Estonian LEADER Union is a non-governmental organisation set up to contribute to the implementation of LEADER/CLLD principles in Estonia. The purpose of the union is defined as threefold:
- to unite Estonian LEADER action groups (LAGs);
- to represent the interests of Estonian LAGs both within the country and internationally;
- to support the knowledge-based development of its member organisations.
Our mission: Estonian LEADER Union is a social partner in the legislative process, competent in developing its members and the guardian of LEADER principles in the development of rural areas.
Short overview of the activities and history LEADER programme in Estonia started in 2006. Estonian Rural Development Plan 2007-2013 LEADER measure implemented 7,186 projects, and used LEADER budget of 85,759,063 euros, of which only 0.9% remained unused.80% of the Leader measure budget is allocated for project support applicants (for the implementation of the strategy) and maximum of 20% of the budget goes for administrative costs of Local action groups (support rate 100%).The budget of LEADER in Estonian Rural Development Plan 2014-2020 is 90 mln euros, 10% of RDP budget is allocated for LEADER measure.
There are 26 LEADER local action groups in Estonia (see on map). Estonian LEADER uses only EAFRD funding, Fisheries LAGs (8 groups) are operating separately.99.99% of Estonian rural area is covered by LEADER local action groups (LAGs), the total number of inhabitants in Leader areas is 504,363 and the area is 42,827 km². The number of members of Estonian LAGs is more than 1.5 thousand (public sector 13%, entrepreneurs 37% and NGOs 37%). Every LAG has 60 members on the average.
Estonian LEADER Union was established on 19th March 2012. Currently, 20 Estonian LAGs are members of the Union. The Union has a board with 5 members, and one full time employee. Most of the activities are based on thematic working groups (eg communication, legislation, CLLD 2020+, membership, etc) that bring together representatives from all member LAGs.
In order to achieve its purposes Estonian LEADER Union:
- represents members’ common interests in national institutions, community groups, and international organisations;
- takes part in national and international discussions of rural areas;
- represents members’ interests as a social partner in lawmaking of LEADER activities;
- supports members’ cooperation and creates various cooperation opportunities;
- organises training and networking activities for members;
- arranges legal aid and advises on legal issues;
- takes part in various projects and cooperation networks that support international, national, regional or local levels.
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