Transnational Local Action Groups (LAG) Cooperation Conference “Networking Works” was held in Vilnius, Lithuania on 12-14 September. The Chairman of RDFG Vano Grigolashvili and the Manager of the Project “Rural Development for Sustainable Growth of Tetritskaro Municipality” Nelly Revazishvili attended the event.
The aim of the conference was to introduce different LAGs to each other and encourage transnational cooperation among the representatives. RDFG represented the LAG of Tetritskaro municipality, established through the EU funded ENPARD project several months ago. It was the first time when Georgia took part in this international conference and RDFG was the only representative from the country.
“Sharing experience of Lithuania and other countries about rural development and LEADER approach is very important for us. It’s noteworthy, that among the 12 participant countries, Georgia was represented by RDFG. Therefore, the participants and organizers considered us as Georgian delegation, not just RDFG representatives, which increased our role and responsibility in this important event.” – Stated RDFG Chairman, Vano Grigolashvili.
During the conference the participants introduced rural development programs of their countries and discussed transnational cooperation opportunities that are also available for Georgian LAGs. In addition, they got acquainted with the ongoing projects and success stories of Lithuanian LAGs.
As a result of active communication and meetings, LAGs of Lithuania, Poland and Finland expressed interest to cooperate with RDFG. The association has already received proposals from 4 LAGs, so that Tetritskaro LAG will be implementing transnational projects with them. Projects are about agro and rural tourism. Several other European LAGs also expressed interest to cooperate, but concrete plans will be made after creating and confirming the strategy of Tetritskaro development according to local priorities.
RDFG representatives evaluate the conference very positively. The association presented its work and activities and country very suitably and returned home with useful contacts and projects proposals.
RDFG implements the EU-funded project “Rural Development for Sustainable Growth of Tetritskaro Municipality” in the framework of the second phase of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).
ENPARD II uses European approach to rural development, LEADER model, to economic development. Fundamentally, it is the energy and resources of the local people that contribute to the rural development process by forming partnerships at a sub-regional level between the public, private and civil sectors. The LEADER approach is associated with local empowerment through local strategy development and resource allocation. The main tool for the application of the LEADER approach to area development and involving local representatives in decision-making is the Local Action Group (LAG). The project partners are Agro-Technology Association (ATA), Lithuanian Local Action Groups Network and the Ministry of Agriculture of Lithuania.