IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: The information on this site is subject to a disclaimer and a copyright notice.

[ Contents ]

Organising local partnerships

Chapter 2
Principles, rules and foundations
of a successful partnership


2.1 Finding the right solution according to the context


    2.1.3 A decisive problem as anchoring point

The problems that need to be confronted in order to guarantee the revival or intensification of an area's development are multiple and very different. There is, however, a key problem facing each area, which is more important than the others, and which will form the starting point and the principal objective of a local partnership.

This key problem corresponds to an element which slows down, limits, and in some cases even blocks all the development processes. This is a problem which affects the local community in its essence, a "lock on development", whose necessary resolution will result in a local partnership being created.

Among these "locks on development", it is worth mentioning:

  • those linked to geographical or physical matters (very low population density; periurbanity or, on the contrary, remoteness from the main centres, deterioration of the environment, etc.);

  • those linked to the existence of very strong pressure groups, representing economic or institutional interests which impose a balance of power making it difficult to express the collective interest;

  • those linked to a negative experience which has greatly affected the collective memory and is reflected by a social rift, either between social groups or politico-cultural groups or between the community and the institutions;

  • those linked on the contrary to a "social vacuum" or an "initiative vacuum" because of a recent end to a dictatorship or a heavily hierarchical society which has impeded the construction of social links, or even because the area has experienced such a tremendous rural exodus that the only remaining population is the older generation;

  • those linked to matters of a cultural nature which may be very different: e.g. heavy individualism causing a loss of interest in the local partnership; on the contrary, the collective will to highlight a strong cultural identity.

Depending on the situation, each area may be faced with one or several of these problems, but most of the time there is always one which is more decisive, which is going to constitute the anchoring point of the local partnership: the problem which appears to be relatively the most serious is tackled.

When there is no problem which gravely affects the area, the mobilisation of actors and the population will focus more on searching for a better quality of life and human relations. In many cases like this, however, there is a danger of only having opportunist partnerships managing a budget.

In a very general way, the classification of European regions for the purposes of cohesion reflects the diversity of the development problems and in many cases enables the objective, indeed the types of partnership to be created, to be identified:

  • in the Objective 1 regions ("lagging behind in development"), it is more a question of encouraging initiatives and taking advantage of human potential;

  • in the Objective 5b areas ("fragile rural areas"), the initiatives are generally already firmly in place. What is needed in most cases is to consolidate them, redirect them or restructure them for a better local development;

  • in the Objective 6 areas ("Nordic areas with a very low population density"), the main problem is the dispersion of actors and services.

European Flag