[ Contents ]
From strategy to action:
Evolution of the methods of project selection
4.2 Changes introduced by the LAGs themselves
During the transition from LEADER I to LEADER II, the LAGs introduced changes in their procedures and project selection criteria depending on the evolution of the contexts and lessons learned from the past.
On the one hand, the LEADER II groups find themselves faced with new methods of intervention as well as having to take into account new procedures. On the other hand, the implementation of LEADER I often allowed the local context to develop. With LEADER II, the LAGs have therefore been encouraged to update their development strategy and consequently their selection methods and criteria.
In Capo Santa Maria di Leuca (Italy), the credibility earned by the LAG thanks to the success of LEADER I has enabled more restrictive criteria to be established in the context of LEADER II and to better involve the beneficiaries in the definition of a global development strategy, which was not possible before. New criteria have therefore been introduced: the action's innovative character, the integration of small groups into the global strategy, priority to young people and women.
In the Serrania de Ronda (Spain), the structuring of the local society achieved during LEADER I enabled a greater importance to be placed on individual criteria without, however, neglecting the projects' collective and area dimension. Following a social mobilisation stage, great importance was also given to strengthening the economic fabric (priority to businesses, whilst maintaining links with the associations created in the context of LEADER I). This led the LAG to introduce selection criteria aimed at individual projects by sector.
In Wexford (Ireland), the projects implemented and the experience acquired in the context of LEADER I have been able to be used in the definition of an overall strategy which, until then, was lacking. Criteria have also been introduced in terms of the integration of the actions in this strategy (particularly in terms of greater attention to the balance between the different parts of the area, greater attention to the environmental and cultural aspects) as well as for monitoring and assessment.
In Ouest-Aveyron (France), LEADER I enabled a consensus to be reached between the professional bodies for integrated development strategies at the level of micro-areas. The LAG was then able to organise calls for proposals according to these area strategies and define the selection criteria as a result.
In the Sierra de Béjar y Sierra de Francia (Spain), the demonstrative effects of LEADER I enabled a greater number of project leaders to be mobilised. The LAG evolved from adopting a more pro-active method to a more reactive method and introduced both more individualised and more sectoral selection criteria. Additionally, in sectors where structures are already in place, emphasis is placed on the development of soft investments, for example direct support given to rural gîtes sunder of LEADER I has been abolished in the context of LEADER II to the benefit of leisure projects, the use of free time, developing the historic and cultural heritage, etc.
In some cases, it is a change to the limits of the area of intervention which leads the LAG to review the selection methods and criteria:
in Kozani (Greece), LEADER II extended the area of intervention to areas where, contrary to the LEADER I area, the project leaders were few in number and where there was a lesser capacity to submit projects (not only in financial terms but also in terms of know-how, technical nature, contacts, etc.). This has led the LAG to introduce an initial level of calls for projects, which is broader and less demanding, to enable less prepared project leaders to submit an application;
in Psiloritis (Greece), the enlargement of the initial area (mountainous area of inland Crete, where extensive cattle rearing is traditionally the principal economic activity) to areas of the Messara Plain (characterised by intensive farming) has led the GAL to radically review its development strategy and therefore the selection criteria for projects. It was first necessary to define a sort of differentiated policy for each area: in the first area (former LEADER I area), the strategic priorities have remained the development of agri-tourism and support for small craft enterprises, whilst in the new area acquired during LEADER II (which has little interest in terms of tourism), emphasis has had to be placed on support for conditioning enterprises and those for marketing agricultural produce.
Very often in the changeover from LEADER I to LEADER II,
the LAGs went from a mobilisation stage to an economic consolidation stage, which was expressed by more reactive, less pro-active forms of intervention and by more targeted selection criteria.
Others reacted in relation to certain problems and specific difficulties encountered, which led them to be more restrictive, even more formalistic, in the methods used.
In Kozani (Greece), the LAG has increased its selection methods and criteria: a more rigorous presentation of the project in the form of a file comprising several pages, strengthening of the role of the technical team in the selection process, introduction of certain more selective criteria such as the establishment of a minimum threshold of 8 rooms per funded tourism establishment.