A LEADER Journey through Rural Europe

In the recently launched publication "A LEADER Journey through rural Europe - National LAG Networks revealing the diversity of LEADER implementation", ELARD addresses the long-felt need to present its scope of coverage and work through its different members, practices and conceptions guided by the same leitmotiv of LEADER.

Concretely, this publication developed along 2019 and issued this November by ELARD during its Portuguese Presidency 2018-2019 depicts 26 (*) different implementations of LEADER through the presentation of each national network, one or two representative LEADER projects and also reflections about LEADER.

"The topics covered in the network descriptions tell us about recent activities of the networks as well as their goals and field of work. They also describe the challenges for LEADER and how it is performing in this programming period. Finally, they describe the wishes for the next programming period. Approximately 50 descriptions of LEADER projects, ranging from very small local projects to larger infrastructure projects show the field of activity of LEADER all over Europe. LEADER is covering a lot of issues which are important to strengthen the socio-economic fabric in rural areas. Some topics are: – civic engagement, youth entrepreneurship – social issues and working conditions, such as support for marginalized communities, integration, day care services – support of SME as well as micro businesses, gastronomy, local products – destination management – cultural events – e-mobility – networks and regional trademarks – preservation of cultural and natural heritage and environmental education – infrastructure. Framing texts describe why the networks selected the projects (representing important topics of the countries, showcasing the uniqueness of LEADER). In a number of expert texts, presidents of LEADER Networks or experienced LEADER practitioners on local level as well as researchers for rural development give a brief opinion about LEADER, leaving us with some hints of analysis of the impacts of LEADER on the ground."

(*) NB: Meanwhile ELARD has grown to 27 members, welcoming Georgia in its ranks, on 26 November, at the General Assembly held in Amarante, in Portugal.