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Results on the ground confirm the need for continued work of local action groups

Results on the ground confirm the need for continued work of local action groups
Photo: Klemen Razinger

The radio programme From Sowing to Harvest which was aired on 1 May 2022 featured the presentation of the territorial instrument called community-led local development (CLLD). The programme highlighted the lasting impact that the projects supported by CLLD approach have left on the local environment in the current programming period that is now drawing to a close. Altogether EUR 110 million was earmarked for local action groups (LAG) in the period. CLLD is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

The President of the Slovenian Rural Development Network Roman Medved said that the Network brings together so-called local action groups. Local action groups carry out a variety of projects. What makes LEADER Programme so interesting is that it is essentially a bottom-up approach where local communities are directly involved in local strategy development, decision-making and resource allocation The network and individual local action groups are members of the European Leader Association for Rural Development (ELARD) which brings together over 3,000 local action groups from across Europe.

Alina Cunk Perklič, head of CLLD at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food said: ''Without doubt, the LEADER approach most efficiently addresses the challenges facing rural communities and comes up with most efficient solutions. We see largest impact in smallest projects, in cooperation and liaising between different stakeholders on the ground. What makes it unique is the involvement of young people, and of all people who wish to bring added value to their communities.''

Dr Robert Drobnič, Acting Director of Regional Development Directorate at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology underlined that in terms of added value of the approach the ministry finds job creation, environmental protection, nature conservation and inclusion of vulnerable groups, especially of young people, most important. The area which is under the responsibility of the ministry has nine local action groups that are very active.

Preliminary figures show that the amount of CLLD funding will remain more or less the same in the post-2020 period. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food is working closely with local action groups inviting them to come up with new local development strategies. Moreover, a new call for proposals is planned to be out this fall. The ministry also encourages farmers to join local action groups and calls on local action groups to integrate farmers to jointly implement projects that aim to foster agriculture in local action group areas and keep rural communities vibrant.

Several local action groups were invited to showcase their good practices and speak about their plans for the future. You can listen to the recording (in Slovene) here.

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