Member States files
In the period 2000-2006 no Leader+ type measure was available for Romania before its accession. However, the Ministry of Agriculture has been in the process of setting up structures and an administrative capacity to implement the Leader approach in the next programming period 2007-2013. Even though there are no Leader+ Local Action Groups, several partnerships following the Leader method have been established as a result of other activities prior to the EU- accession.
- Has the Member State had any previous experience with rural development community based programmes before the Leader approach?
- How is the networking organised?
I. PILOT ACTIVITIES PREVIOUS TO THE LEADER APPROACH
Has the Member State had any previous experience with rural development community based programmes before the Leader approach?
In the former programming period (2000-2006) Romania did not implement any Leader type measure, thus there are neither Leader LAGs funded under a national rural development programme, nor partnerships operating according to the Leader approach.
Leader is a new concept for Romania, since it was not previously implemented. The process for the selection of the Local Action Groups will start once the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme (RDP) becomes official. For the period 2007-2009, Romania will be giving priority to the creation of partnerships, and to the maturing of its development strategy through the funding of actions ascribed to the Leader axis, and as authorised by derogation under a provision of the accession treaty.
Nevertheless, a number of programmes have already been promoting the Leader-type approach prior to the 2007-2013 programming period. Some local development initiatives have been identified at country level, such as: Local Initiatives Groups (LIGs), micro-regions and other Leader-like partnerships. The first two initiatives have been funded by the member organizations of RuralNet, and the Leader-like partnerships were set up by the Regional Center for Sustainable Rural Development (CEDER) which provided them with technical assistance as well. All of these are partnerships between NGOs, local public administration, church, school, medical and dental offices, micro regions, etc. Micro regions unlike the LIGs are legally registered as associations. Since some LIGs have reached a certain level of organisational maturity, they have transformed into Community Associations with a legal status, while others have disbanded after accomplishing their objective(s). Therefore an updated database including all these partnerships is not available. In addition, there is no national monitoring system for these partnerships.
The RuralNet network has a database with data on approximately 250 assisted rural communities. These communities cover all the regions of the country and they were supported by the member organisations of the RuralNet with the financial assistance of: Phare; Word Learning; Charles Stuart Mott; Carpathian Foundation; Word Bank, etc. More information of the member organisations and assisted communities is available on www.ruralnet.ro.
Actions implemented by these partnerships, such as: drawing up local strategies; restoring schools; local hospitals and cultural facilities; improving the roads and bridges; analysis and promoting the rural environment; micro-finance initiatives; setting up of Tele Centres to inform citizens; training courses for their members; and writing projects etc., aim to solve specific local problems.
There were several programmes implemented by the Romanian Government:
The Romanian Social Development Fund (RSDF), supported by the Romanian Government, has been assisting poor rural communities involved in social, economic and infrastructure projects. The two main working aims of the projects are: the establishment of public-private initiative groups using the bottom-up approach, and the development of the social capital. More information about RSDF is available at http://www.frds.ro/
The Rural Development Project (2002-2006), with the help of the World Bank, has been implemented in 103 communities and associations of communities from five counties. The aim of the project is to strengthen local governance by improving the capacity of local administration to undertake socially, economically and technically viable investments, and to increase the availability of infrastructure and other public / community goods to rural inhabitants in programme areas. More information about the program is available at http://www.rdp.ro
Twinning Project Romanian–French–German-Hungarian: “Support the Managing Authority of the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Rural development to prepare the rural development and fisheries programmes” (May 2006-July 2007). In preparation for the 2007-2013 programming period, the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has pre-selected 120 areas (which covered 37 of the 42 Romanian counties) with some experience in carrying out local projects in order to foster the development of partnerships that will be created in order to work out local development strategies. Therefore, representatives of selected areas took part in two training courses regarding the implementation of the Leader approach in Romania. Each territory was represented by one person, who represented either the public, private, or non-profit sectors. Training sessions helped these representatives to acquire skills on the following subjects: building of partnerships; diagnostic analysis; local development strategy; action plan of the territory; animation activities; action plan monitoring; and evaluation.
These skill-building sessions should help these 120 groups to be in a good position to apply as pilot LAGs during the first phase of implementation. In addition, each decentralised service (at the NUTS 3 level 1) has an official in charge of the follow-up to this preparatory phase, whose presence will strengthen exchanges between the local and national levels. Romanian LAGs will be able to develop their local strategies based on all three axes of European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development Regulation (EAFRD).
How is the networking organised?
Are there any informal networks active in field of rural development?
RuralNet is a network comprising of 26 organisations active in the field of community and rural development in Romania. The aim of the network is to support actors in the field of rural community development, to improve the quality of their services, and to put their skills and resources to good use./
(1) The NUTS classification is hierarchical in that it subdivides each Member State into three levels: NUTS levels 1, 2 and 3. The second and third levels are subdivisions of the first and second levels respectively.
Leader and Rural Development Network Department
Directorate General for Rural Development - Managing Authority for NRDP
Mr. Claudiu COADA, Head of Department
Carol I Blvd. 24, sector 3
Tel.: +4021 3078 590 or +4021 3072 437
Fax: +4021 3078 606