Themes of the 1st SEE LEADER conference are as follow:

  • Alternative management of LEADER/CLLD - why, for whom and by whom 
  • LEADER/CLLD as a territorially embedded private-public policy tool 
  • Role of actors in LEADER/CLLD implementation
  • Social capital of LEADER/CLLD
  • The innovation in LEADER/CLLD 
  • LEADER/CLLD fostering (dis)empowerment
  • The issue of scalar governance and geopolitics in LEADER/CLLD
  • LEADER/CLLD as development based on local area features and oriented to expected results (process vs. projects)
  • Financial models and instruments for LEADER/CLLD implementation
  • Networking and Collaboration of LAGs and other actors in sustainable integrated local development 

We encourage scholars to provide contributions that can help practitioners – Local Action Groups, Managing Authorities and Implementing Bodies answer to the existing challenges in LEADER framing; shaping and implementation process. Whereby aiming to provide further insight into identifying the causes or roots of the major challenges LEADER posses to practitioners on daily basis. In the hope to offer solutions we call for scientific evidence and academic rigor to help us shed light on whether LEADER is, has been or has potential to foster successful sustainable development of local communities.

More about Conference themes……

The practical aspects of the LEADER in the new financial framework of the EU – what it brings to Central and South-Eastern European States and what is needed

In the past decades a lot of experience has been gained in the implementation of the LEADER. Extensive research on the LEADER programme underlines its success and its failures; its evolution from a community initiative towards one of the measures of not only the Rural Development Programme but also the social and convergence programmes of the EU tells us that there is an understanding of the potential of LEADER to truly “democratize rural development” and “empower” the grassroots to manage the territory in a sustainable and climate change resilient way.

However, to date the question of LEADER evaluation remains to be a point of debate among the practitioners and the academics. What perspective do we take when valorizing so many intangible aspects of LEADER (first and foremost being its production of social capital). What set of methodologies and measures do we envoke and develop so as to show its tangible effect? How do we approach its processual nature, constantly in flux and prone to regression as well as to evolution? How do we defend or attack this process always defined and framed by the actors that make part of it.

With this conference we call for contributions from the practitioners of the LEADER programme at all scales, European, national and the territorial to provide us with practice abstracts showcasing their examples of achievements, but also the failures of LEADER implementation. 

We aim to provide more empirical and theoretical contributions around the following questions:

  • Is LEADER truly promoting neo-endogenous development of rural territories harnessing the potential of an area and its local resources, or merely another formalized grassroots strategy delivering financial subsidies to disadvantaged areas. 
  • How does LEADER change and or (dis/e/)volve when faced with financial, managerial and societal challenges thought its unfolding on European, national, regional and local level.

We encourage scientific papers from various disciplines and a plurality of perspectives. 

The theoretical underpinnings of the LEADER – making practice theoretical

Scholars have analysed LEADER from various perspectives. As a new European policy based on integrated rural development that is to bring about endogenous, territorial approaches to rural development based on network relations. As a pan EU laboratory of rural development that will be effective at building on local assets and promoting local cooperation and innovation. As successful in providing a blueprint for its urban counterpart. Others have questioned whether it is an inclusive bottom up programme or it just blurs and neglects inequalities that exist on the local level by further empowering the hegemons from the public, private and the civil sector on the local level. As research has informed us it is multifaceted. In its quest to answer to the needs of a given territory it represents an integrated territorial approach; One that aims to respond to the totality of social and environmental challenges given territory faces. It is in this complexity that we invite scholars to provide new outlooks on LEADER. 

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1st International conference on practical and theoretical implications of LEADER approach in South-East Europe

SEE LEADER Quick Facts

SEE LEADER aims to recognize the uniqueness of the community-led local development approach for integrated territorial development in South-East Europe, demonstrating the results of past years of implementation and proactively looking at its future.
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