Toward an evaluation model for transnational cooperation activities in rural areas: a case study within an EU LEADER project

Open access

Abstract

Cooperation activities between Local Action Groups (LAGs) have been introduced into EU LEADER (Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie Rurale) initiative to provide rural areas the opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices, as well as to realize common activities by pooling human and financial resources. The main purposes are to overcome isolation and add value to local development strategies. The benefits of cooperation are widely recognized but, undeniably, it can be also a difficult and time-consuming process. For this reason, evaluation is a necessary tool to measure the success of cooperation and to help actors address their strategies for the future. In this paper, an evaluation methodology is proposed and applied to an EU LEADER+ case study, the ‘Integrated Project for Rural Tourism: Environment and Qualified Hospitality’, a transnational cooperation experience led by LAG Aspromar, based in the province of Reggio Calabria, Southern Italy. Quantitative and qualitative data have been collected through the integration of three typical methods of social research: two techniques based on surveys, namely interviews with privileged actors, and a semi-structured questionnaire, and a technique based on non-survey data and the study of documents. Results can be useful to highlight pros and cons of the management of a cooperation project and to stimulate projects’ leaders on activating improvement processes.

Arroyo, F.M., López, H.S., Yagüe Blanco, J.L., 2014: Are local action groups, under LEADER approach, a good way to support resilience in rural areas? In: Journal of Depopulation and Rural Development Studies, No. 18, pp. 39-63. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4422/ager.2015.06

Bailey, K.D., 1994: Methods of Social Research. The Free Press.

Bezzi, C., 2007: Cos’è la valutazione. Un’introduzione ai concetti, le parole chiave e i problemi metodologici (What is evaluation? An introduction to concepts, key words and methodological problems). Franco Angeli.

Calabrò, T., De Luca, A.I., Gulisano, G., Marcianò, C., 2005: The rural governance system in LEADER Plus: The application of an integrated planning methodology in Calabria (South Italy). In: New Medit, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 38-46.

Calabrò, T., De Luca, A.I., Marcianò, C., 2009: Le problematiche di governance nella pianificazione integrata in Calabria (Governance issues in integrated planning in Calabria), In: Gulisano, G., Marcianò, C. (eds), Processi e politiche di sviluppo rurale integrato in Calabria, Laruffa Editore, Reggio Calabria.

Colomb, C., 2007: The added value of transnational cooperation: Towards a new framework for evaluating learning and policy change. In: Planning Practice & Research, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 347-372. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02697450701666712

Colomb, C., 2017: A European Perspective on Anglo-Scottish Cross-border Cooperation: Lessons from EU-funded Territorial Cooperation Programs. In: Journal of Borderlands Studies, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 103-122. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08865655.2016.1267585

D’Amico, S., De Luca, A.I., Gulisano, G., 2013. Production and consumption alternative chains to organize the Calabria agri-food system: An introduction. In: Economia Agro-Alimentare, Vol. 15, Issue 2, pp. 73-96. DOI: 10.3280/ECAG2013-002005

De Los Ríos-Carmenado, I., Turek Rahoveanu, A., Salvo, M., & Rodríguez, P., 2012: Territorial competitiveness for rural development in Romania: Analysis of critical influential factors from WWP model. In: Agrarian economy and rural development - realities and perspectives for Romania, Vol. 5, pp. 89-94.

De Luca, A.I., Iofrida N., Marcianò, C., 2010: EU Leader initiative and transnational co-operation in rural areas: the experience of an integrated project for rural tourism among Italy, Portugal and Finland. In: Eurorural ‘10 European Countryside under Globalization, Abstracts of papers of the 2nd Moravian Conference on Rural Research, Brno, Czech Republic.

De Luca, A.I., Iofrida, N., Marcianò, C., 2011: Un’esperienza di cooperazione transnazionale nell’ambito del Leader+ in Calabria (An experience of transnational cooperation within the Leader + in Calabria). In: Atti della XXXII Conferenza Italiana di Scienze Regionali (AISRE), Il ruolo delle città nell’economia della conoscenza.

De Luca, A.I., Gulisano, G., Marcianò, C., 2012: Verso quali modelli di governance? Un’analisi di alcuni strumenti di sviluppo rurale integrato in Calabria (Towards which models of governance? An analysis of some integrated rural development tools in Calabria). In: Atti del XLIX Convegno SIDEA, Sistemi agroalimentari ed economie nel bacino del mediterraneo: Istituzioni e Politiche.

