Community-led local development (CLLD) is a term used by the European Commission to describe an approach that turns traditional “top down” development policy on its head. Under CLLD, local people take the reins and form a local partnership that designs and implements an integrated development strategy. The strategy is designed to build on the community’s social, environmental and economic strengths or “assets” rather than simply compensate for its problems. The local partnership receives long-term funding from European Funds, including the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF), and decides how it is spent.
The last twenty years of EU funding for these type of project has seen an explosion from a small cluster of 200 pilot rural development projects to around 2600 partnerships (both in rural areas and in fisheries-dependent areas). Project have now been carried out in nearly every corner of rural Europe and a large part of the coast. Total public and private investment supported by these partnerships has also grown from 360 million euro in 1991-1994, to around €8.6 billion in the 2007-2013. Supporting many mainly small projects, CLLD has helped thousands of firms and jobs and supported significant improvements to local services and the environment. The experience of the last twenty years has shown when and where CLLD approaches work well and which are the key challenges of implementing CLLD in certain areas.
Over the last few years CLLD has shown to have a great potential to explore innovative solutions addressing the challenges faced by local communities dependent on fishing. The 307 current fisheries partnerships have been supported by a network called FARNET. Information on their experience and many examples of successful projects are available on the FARNET web site.
CLLD can now be used within the EMFF, but also in the other European Structural and Investment Funds. This creates a major opportunity for extending the CLLD approach to cities, and to using it to develop local responses to some of the most pressing social and environmental problems facing European citizens today. There is still considerable scope for increasing the impact of CLLD on people`s lives especially if the major EU funding streams work together. Fishing communities in the whole of Europe can potentially benefit from these new forms of cooperation.
The European Commission has developed a guidance document for those who would like to start a Local Group in the new funding period.
To assist in the preparation of the EMFF Operational Programmes, answers have been developed to some of the questions concerning programming CLLD in fisheries areas.
These are complementing the two guidance documents already issued by the Commission and concern:
These answers are now available in English on the FARNET website, further language versions will be available in the near future.