What is LAG?

Establishment of local partnerships (local action groups – LAGs) starts by establishing links between local stakeholders from all three sectors. LAGs are an original and important element of the LEADER approach. They have the task of creating and implementing local development strategies, making decisions on the allocation of available funds and management of the funds.

They produce effects in encouraging local sustainable development for the following reasons:

  • they pool and combine existing human and financial resources in the public, private and civil sectors, and volunteers,
  • they bring local stakeholders together in order to launch joint projects and cross-sectoral actions in order achieve synergy, a sense of common ownership and critical mass needed for improving the competitiveness of the area,
  • they strengthen dialogue and cooperation between different rural stakeholders who often do not have joint work experience, thus reducing potential for conflicts and moderating situations in which solutions are reached through consultation and discussion,
  • immersed in interaction between different partners, they moderate the process of adaptation and change, whilst taking account of the environment, diversification of the rural economy and quality of life.

A LAG needs to bring public and private sector partners together, seeing to the balanced representation of local interest groups, whose members belong to different socio-economic segments. At the level of decision-making, at least 50% of members must come from the business and civil society sectors. A LAG can be founded ad hoc, or it can build upon existing partnerships.

Most usually, LAG stakeholders include:

  • representatives of local self-government and public institutions,

  • trade/professional organisations and unions (agriculturists, small enterprises and other activities),

  • associations (environmental protection, cultural service provision, community development, women, youth etc.),

  • development agencies,

  • business sector,

  • media,

  • high-profile individuals.

LAG area – a rural area with more than 5,000 and less than 150,000 inhabitants, including small towns and those with less than 25,000 inhabitants.

Responsibility of local partnerships / LAGs:

  • establishment of a LAG and writing of its Statutes,

  • preparation of a local development strategy and operating local development plan,

  • provision of information to local population on existing opportunities and project applications under the IPARD programme, in line with the local development strategy,

  • agreement on training and workshops for local population, e.g. on the preparation of individual business planes, project proposals, bookeeping etc.,

  • submittal of recommendation letters to the IPARD agency, pertaining to projects eligible for financing under the local development strategy,

  • management of LAG activities (project management, activity programming, accounting, monthly and quarterly reports etc.).

LAG acceptability criteria:

  • a selected LAG needs to comprise a territory compliant with the LEADER criteria in terms of human, financial and economic resources for support to the sustainable development strategy,

  • a LAG is an association officially registered under the Associations Act, or in some other legal form as provided by Croatian law,

  • at the decision-making level, the managing body of a LAG represents the interests of various public and private groups and rural population in the area; it should be ensured that at least 50% of members represent business partners and civil society. Local authorities should account for at least a 20% share in the membership.

  • the managing body of a LAG is representative, ensuring age diversity (at least one member should be younger than 25) and gender equality (women accounting for at least 30%),

  • the LAG needs to propose an integrated local development strategy based on the managing body’s guidelines; the LAG will implement local development strategies and administer public funds.