On 26-28 September 2018, Portuguese presidency of the European LEADER Association for Rural Development (ELARD) jointly organized The LEADER RELOADED Conference, which took place in Evora, Portugal.
The conference brought together more than 300 participants, from different countries to discuss the present state of play of Community Led Local Development (CLLD), the capacity of LAGs to cooperative more actively, the concept of smart villages and the array of other interesting rural development topics.
The conference was attended by the members of the EU-supported Georgian Association of LAGs (GALAG) from Borjomi, Lagodekhi, Kazbegi, Akhalkalaki, Khulo, Keda, Tetritskaro and Dedoplistkaro. The participants engaged in the travelling workshops and study visits hosted by Portuguese LAGs.
The conference was opened by the welcome speech of Maria Joao Botelho, President of ELARD and Minha Terra Federation and other conference organizators on the important role and future of LAG’s. The second half of the day was dedicated to mini-plenaries on the different topics, where participants were divided in for groups.
At the conference special attention was paid to Georgia, organizers expressed hope that Georgia will be closer to the EU and strengthen LEADER/CLLD approaches in the near future.
The conference was very interesting, dynamic and it was a great platform for the GALAG members to engage in important networking activities.
The Georgian Association of LAGs (GALAG) is supported by EU within the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). It comprises eight Georgian LAGs from Borjomi, Lagodekhi, Kazbegi, Dedoplistskaro, Tetritskaro, Akhalkalaki, Keda and Khulo, established with EU ENPARD support.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second and third phases of ENPARD focus on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge.