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Environmental competitiveness

[ Summary ]


Chapter 3:
Reflecting on a strategy for improving environmental competitiveness


3.5 Conclusions


Analysing the player/environment relationship in rural areas and possible strategies for achieving environmental competitiveness has highlighted the extreme diversity of situations encountered by local groups. In general an area’s environmental competitiveness remains a long-term objective that requires the implementation of different processes and a strategy to link immediate measures with longer-term objectives.

LEADER+ opens up still further the possibility of confirming the role of the environment in the development of rural areas. Indeed, due to the emphasis placed on sustainable development and the importance attributed to approaches to improve the quality of life and preserve heritage resources, the new Community rural development initiative encourages local action groups to probe the relationship between players, environment and development. In order to be sustainable, any such strategy must aim to establish new functions for the rural world and the resulting job opportunities.

Furthermore, this type of strategy can be based only on consultation processes at several levels. Of the different types of consultation to be developed, consultation between several neighbouring areas - particularly through inter-territorial cooperation encouraged by LEADER+ - becomes a key factor in building territorial COMPETITIVENESS. Indeed, considering interests and resources that go beyond merely defining a sphere of intervention should make it possible to establish the importance of environmental competitiveness as the key element of a territorial strategy.

Increasingly, therefore, the challenge of the future seems to be to turn the environment into a key factor of development. Under LEADER+, this challenge involves the ability to transform the environment into an instrument of coordination, cohesion, job creation and a new sense of identity, heightening the attractiveness of the areas and their products, etc. Ultimately the environment has to be made a fully-fledged part of integrated development.

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