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Assessing the added value of the LEADER approach

Chapter 3
Questions and evaluation issues for each specific feature


3.5. The actions: linkages and multi-sectoral character


Linkages between actions and the multi-sectoral approach are different features of LEADER actions.


3.5.1 Definition

The linkage between actions - contained in the acronym of the LEADER Initiative "Links between Actions for the Development of the Rural Economy" - explicitly states that actions and projects within the business plan should not be individual and separated measures (for example training courses on the one hand and grants for establishing farm accommodation on the other) but should be co-ordinated and well integrated in a coherent whole. Integration may refer to actions within the same sector or in different sectors, to all actions in the programme or to groups of them (measures).

Among the most important forms of linkages is the "chain of production" type of linkage, which covers the production process from the very beginning (necessary inputs, raw products) to the intermediate phases of processing right through to the end (distribution and marketing). For each of these phases, efforts are made to create as many links as possible with existing activities or those likely to be set up in the area. This can address all the problems and the bottlenecks which could be strategic for the area.

A more complicated form is the inter-sectoral linkages that may be established between actions. This involves adopting a comprehensive overview of intervention, involving all the relevant sectors in the area (economic, social, cultural and environmental) and endeavouring to have as many multi-sectoral actions as possible.


3.5.2 Motivation and expected results

The main objective for emphasising different forms of integration between actions and their multi-sectoral character is to reorganise and co-ordinate the different sectoral approaches, predominant in rural development policies, into a coherent set of policy measures to ensure they are neither implemented independently nor in opposition to one another.

The holistic, integrated approach to planning:

  • creates or exploits existing synergies among different sectors;

  • increases the overall effectiveness of the programme and the sustainability of individual actions;

  • encourages the diversification of the rural economy, creating an alternative to the declining agricultural sector and strengthening its capacity to respond to sectoral crises.


3.5.3 Main questions

a) the initial situation

Describe the type of linkages between actions that were considered in the business plan and their multi-sectoral character. In what way were these linkages established or secured (animation, preliminary negotiations among interest groups, selection of projects, etc)?

b) The processes

  • In what way was the co-ordination of other pre-existing sectoral interventions improved through LEADER actions? Were there any difficulties and obstacles? Were they overcome? How?

  • Which synergies were created or enhanced between different sectors? How was this achieved?
  • Which forms of integration and linkages prevailed? How?

    • the creation of production chains within the area?
    • the organisation of supply and demand?
    • the creation of simple linkages, such as ad hoc training for a specific action?
    • the diversification of agriculture in related activities (tourism, environment etc)?
    • the creation of products and services involving a range of public and private figures and/or different sectors of activity?

c) the results and impact

  • What influence did the various forms of integration implemented have on the result and impact of the actions?

  • What effect did co-ordinating different sectoral measures have on local players, existing institutions and the rural context?

  • What were the advantages for the local economy and community of creating or adding value to potential synergies between sectors? Which groups and sectors benefited most from this?

  • Did integration and the multi-sectoral aspect facilitate the diversification of the area or the specialisation of some sectors?

d) the lessons

  • what lessons should be drawn for future actions to facilitate the integration of actions and their multi-sectoral approach?

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