De Devitiis, B., De Luca, A.I., Maietta, O.W., Sena, V., 2012a: Do co-operatives promote consumer social responsibility? The case of fair trade in Italy. In: Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory and Labor-Managed Firms, Vol. 13, pp. 51-75. DOI: 10.1108/S0885-3339(2012)0000013007

De Devitiis, B., De Luca, A.I., Maietta, O.W., 2012b: Gender differences in pro-social behaviour: The case of Fair Trade food consumers. In: Potthast, T. and Meisch, S. (eds), Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Ethical Perspectives on Land Use and Food Production, Wageningen Academic Publishers, pp. 355-360. DOI: 10.3920/978-90-8686-753-0_53

De Luca, A.I., Stillitano, T., Franco, F.A., Gulisano, G., 2016: Convention theory and the assessment of socio-economic sustainability of alternative food networks in Calabria (South Italy). In: Quality - Access to Success, 17 (151), pp. 85-91.

Duguet, D., 2007: Cooperation in LEADER+. The actual benefits for the local areas… LEADER+ Observatory Contact Point. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/rur/LEADERplus/pdf/library/cooperation/duguet_cooperation.pdf

Dühr, S., Nadin, V., 2007: Europeanization through transnational territorial cooperation? The case of INTERREG IIIB North-West Europe. In: Planning Practice & Research, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 373-394. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02697450701666738

ENRD, 2010: LEADER Transnational Cooperation Guide. Retrieved from http://www.ead.gr/data/files/0091be5a537c19b3/file.pdf.

European Commission, 2000: Commission Notice to the Member States of 14 April 2000 laying down guidelines for the Community initiative for rural development (LEADER+) (2000/C 139/05). Official Journal of the European Communities 5-13, Brussels. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/rur/LEADERplus/pdf/library/methodology/139_en.pdf

European Commission, 2004a: LEADER+ Community Initiative. Guidelines for the administrative implementation of projects for cooperation between rural areas financed by operational programmes or global grants (Action 2), Pub. L. No. 8 January.

European Commission, 2004b: Aid delivery methods. Project Cycle Management Guidelines. Vol. 1, pp. 149.

Furmankiewicz, M., Macken-Walsh, A., 2016: Government within governance? Polish rural development partnerships through the lens of functional representation. In: Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 46, pp. 12-22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.05.004

GAL Aspromar, 2003: Piano di Sviluppo Locale “Reggino Versante Tirrenico” (Local Development Plan “Reggino Versante Tirrenico), Programma di Iniziativa Comunitaria LEADER+, Regione Calabria.

GAL Aspromar, 2005: Progetto Integrato per il turismo rurale: ambiente ed ospitalità qualificata (Integrated Project for rural turism: environment and qualified hospitality). Programma di Iniziativa Comunitaria LEADER+, Regione Calabria.

Garbarino, S., Holland, J., 2009: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Impact Evaluation and Measuring Results. Issue Paper. Governance and Social Development Resource Center, Social Development Direct.

Hoffmann, R., Hoffmann, N., 2018: The Leader Programme as an impulse for new projects in rural areas. In: Quaestiones Geographicae, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 141-150. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/quageo-2018-0014

Jessop, B., 2002: Governance and Metagovernance: On Reflexivity, Requisite Variety, and Requisite Irony. Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YN, UK, at http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/sociology/papers/JessopGovernance-and-Metagovernance.pdf

Keränen, H., 2003: Self-evaluation workbook for Local Action Groups. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Helsinki.

Knippschild, R., Vock, A., 2017: The conformance and performance principles in territorial cooperation: a critical reflection on the evaluation of INTERREG projects. In: Regional Studies, Vol. 51, No. 11, pp. 1735-1745. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00343404.2016.1255323

Lahtinen, E., Vehmasto, E., Vuorio, H., 2004: Playbook for Local Action Groups - Using self-evaluation to improve your teamwork skills. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Helsinki.

LEADER European Observatory, 1999: Assessing the added value of the LEADER approach. In: Rural Innovation, No. 4, pp. 51. Brussels.

LEADER European Observatory, 2001: La cooperazione transnazionale nell’ambito di LEADER II. Lezioni del passato, strumenti per il futuro (Transnational cooperation in LEADER II. Lessons from the past, tools for the future). In: Innovazione in ambiente rurale” No. 11.

Lesmeister, M.K., 2009: Working with Others : Developing Trust and Cooperation. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FY/FY74800.pdf

Lukesch, R., 2007: THE LAG HANDBOOK. A guide through the stunning world of local action groups. LEADER+ Observatory Contact Point, Brussels.

Magnani, N., Struffi, L., 2009: Translation sociology and social capital in rural development initiatives. A case study from the Italian Alps. In: Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 231-238. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2008.10.004

Marangoni, S., 2000: Methodology for evaluating the LEADER specific features as applied to the Emilia Romagna LAG. In: Improving the quality of the LEADER II assessments. The LEADER II European Observatory. Brussels. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/rur/leader2/forum/docs_evaluation/marangoni_en.pdf

Navarro, F.A., Woods, M., Cejudo, E., 2015: The LEADER Initiative has been a Victim of Its Own Success. The Decline of the Bottom-Up Approach in Rural Development Programmes. The Cases of Wales and Andalusia. In: Sociologia Ruralis, Vo. 56, No. 2, pp. 270-288. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/soru.12079

Nazzaruolo, A., 2006: L’esperienza di autovalutazione del GAL Delta 2000 (The self-evaluation experience of Delta 2000 GAL). In: Rivista dello Sviluppo Rurale, No. 5. Rete LEADER, INEA, Roma.

