The creation of Local Action Groups in the villages of the Republic of Moldova- a chance for development

CRPE Policy Memo 71, Authors: Alexandra Toderiță, Oana Ganea. The Republic of Moldova is mainly a rural and agricultural country, but with a low socio-economic development index of the rural space: the low capacity of little agricultural holdings to enter the market, the extremely low capacity of non-agricultural businesses, the depopulation of villages caused by economic migration and a road and agricultural infrastructure in an advanced state of degrading. This state of fact shows a need of public policies to tackle rural development in an integrated and participative manner that takes into account multiple needs in the fields of education, health and social assistance in the rural environment.

This type of approach, aimed at stimulating the implication of communities in the configuration and implementation of their own development projects, is part of the National Strategy for Agricultural and Rural Development for 2014-2020, adopted by the Government, which includes, among others, through Measure 3.3. “Stimulating the involvement of the local communities in rural development”, underlining that “the involvement of the local community is essential for creating incentives for the inhabitants in the rural area to contribute to the welfare of their society”

Thus, the report brings to the fore a model for organising and financing projects in the rural area that is widely spread in the policies of the member states of the European Union. We are talking about the LEADER approach, considered a model of good practice in the field, which generated remarkable results from its launch in 1991. The fundamental concept behind the LEADER approach is a simple one: giving the extraordinary diversity of rural areas in Europe, people living in these regions (farmers, entrepreneurs, professors, doctors, local authorities, NGOs, etc.)have the capacity to create development instruments better connected to the realities in the field than the central authorities.

The report is based on the results of a sociologic study including 16 rural communities in the Republic of Moldova. In the light of this information, the LEADER approach (the establishment of LAGs) would be beneficial for the Republic of Moldova because it would answer to some local specific needs, making use of the local resources, and the prioritisation and financing of the projects would happen at a local rather than national level, which would allow for a better synergy between projects. Therefore, the widely spread stereotypes that things cannot be changed would be combated, and a framework for implementing innovative measures could be offered.

LAGs can play an important role in finding some innovative answers to old problems of the Moldavian villages by strengthening the communication and the collaboration of people and institutions, and can be instruments of European integration for the Republic of Moldova. The experience of Romania and other European countries shows that the LEADER approach and the implementation of rural development measures through the Local Action Groups may bring considerable benefits in the daily life of people from the rural areas.

The content of this report does not represent necessarily the official position of the MATRA Program, “The rule of law and good governance”, supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands. The entire responsibility of the correctness and coherence of the presented information belongs to the promoter of the project, the Romanian Centre for European Policies- Republic of Moldova.