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Organising local partnerships

"Innovation in rural areas"
Notebook n2
LEADER European Observatory

Table of Contents


This technical document is the result of three successive activities organised by the LEADER European Observatory in 1996:

    1. The completion of case studies on 7 areas in Europe where local partnership practices are under way, either in the context of the LEADER programme or another local initiative. The areas in question are:

    • in Austria, Eisenwurzen (Upper Austria), where some managers, concerned about the future of their area, have set up an association to help create local partnerships and mechanisms for appropriating the idea, as well as sustainable development practices;

    • in France, the Pays de Collombey-les-Belles (Lorraine), where a 20-year mobilisation of the population and local elected representatives has led to the formation of a private-public partnership which aims to carry out a series of projects relating to the infrastructure and services. The main objective is to maintain the population's interest in the area so as to counterbalance the attraction of neighbouring towns;

    • in Ireland, the area of Cavan-Monaghan, where the local farming cooperatives, along with certain public authorities, have organised a partnership which, in the context of LEADER, aims at the economic diversification and structuring of other local groups, in particular the local associations;

    • in Southern Italy, the area of Gargano (Apulia), where in the context of LEADER, a group of service companies has organised a local partnership in a difficult institutional context, characterised by a certain mistrust on the part of the population vis-à-vis the public structures and any form of association;

    • in Northern Italy, Vinschgau/Val Venosta (Trentino-Alto-Adige), where the various public structures have come together to implement the LEADER programme while safeguarding their specific functions;

    • in Portugal, the Margem esquerda do Guadiana (Alentejo), where a group of people have undertaken to organise local actors in a context where private organisations expressing social interests are lacking. The process led to the formation of a partnership structure, the "Rota do Guadiana" association, which was subsequently given a LEADER programme to manage;

    • in the United Kingdom, the area of Fermanagh (Northern Ireland), where the various local interest groups are all represented within a LEADER programme management partnership, with the principal aim of contributing to the return of peace in this border region affected by political-religious conflicts.

      In order to complete the range of partnership experiences in Europe as much as possible, two other analyses have been added:

      • in Sweden, where a coordination process for the creation of local partnerships at village level has been established throughout the country;

      • in France, the Basque Country (Aquitaine), where an extended partnership at regional level has been set up to structure a long-term development strategy.

    2. The organisation of a seminar entitled "Local partners for innovation", which was held in the Vinschgau/Val Venosta area (Italy) from 23 to 27 October 1996 with participants from 9 European countries, mostly involved in the management of LEADER programmes.

    3. Analysis of the discussions and conclusions of this seminar.

All of these activities lie within the more general working plan of the LEADER European Observatory, whose objectives include supporting the transfer of innovation in rural areas.


Table of Contents



Chapter 1: From programme management to the coordination of local development

  • 1.1 Three starting points, three logics
  • 1.2 Management partnerships, coordination partnerships
  • 1.3 The same trend towards opening up
  • 1.4 The consequences of opening up

Chapter 2: Principles, rules and foundations of a successful partnership

  • 2.1 - Finding the right solution according to the context

    • 2.1.1 The diversity of the starting contexts
    • 2.1.2 9 examples of the diversity of local partnership models
    • 2.1.3 A decisive problem as anchoring point
    • 2.1.4 Finding a bypass strategy

  • 2.2 - Building one's partnership

    • 2.2.1 Funding as a trigger element
    • 2.2.2 A few principles and rules of operation to move forward

Chapter 3: Optimising the results

  • 3.1 Factors for assessing the results

    • 3.1.1The quality of the partnership's action
    • 3.1.2Transformation of practices and opening-up to innovation

  • 3.2 Guiding, supporting and boosting the partnership

    • 3.2.1 The needs updated
    • 3.2.2 Ways to satisfy these needs and shortcomings

Chapter 4: The partnership matures

  • 4.1 Durability of partnerships and the point of no return

    • 4.1.1 The prerequisites of durability
    • 4.1.2 The point of no return

  • 4.2 Gradually establishing an order of things

    • 4.2.1 Development and local participation
    • 4.2.2 Interrelation of functions and levels


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