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Opinion of the EESC on Community Led Local Development

The LEADER local development approach provides, since 1991, rural communities in the EU with a method for involving local partners in shaping the future development of their area. While LEADER has received full support at EU level, it was acknowledged that it had not achieved to fully integrate local needs and solutions into Local Development Strategies (LDS).

In order to better address these local needs, the Community Led Local Development (CLLD) approach has been created under the Articles 32-35 of the Common Provisions Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013. CLLD is a specific tool to use at sub-regional level, which is complementary to other types of support at local level. For 2014 to 2020 CLLD (LEADER) will remain a mandatory part of the Rural Development Programmes funded by the EAFRD and a possible option under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). In order to ensure coherence of integrated LDS and actions, common rules are to be applied for these funds under the “Common Strategic Framework”.

In this context, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted an opinion on « Community Led Local Development (CLLD) as a tool of Cohesion Policy 2014–2020 for local, rural, urban and peri-urban development » the 11th December 2014.

In this EESC opinion, CLLD constitutes a combination of representative and participatory democracy: an instrument that representatives of public administrations can use to collaborate in partnership with organised civil society and the public.

The EESC also agrees that CLLD provides long-term growth through effective use of European Structural and Investment Funds with a view to new jobs and businesses and with the stress on community-led activities in climate change and sustainability in line with the Europe 2020 strategy.

In short, the EESC advocates the following for CLLD:

a)            Multi-fund financing

b)           Unification procedures and approaches

c)            Networking and collaboration

d)           Extending the approach

e)           Simplifying the process

f)            Building up the capacities of social and economic partners, along with civil society stakeholders.

The opinion also makes a special focus on the peri-urban and urban dimension of the CLLD.

To read the full opinion you can click here.

To know more about CLLD, click here.

20 January 2015

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