[ Contents ]
Organising local partnerships
Principles, rules and foundations
of a successful partnership
2.1 Finding the right solution according to the context
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
- 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.