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LEADER (M) Preliminary thoughts on preparing the future Leader+ Steering Committee Meeting / Leader+ Observatory Seminar Brussels / Belgium – 29 June 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "LEADER (M) Preliminary thoughts on preparing the future Leader+ Steering Committee Meeting / Leader+ Observatory Seminar Brussels / Belgium – 29 June 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 LEADER (M) Preliminary thoughts on preparing the future Leader+ Steering Committee Meeting / Leader+ Observatory Seminar Brussels / Belgium – 29 June 2006 Robert Lukesch & Bernd Schuh

2 Some aspects emerging from the MTE evaluations

3 From LEADER II to LEADER+ and further... LEADER I future LEADER II LEADER+ LEADER (M) innovation activation potential cooperations and networking “LEADER spirit” higher maturity higher activation of actors and better cooperation better performance  higher influence in RD “LEADER is (still) fun” integration in RD LEADER is definitely accepted key role for fostering integrated sustainable development more isolated comparably small programme increase of bureaucracy common understanding of „vocabulary“ only in some countries connected to mainstream RD risk of losing juvenile lightness and dynamics competition between RD measures learning

4 Lessons from LEADER+ Problems with the “rules of the game” Different interpretation of features: bottom-up approach, pilot nature, delimitation of areas The restrictive character of some rules: –n+2: „speed kills“ –Priority themes – „nice, but...“ –Evaluation – „too early, too little“ –Global Grant – fascinating and ambiguous

5 Lessons from LEADER+ P rogramming & implementation Previous experiences: the „joker“ in the game LEADER is a joyful experience - the programme offered high satisfaction to the actors Flexibility to answer the systemic changes & challenges (priority themes, activation) „Let the good times come!“- the positive results

6 Lessons from LEADER+ Cooperation/ networking „The sleeping giant” Expectations: Spreading of know-how and good practice Building up critical mass Pooling of resources Preparing the grounds for / facilitating mainstreaming The reality: The „joker“ previous experience wins again Cooperation/ networking not like in Action 2+3 Problems: the why, the logic, the partners

7 Complementarities between LEADER and rural development programmes „The threat of losing virginity“ Sustainable regional development as strategic task –difficult starting conditions: Complexity Multi-actor approach Unclear final aim + Administrative framework: Top-down sector policies as competitors Bottom-up: nothing but a „brake“ in efficiency? Overall, commonly accepted, long term strategy in the regions LEADER in conflict with other hinge functions in the areas

8 The drivers for good LAG performance previous experiences – the „joker“ again a wide range and variety of actors clear common understanding of the terminology Good connection with programme management „learning“ is structured in some way „Shiny, happy people“

9 Conclusions and recommendations

10 LEADER Mainstream programme The place of LEADER in rural development Mainstream programme LEADER Programme Rural Policy Programme L LAG Programme L Structuring combined programme delivery at local level Incubator/pathfinder Niche specialist The beating heart of mainstream rural policy

11 The global grant system GG is seen as key element in decentralised management and financing If the GG is not applied, there is mostly a quasi-GG system respecting strategic sovereignty of the LAG In general, autonomy of LAGs is more respected than in LEADER II GG can be undermined, even reversed in its effects by bureaucracy and co-funding problems

12 Thresholds and limits 10.000 to 100.000: what for? Even if mitigated in the regulation 1698/05, it works like a scissor in administrators heads Ceiling of LAG costs at 15% of total budget: could be detrimental for incipient LAGs, in peripheral areas, in difficult environments 50% public partners: generally accepted and understood, but be aware of circumvention on one side and implicit disregard of public partners on the other; rather pursue actively the tripartite approach

13 European priority themes The four themes: What for? Gender: Some achievements, but more due to the approach itself than to the prescription Youth: Seen as extremely important; some despondency how to address/include them. There are interesting approaches, but more experience is needed

14 Rural-urban relationships In general less emphasized, except some good examples in densely populated rural areas Again: 100.000 inhabitants threshold leads to exclusion of towns and markets: the Emmentaler principle Intended territorial split between ERDF and EAFRD in some EU10 countries would annihilate axis 4

15 Area delimitation Social Capital Human Capital Institutional Capital Thematic/variable geometry Felt identity / Administrative boundaries /

16 Bottom-up Authorities Local people LAG Connecting and improving the two realms of bottom-up is a matter of multi- tier learning Real bottom-up is definitely not the opposite of top-down!

17 The local group Distinguish between professional and amateur voluntaries. Specifically the latter need some kind of immaterial reward to remain active over a longer period of time. Beware the lock-in syndrome of local partnerships which develop exclusive cultures. The legitimacy challenge is still unresolved.

18 The role of LAGs in RD Yin-function: Strengthening identity, motivation, social capital Yang function: Programme administration, technical support, monitoring (typical development agency tasks) There are LAGs embodying both functions and LAGs focusing rather on the Yin function. LAGs concentrating solely on the Yang-function leave the space of what is called the LEADER approach.

19 Balanced pilot strategies Some stakeholders are satisfied that at least the local elite is mobilised by LEADER. Others want an inclusive approach, but see the limits. There are at least three mechanisms working for a balanced strategy: -Good LAG staffing for animation -Eligibility of voluntary work and labour contribution -Advance payments

20 Networking Networking appears in two forms: 1. Action 3: EU, national, and (certain) regional networks need continuity. They are systematically underused if only for information brokerage. They should be used for accumulating, encoding, translating and transferring knowledge, play a role in accompanying evaluations etc. 2. Networking as the master feature for transfer and dissemination: LAG-LAG learning through networking. Godmother LAGs should be associated with beginners.

21 Learning Accumulation and transfer of knowledge from LEADER n to LEADER n+1 requires: Double-loop learning at local stakeholders‘ and programme administrators‘ level. Continuity of staff (no funding gaps, no abrupt changes) EU, national and regional networks becoming the memory, processor, translator and transmitter of acquired experiences and knowledge (Reload the European Observatory!)

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