial approach is challenged in digital times. Peter Ramsden asks: Is territory so relevant in digital times? Can communities of interest be formed along other dimensions? Can CLLD action plans be based around single hot topics?
It is also worth noting the reservations expressed by Fernando Barreiro about ‘localism’, its limits and risks.
LDnet welcomes more contributions on the future of CLLD and plans to host a debate on this topic and to offer a synthesis of the main arguments.