LEADER is a multi-year European programme (2017-2020) supporting rural development projects. It co-finances public and private projects for defined territories.
LEADER is a European tool that serves to provide innovative local projects, be they private, not-profit or public, with financial support and other assistance in order to develop European rural areas. The programme is based on a private-public partnership and places the full array of stakeholders from the rural world at the centre of a territorially-based project: businesses, artisans, non-profit associations, local authorities, etc.
LEADER means “Links Between Actions for the Development of the Rural Economy”: it is one of the components of the European Union’s Common Agriculture Policy that finances actions directly linked to the economic attractiveness of rural territories using the EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development). With this programme, Europe is providing territories with an enabling environment that aims to turn rural areas into balanced centres of work and life, and to strengthen the pre-existing bonds between local stakeholders.
The programme therefore facilitates the execution of a territorial strategy and contributes to the sustainable and responsible development of territories on the basis of LEADER fundamental principles: innovation, networking, local public-private partnerships, cooperation, integrated and multi-sectoral measures, and bottom-up implementation of strategies (the seven LEADER fundamental principles).
The programme has over 25 years of experience with on-the-ground realities and inhabitants’ needs. The initiative was launched in 1991, and the 2014-2020 version is the 5th edition.
Benefits of the LEADER approach
The LEADER programme supports innovative and productive initiatives in rural territories by promoting a participatory approach and job creation.
The established strong points of the LEADER approach:
- a method that allows local stakeholders to take part in directing the future development of their territory;
- a tool for creating jobs in rural areas;
- the chance to experiment with new actions in order to make the most of what rural areas have to offer;
- a territorial, decentralized and cross-cutting approach to local problems;
- support for small-scale actions;
- complementarity for non-agricultural activities in rural areas.
The Uzège - Pont du Gard strategy
This programme was initiated by territorial politicians for the benefit of businesses, non-profit associations and Uzège-Pont du Gard citizens. Since then, the local authorities – the Occitanie region, two Communities of Communes Pays d’Uzès and Pont du Gard and Gard department – and the territory’s communes have been actively playing a part in making the strategy a success.
Find out more about the Uzège Pont du Gard strategy
Find out more about the territory
The programme is supported by the Uzège-Pont du Gard PETR. €1,750,000 will be allocated to the territory for the six-year period when the 2014-2020 LEADER programme will be active, following a consultative process for putting together the application (over nine months of work and dialogue with more than 150 local stakeholders between September 2014 and June 2015).
The strategy is based on three actions:
- action 1: construct sustainable tourism (download action sheet no. 1 here);
- action 2: turn creativity into a vehicle for economic development (download action sheet no. 2 here);
- action 3: strengthen solidarity (download action sheet no. 3 here).
Management in Uzège-Pont du Gard
The Local Action Group (LAG), supported by the Uzège-Pont du Gard PETR, is in charge of implementing and managing the LEADER programme. It is made up of a planning committee, technical committee and technical team.
The planning committee is the decision-making body for the LEADER programme. It is in charge of:
- objectively, transparently and without discrimination selecting the projects, based on defined criteria and a selection grid;
- allocating subsidies.
It has 22 members divided into two bodies (11 private and 10 public). They meet at least four times a year to evaluate and select proposed projects based on shared and recognized criteria.
See here for the composition of the planning committee.
Bérengère Noguier is the committee president, with Louis Donnet as vice-president.
The LEADER technical team is responsible for organizing, coordinating and managing the programme.
On a day-to-day basis, it provides project leaders with:
- technical support for deliberations on constructing the project;
- help with putting the project together;
- information on potential technical and financial partners.
The technical committee meets at the request of the technical team, prior to each planning committee meeting, in order to examine the projects and offer technical advice.
It is made up of territorial experts and specialists who reflect the different themes, including from the CCI, CMA, CA, CCPU, CCPG, SMGG, EPCC and SPL.