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[ Contents ]

Organising local partnerships

Chapter 1
From programme management to the
coordination of local development


1.1. Three starting points, three logics


Behind the diversity of today's local partnerships in Europe lies a certain similarity between three approaches corresponding to three types of original partnerships:

  • local partnerships created at the initiative of individuals, often "local leaders" of the community who would like to actively intervene in the local reality, not only economically but also socially and culturally. Such involvement, usually militant, generally rooted in a very strong identity, gradually weaves the bases of a renewed citizenship;

  • local partnerships created at the initiative of businesses or more generally professional organisations (cooperatives, associations of producers, etc.), which claim a privileged position in economic decisions;

  • local partnerships created at the initiative of the public authorities, local or not, which, responsible for the common interest, compensate for a rare or failing private initiative in the problem areas.

These three approaches correspond, in general, to three types of initial objectives:

  • in the first instance, they are more geared towards social issues (social links, promotion of culture, identity renewal, etc.);

  • in the second instance, they tend to be focused on economic action and the creation, promotion and management of project dynamics in this field;

  • in the third instance, they tend to be concerned initially with a logic of amenities (setting up infrastructures, public facilities, etc.) and then with taking into account the globality of the area concerned.

The nature of the process is therefore different for each of the three cases:

  • when initiated by individuals, the partnership quite often develops as a militant exercise by several people, which can give it a perspective of durability linked to an active citizenship;

  • initiated by private actors, it is usually based on sectoral interest which means going beyond individual interests and creating progressive groupings on broader bases;

  • when it stems from public initiative, the partnership is generally born of a substitute desire to react to an unfavourable economic and social situation.


The Portuguese example

Local partnerships responsible for a LEADER II programme in Portugal (45 programmes in the country in 1996) have the following partners:

  • local authorities (78% of partnerships), representing the communes (76%), the "freguesias" (11%) and the communal associations (27%); [*]

  • other public institutions (71% of partnerships): schools and universities (39%), regional bodies (36%) and community centres (9%);

  • private businesses (78% of partnerships): farming cooperatives (56%); agricultural mutual credit savings banks (42%); newspapers (4%); other businesses (38%); industrial or business associations (36%);

  • associations of people (76% of partnerships): farming associations (56%); other professional associations (20%); cultural associations (53%); religious associations (20%); associations for local development (27%);

  • inhabitants participating in a private capacity (42% of partnerships).

[*] Portugal is divided into 333 communes, each containing several "freguesias"

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