Novosák, J., Hájek, O., Górska-Szymczak, J., Novosáková, J., 2018: Leader and Rural Differentiation: Czech Republic (2007-2013). In: Acta Univ. Agric. Silvic. Mendelianae Brun. No. 66, pp. 293-301. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11118/actaun201866010293

Osti, G., 2000: LEADER and Partnerships: The Case of Italy. In: Sociologia Ruralis, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 172-180. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9523.00139

Papadopoulou, E., Hasanagas, N., Harvey, D., 2011: Analysis of rural development policy networks in Greece: Is LEADER really different? In: Land Use Policy, No. 28, pp. 663-673. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2010.11.005

Polish MARD, 2012: Guide to Cooperation Projects of Axis 4 LEADER of Rural Development Programme for 2007-2013. Warsaw.

Pollermann, K., Raue, P., Schnaut, G., 2013: Rural Development Experiences In Germany: Opportunities And Obstacles In Fostering Smart Places Through Leader. In: Studies In Agricultural Economics, No. 115, pp. 111-117. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7896/j.1228

Prager, K., Nienaber, B., Neumann, B., Phillips, A., 2015: How should rural policy be evaluated if it aims to foster community involvement in environmental management? In: Journal of Rural Studies, No. 37, pp. 120-131. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2014.12.006

Ray, C., 2001: Transnational co-operation between rural areas: Elements of a political economy of EU rural development. In: Sociologia Ruralis, No. 41, pp. 279-295. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9523.00183

Ravallion, M., 2009: Symposium on Evaluation. Evaluation in the Practice of Development. In: The World Bank, Research Observer, Vol. 24, No. 1.

Rete LEADER, 2006: I partenariati nei progetti di cooperazione: forme giuridiche e gestionali (Partnerships in cooperation projects: legal and management forms). INEA.

Rete LEADER, 2007: I progetti di cooperazione: alcune indicazioni metodologiche per la loro elaborazione (Cooperation projects: some methodological indications for the elaboration). INEA. Retrieved from http://www.reterurale.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/1242/UT/systemPrint

Rete LEADER, 2008: I progetti di cooperazione transnazionale nel LEADER+ (Transnational cooperation projects within LEADER+). INEA.

Rete Rurale Nazionale, 2015: I progetti di cooperazione nel Leader 2007-2013 (Cooperation projects within Leader 2007-2013). Retrieved from https://www.reterurale.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/14817

Rizzo, F., 2013: Leader policy practices and landscapes in the light of the agency-structure debate: evidence from leader local action groups in Italy and in Fin-land. In: European Countryside, No. 3, pp. 232-250. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/euco-2013-0015

Thirion, S., 2000: The SPSA method in Portugal (Systematisation of Participatory Self-Assessment). In: Improving the quality of the LEADER II assessments. The LEADER II European Observatory. Brussels.

Tirado Ballesteros, J.G., Hernandez, M.H., 2017: Assessing the impact of EU rural development programs on tourism, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 149-166. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/21568316.2016.1192059

UNEP, 2004: Inventory of UNEP capacity-building and technology support activities. High-level Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on an Intergovernmental Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building Second session Nairobi, 2-4 September 2004. Retrieved from http://www.unep.org/IEG/docs/K0472263IGSP2-3_REV_final_E.doc

Unité Nationale d’Animation LEADER+, 2004: Guide méthodologique. Elaborer son projet de coopération transnationale et/ou interterritoriale.

Unité Nationale d’Animation LEADER+, 2007: Guide méthodologique. Élaborer son projet de cooperation territoriale.

Viñas, V., 2004: Evaluación cualitativa de programas de desarrollo regional en zonas rurales. In: Revista de Estudios Regionales, No., 71, pp. 13-36. Retrieved from http://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=75507101

Zanetti, B., 2005: La cooperazione e lo sviluppo locale: tra opportunità e difficoltà operative (Cooperation and local development: between opportunities and operational difficulties). Rivista dello Sviluppo Rurale, n. 2.

Zarinpoush, F., 2006: Project evaluation guide for nonprofit organizations: fundamental methods and steps for conducting project evaluation. Toronto: Imagine Canada. Retrieved from http://sectorsource.ca/sites/default/files/resources/files/projectguide_final.pdf

Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series

The Journal of Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun

Journal Information


CiteScore 2017: 0.63

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.277
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.391

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 135 135 25
PDF Downloads 97 97 21