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Communication

LEADER approach in Moldova: evolution from a pilot project to a national program 

  • Rural development
  • Stories
3 June 2022
Visits: 182

The National LEADER Network, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry of the Republic of Moldova (MAIA), with the support of Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova (SFPL in Moldova), launched the LEADER Program on 3 June 2022 and presented the results of the LEADER approach, funded by the European Union, USAID and Polish aid, as a tool for community development in rural regions of the Republic of Moldova. Thus, the Republic of Moldova became the first and currently the only country outside the European Union to implement the LEADER approach as a public policy instrument for rural development.

Local Action Groups (LAGs) registered in the Republic of Moldova will receive grants of up to 5% from the National Fund for Agriculture and Rural Development through the LEADER Program, launched today. 

“By allocating financial means from the National Fund for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Environment, the state invests in the economic and social development of the territories where Local Action Groups operate. We are keen to improve the quality of life in rural areas and develop new local services that meet the needs of the population. In this way, we will be able to stop the migration of young people from the village to the city and their exodus abroad. By mobilising the community, we will stimulate economic development in rural areas. The LEADER program is part of the rural development policy in the Republic of Moldova, therefore, the experience of the European Union and Eastern Partnership countries will serve us well in the implementation of this program,” said Viorel Gherciu, Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry of the Republic of Moldova. 

Since 2016, with the support of the European Union, USAID and Polish aid, through Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova, the National LEADER Network, together with the 47 Local Action Groups it represents, has been developing local community projects that have revitalised rural regions and stimulated the development of a legal framework, which has enabled the LEADER approach to be adjusted to the local context and implemented on a large scale through the LEADER Program.  

We are pleased that the LEADER initiative, with already over 30 years of history in the EU, has been remarkably successful in all regions of the Republic of Moldova and has contributed substantially to the reinvention of rural areas and the creation of local jobs. Today, we are proud of the Local Action Groups, which cover more than 1 million inhabitants of the country. The European Union and Team Europe continue to support the LEADER approach through the recently launched programme “EU4Moldova: Local communities”, which will multiply the efforts and activities of the Local Action Groups in the Republic of Moldova, to be implemented until 2025. Through these small initiatives, citizens take responsibility for the development of their localities.” stated Jānis Mažeiks, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova. 

“It is great to be here in Vorniceni today to see first-hand the work of the Local Action Groups and to meet the artisans and producers who have benefited from the support offered through the LEADER program.” highlighted Kent D. Logsdon, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova. 

The National LEADER Network alongside Local Action Group “Plaiul Codrilor” hosted the launch event of the LEADER Program. 

“The LEADER approach is based on local communities, which play a key role in the development of rural areas. In this context, it is very important that, together with the Government and development partners, we continue to support the LEADER approach and the development of Local Action Groups. At the same time, I would like to express my deep respect for our people in rural areas, who inspire us every day with their work and make us believe in a prosperous future for the villages of the Republic of Moldova,” noted Marina Albu, President of the National LEADER Network. 

The event provided a platform to communicate the most important results achieved by Local Action Groups through the implementation of the LEADER approach and its evolution from a pilot project to a national Program. As part of the event, the guests also participated in a small-scale fair organised by the host of the event, the Local Action Group “Plaiul Codrilor”, where they explored local products made by LAG members, including ceramic ware, food products, such as seasonal fruits, herbal teas, honey and wines. 

Background: 

The implementation of the LEADER approach started in 2016, when the first 8 Local Action Groups were created. Today, their number has increased to 47 LAGs, which altogether have implemented over 850 local projects across the country and include 438 administrative-territorial units.   

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