EU showcases citizen-led projects for local development

EU showcases citizen-led projects for local development

EU showcases citizen-led projects for local development

28/11/2019

For 25 years now, the EU has been empowering citizens and local communities throughout Europe to engage in regional development. A conference will take place in Brussels on 3-4 December2019 to exchange best practices and highlight current successes of “community-led local development (CLLD)” and look to the future. With the support of CLLD, local communities around Europe are taking the initiative to shape the changes they want to see.

The conference will be an opportunity to reflect on how CLLD can continue to support local action in a world in transition, fostering more inclusive and environmentally and economically sustainable communities, and to share ideas on how to promote the initiative’s future growth.

40 projects from different Member States will be showcased, demonstrating how the CLLD approach is making a difference in coastal, rural and urban areas. These projects embody the diversity and creativity which can emerge when support is targeted at the right level and demonstrate how local communities can respond and adapt to a world in transition. Out of the 40 projects, five projects will be selected to receive an award in the following categories: (1) strengthening the local economy, (2) building social capital, (3) supporting the ecological transition, (4) making best use of the CLLD method and (5) offering a “model for change”.

Launched in rural areas with LEADER in 1991, CLLD was integrated for the first time under all European Structural and Investment Funds in the 2014-2020 programming period. This conference features all four European funds relevant for implement CLLD projects : European Maritime and Fisheries Fund – EMFF); European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development – EAFRD); European Regional Development Fund – ERDF) and European Social Fund – ESF). 2021 will see the start of a new funding period and the launch of the second generation of Local Action Groups (LAGs) in urban areas, the third generation in the EU’s coastal areas and the fifth in rural areas.

Such projects bring together local people to decide how they want to improve their area, by setting up partnerships of civil society, businesses and public bodies, called Local Action Groups (LAGs). These LAGs design their own local development strategies and receive support and funding from the EU to carry out projects that meet the area’s most pressing economic, social and environmental needs.

The EMFF in coastal territories is financing initiatives to mitigate issues identified by LAGs. For example, in Sardinia a designated micro-credit scheme was set up for small-scale fishers, often written off as “un-bankable” by commercial banks. The EMFF is also trying to make a difference in funding initiatives that aim at the protection of the biodiversity and endangered species. The cooperative nature of CLLD enables the participation of different sectors to share knowledge and best practices to reconcile different point of views: in Italy, cooperation between fishers and scientists managed to preserve protected turtles, dolphins and fishing business.

Further information can be found here.