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[ Contents ]

Organising local partnerships

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

The motivations of the partners and the composition of the partnership will differ according to whether the initialisation of the latter is incumbent on individuals, businesses or public authorities.

However, the preponderance of needs is such that in the end, the partnership that is needed at a given stage of development is always obtained. This is referred to as a partnership of "variable geometry", which is expressed both by a great variety of cases corresponding to the diversity of the issues to be resolved and by a great similarity of solutions as soon as the same problems arise.

Apart from this internal logic, the diversity of the starting contexts is reflected by a diversity of local partnership models which determines the choices made.

As has already been mentioned, the rural areas of the European Union have a wide range of contexts and therefore face very varied development problems:

  • some rural areas are faced with serious conflicts and problems of reconciliation between different communities (the case of Northern Ireland);

  • others are experiencing a shortage of local initiatives (mountain areas having suffered from the rural exodus, or certain heavily segmented rural societies some of which were under authoritarian regimes less than one generation ago) (the case of Alentejo);

  • others, on the contrary, already benefit from a strong tradition of local initiatives and a great sense of the common good, giving them a high level of development and management of rural space. But these areas may today find themselves limited in their development by, for example, a far too individualistic local culture (the case of Vinschgau/Val Venosta);

  • some areas, with long-standing experience in local development, are today faced with institutional problems (superposition of functions, dysfunctions, etc.);

  • others are experiencing a loss of faith in the institutions and a certain scepticism towards the partnerships, the result of bad experiences in the past, where the dysfunctions, in some cases corruption, discredited the authorities, the public institutions and the collective initiatives (the case of Gargano);

  • others are still faced with demographic problems (very low population density), resulting in an insufficient level of public services that requires alternative forms of organisation at local level (the case of Sweden);

  • periurban rural areas see their human resources working in the nearby towns and thus risk becoming "dormitory zones" with no activity of their own (the case of Collombey-les-Belles);

  • isolated areas, on the other hand, are faced with rural exodus and the fatalism of those who have stayed behind;

  • finally, other areas, less affected by these problems and having reached an advanced level of development, are seeking alternative solutions for a better quality of life, both in terms of relations with nature and human relations (the case of Eisenwurzen).

These very different situations call for very different solutions but these solutions all include local partnerships: whether by creating links between fractions in conflict, mobilising the initiatives or finding alternative forms of organisation, this always involves bringing together a certain number of local actors to resolve a problem affecting the whole area concerned. But the problems and the interest in overcoming them being diverse, the alliances to be created being multiform and the local cultures being different, the solutions and the ways to achieve them will each time be different, creating a wide variety of models and processes for building the partnership.

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