ELARD is convinced that the LEADER methodology is an ideal tool for supporting the Europe 2020 Strategy aims in terms of “smart”, “sustainable” and “inclusive” growth. Thousands of Local Action Groups have demonstrated that applying the specific features of the LEADER methodology can help to find both innovative and environmentally and socially sustainable solutions for rural development and help mobilising the unique human, social, economic and cultural potential of rural Europe. In fact, bringing the LEADER approach to the use of the people of a new territory can work as an innovation in its own right.
Local Action Groups have instigated a new sense of optimism in the rural areas. They have been successful in creating and maintaining hundreds of thousands of jobs, levering in private investment, sparking off innovation and in animating people to work voluntarily for the development of their territory. The LEADER approach has worked as a tool in animating young people and women to work in Local Action Groups as well as in improving the quality of life of different age and gender groups through the projects implemented. LEADER has built a new kind of confidence for the future and helped to slow down the rural exodus.
Based on the good experiences of its members, ELARD stands that the LEADER method is a highly cost-effective way of supporting “smart”, “sustainable” and “inclusive” growth for the rural areas of Europe.