Principles promoted by the Croatian Rural Development Network are based on good European practice and LEADER approach:
- Sustainable rural development – based on preservation and development of the human, environmental, social and productive capital.
- The Area-based approach – rural areas are similar, yet each has its own specifics and profile. Those differences should be taken into account in development planning, because they are the foundations for the quality development of each area.
- Activating communities lagging behind in the development processes – some communities need support to be able to join the development processes. We believe that such communities should not be left aside to the flow of time, but should be recognized and special attention should be given to qualify them for the timely integration into these processes.
- Bottom-up approach – it is not possible to achieve any kind of development without public involvement. Therefore, it is necessary to involve key stakeholders in local communities, to achieve the best possible solutions through the affluence of ideas
- Development of the local partnership in approaches and activities – nowadays the fragmented initiatives are most often doomed to fail; they have no power, conviction, or trust. Therefore, nurturing and furthering the partnership relations and the culture of coordination are of the utmost importance.
- Networking and coordination – connecting, acting synergic in development processes, exchanging knowledge and experience are of key importance in today’s modern Europe and in Croatia.
- Innovations – tradition is unquestionably the basis of sustainable rural development, but innovations are essential in presentation of traditional values in new competitive ways.
- Integrated multisectoral approach – lack of links between sectors often causes problems in the development. Horizontal cross-sector networking, as well as vertical networking of local, regional and national institutions, is especially important in the realisation of sustainable rural development.
- Local financing and managing projects – it is of utmost importance for the activities on the local level to be financed from the local budgets. Knowing the situation in Croatia, we are aware that it is not simple, but even a small contribution from local budget would be a confirmation of credibility and importance of local projects.