The overall objective of the intermediate evaluation is to improve the understanding, monitoring and promoting of rural development (RD) processes in Objective 5b areas. Particular emphasis is placed on the identification of key strategies and actors for introducing new, ecologically responsible forms of economic activity and for strengthening the economic basis of rural areas. A closely related question pertains to market-led developments which can effectively be supported by policy but for which policy is not the key factor. The potential for new products and activities, and the extent to which indigenous development potential can be mobilized is examined. Diversification is defined in terms of high-quality production, regional specialities, agro-tourism, as well as new services and products that contribute to a broader income basis for the rural economy. The effectiveness of key policies for enhancing rural communities ability to utilize diversification opportunities is analysed. Community measures, as well as national and regional policies in support of RD, are assessed in terms of the type of support given, relevance, co-ordination and institutional structures for implementation. Suitable policy actors, partners and levels for the planning and implementation of measures are identified. The very positive experience with the establishment of local action groups (LAGs) and regional management agencies in the context of the LEADER programme is emphasized.
The major tasks of LAGs are information, motivation, mobilization, project initiation, the provision of investment support, market development and the provision of further training. With respect to the real impact and efficiency of RDP it is asked who precisely benefits (target groups, final beneficiaries, traditional and new institutions/agencies/networks). Research is mainly based on regional case studies, key person interviews and context analyses. The results obtained include recommendations for a more integrated rural policy and for the improvement of structural policy and – in particular – of the Objective 5b and LEADER programmes. A direct input is provided at the regional level for the planning and implementation of the different rural development programmes, and in terms of the targeting and tailoring of individual schemes.
|Evaluation | Rural areas ||
Hessian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport and Regional Development
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