This publication offers guidelines on the application of the LEADER approach – a locally led, bottom-up method to development in rural areas promoted by the European Commission – in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The LEADER approach has been in operation for over 25 years in the EU and has been recognised worldwide as a best practice for empowering local communities to actively design and implement their own development strategies.
The purpose of this publication is to share knowledge on setting up and encouraging bottom-up initiatives in rural areas using the LEADER method. It shares experiences on how to establish Local Actions Groups (LAGs) and how to define effective Local Development Strategies (LDS). It also emphasises the importance of continually motivating the groups once they are established. Finally, it points out how the EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in Rural Development (IPARD) can be used to support the implementation of these strategies.
The focus of this work is mainly on IPARD in the context of the Western Balkans and Turkey, but the methodology can be applied in other areas as well.