During 19-24 October, the Foreign Policy Association (APE) in partnership with the Estonian Rural Network organized a rural development information visit to Estonia. The visit was aimed at studying Estonian best experience in implementing rural development policy.
Moldovan delegation that included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova (CALM), IDIS Viitorul and Foreign Policy Association (APE) became acquainted with the role and activities of the Estonian LEADER Union and Local Actions Groups (LAGs) for rural development.
LEADER (Links between the rural economy and development actions) is a method of rural development that allows local actors (local authorities, civil society and entrepreneurs) to develop their communities exploiting local development potential. The LEADER approach has been an important component of EU Rural Development Policy for over 20 years. Since 2007 it has been funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Yet, since 2014 this approach, called “Community-Led Local Development” (CLLD) can be implemented not only in the EAFRD (where it is still called LEADER), but also in the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).The LEADER approach is implemented in all EU Member States and the candidate countries.
Local Action Groups for rural development which include, in equal proportion, local authorities, civil society and local entrepreneurs are the integral part of the LEADER approach to the rural development. In Estonia, Local Action Groups are active promoters of economic, infrastructural, social and cultural development in rural areas.
In the framework of the visit, the Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova and the Local Action Group “North Harju Partnership” have signed a cooperation agreement that will facilitate the Moldovan-Estonian rural development cooperation between the local authorities.
In the coming months, APE will hold a series of information events in order to promote LEADER approach in Moldova.
The study visit has taken place within the framework of the APE project "Enhancing the rural development capacities of the local authorities of Moldova" implemented with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.
Chisinau, 26 October 2015