Community-led local development

Logo of the LEADER programme

The community-led local development (CLLD) funding approach, initially limited to the rural areas under the name LEADER (the acronym standing for French: Liaison entre actions de développement de l'économie rurale, English: Links between actions for the development of the rural economy), is a European Union initiative to support development projects in rural, coastal and urban areas of EU member countries at the local scale by involving relevant local actors, including local organizations and associations, as well as individual citizens.

Operation and objectives

CLLD projects are managed by local action groups (LAGs). Each project must involve a relatively small area, with a population of between 10,000 and 100,000. In France, the whole country is eligible with the exception of urban areas with over 50,000 inhabitants. France has 140 local action groups.


From 1991 until 2001 the LEADER/CLLD methodology was developed with the support of the European Commission's technical assistance contractor, AEIDL. LEADER developed seven principles of local development.

The 7 principles of the LEADER/CLLD local development approach

These are:

  • Area-based: taking place in a small, homogeneous socially cohesive territory
  • Bottom-up: local actors design the strategy and choose the actions
  • Public-private partnership: LAGs are balanced groups involving public and private-sector actors, which can mobilise all available skills and resources
  • Innovation: giving LAGs the flexibility to introduce new ideas and methods
  • Integration: between economic, social, cultural and environmental actions, as distinct from a sectoral approach
  • Networking: allowing learning among people, organisations and institutions at local, regional, national and European levels
  • Co-operation: among LEADER groups, for instance to share experiences, allow complementarity or to achieve critical mass

History and unding

  • LEADER I (1991–93) supported 217 LAGS with EU funding of €0.442 billion from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)[1]
  • LEADER II (1994–99) supported 906 LAGs with EU funding of €1.755 billion
  • LEADER+ (2000–06) supported 893 LAGs with EU funding of €2.105 billion, and a total budget of €5.05 billion

In the programming period (2014-2020), the LEADER method was extended to cover not only rural but also coastal (FARNET) and urban areas under the general designation community-led local development (CLLD), financed from all the European Structural and Investment Funds except the Cohesion Fund.


  1. ^ European Commission, The Leader approach — A basic guide, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2006, ISBN 92-79-02044-7

External links

  • The LEADER Approach - A Basic Guide
  • ELARD, the European LEADER association for Rural Development
  • Community-Led Local Development (CLLD)
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